Mexico’s Volcanoes

Mexico’s Volcanoes

  • El Pico de Orizaba 18,500′ 
  • Iztaccihautl 17,120′
  • El Nevado de Toluca 15,354′
  • La Malinche 14,640′ 

Upcoming expeditions:
Now through March, 2023 or October 2023 through March 2024.
…or choose your dates!

Within hours of Mexico city you find the highest mountains in the country: Mexico’s high volcanoes. These peaks offer North American and European climbers the opportunity to climb to altitudes above 17,000′ on a short itinerary and a much lower budget than the Andes or the Himalayas. El Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl are big mountains requiring alpine skills such as scrambling, cramponing and knowing how to use an ice axe. This is probably the best first expedition for mountaineers with experience on peaks below 15,000′ who are interested in High Altitude climbing. It’s also an excellent expedition for experienced high altitude mountaineers who want an affordable, fun, challenging and interesting expedition. The climbing is great, the weather during the dry season (mid October through end of March) is warm, sunny and perfect for mountaineering. This trip is culturally fascinating and the food…well, you’ll find the best Mexican food in the world in Mexico city.

In spite of the bad reputation Mexico has been getting on the news because of violence, the Mexico city area and surroundings are probably safer now than before (which sadly is not true for the rest of the country). Because this expedition is personally led by Ricardo Peña who is from Mexico city and knows the area very well and because we have done more than 60 expeditions to these volcanoes we offer you the safest and best trip in the business. We have never had any problems, and this continues to be a very safe and enjoyable expedition! 

Our standard expedition is a 9 day itinerary to climb Iztaccihuatl and el Pico de Orizaba. But we offer several variations:
-The Trilogy: Nevado de Toluca, Izta and Orizaba in 10 days
-A short 6 day itinerary of just Orizaba as well as different combinations of La Malinche, Nevado de Toluca, Izta and Orizaba.

We also offer hiking and cultural  trips to Mexico where participants hike to the summit of La Malinche or Nevado de Toluca (both peaks are higher than anything in the US outside Alaska) and visit the pyramids of Teotihuacan and historic Mexico city. This is a great option for people who enjoy hiking and experiencing new cultures. Unlike the often visited beach resorts in Mexico, Mexico city is rich in history, having been the capital of the Aztec Empire, of New Spain, and now of Mexico. 

US and Canada residents
To reserve a place in this expedition:
-Fill out the application below and press submit.
-Mail a deposit check to the address we will provide you when we receive your application or send us an electronic transfer via Paypal or Venmo for $1000 US dollars (Canada residents please send a money order in US dollars or see instructions for other countries below). Please write Deposit for Andes Survivors 2020 expedition on your check
-Final payment of $3300 is due 90 days prior to departure dateOther countries
To reserve a place in this expedition:
-fill out the application below and press submit.
-We will contact you shortly to discuss payment options depending on the country you live in.
-Final payment of $3300 is due 90 days prior to departure date

​If you experience any problem with the online application please email us at

ITINERARY for Mexico’s Volcanoes Trip

Standard 9 day itinerary
Iztaccihuatl 17,126′ and El Pico De Orizaba 18,405′

Day 1. Fly to Mexico city. Afternoon arrival. Have dinner and sleep in Mexico city (7,300′). If time allows we will spend some time sight seeing downtown Mexico city.

Day 2. Brunch in Mexico city. Travel to Popo Park (aprox 8,000′). We will drive up to Paso de Cortes at 12,000′ which is the pass between the two huge volcanoes: Popocatepetl 17,880′ which is now active and Iztaccihuatl 17,120′. Starting at this pass we will enjoy an easy but important acclimatization hike. Our hike can be anywhere from 2 to 6 miles and with less than 1500 vertical feet gain depending on participants’ fitness and interest. Being that we are at an elevation of 12,000′ any light activity will help us speed up the process of acclimatization.  After our hike we descend to Popo Park for dinner and a night at our nice hotel in the forest.

Day 3. After breakfast we go back up to Paso de Cortes and then to Iztaccihuatl’s trailhead (La Joya 13,000′). From this trailhead we have a choice of different acclimatization hikes that will take us up to about 15,000′. One of the options for fit climbers is to climb the 15,380′ peak called Los Pies (the Feet) which has incredible views of both Popo and Izta. Other options are to hike to the third “Portillo” at 14,700’ or “Grupo de los cien” hut (15,042′). After our acclimatization hike we return to La Joya to spend the night in tents and further our acclimatization. This hike is a maximum of 5 miles long with 2400 vertical feet gain.

Day 4. Rest/acclimatization day at our camp near La Joya (13,000’)

Day 5. Climb Iztaccihuatl (17,126′). The normal route takes us up a beautiful ridge with spectacular views. Our ascent includes some scrambling (class 3 terrain) up rock and crossing glaciated terrain (with little or no crevasse fall danger). Crampons and Ice axe may be needed depending on snow conditions. The largest glacier on Izta highlights the summit. This is the top of the 7th  highest point in North America. The views from this route are outstanding with Popo to the south, Orizaba and La Malinche to the East and Nevado de Toluca to the west. This climb requires 4,400’ of elevation gain and though the mileage is not long (less than 8 miles) it is challenging due to the altitude (the last mile is all above 16,500’). That evening we return to Amecameca to enjoy a hot dinner at a great restaurant and spend the night at a wonderful hotel in the forest (with hot showers and comfortable beds).

Day 6. Drive to Canchola’s “Base Camp” in Tlachichuca. The Canchola family has been providing 4×4 transportation on Orizaba, lodging and great cooking to thousands of mountaineers from around the world for many years. We will enjoy one of their great, home cooked authentic Mexican meals. We will then, load our gear into 4×4’s for the drive up to Orizaba’s hut: Piedra Grande (13,943′) where we prepare for our early morning departure for the summit.

Day 7. Climb Orizaba (18,500′). Our route takes us up the Labyrinth: a series of rock gullies recently exposed due to the retreating glacier. A bit of steep snow or rock scrambling gets us passed the Labyrinth and onto the Jamapa glacier where we rope up. The glacier steepens gradually from 20º to 45º at around 18,000’. After a climb of 4000 vertical feet  (including 2000′ on the glacier) we reach the impressive crater rim and then the summit of Mexico’s highest peak and North America’s third highest. Given that it is not the climbing season in Logan or Denali we are now the highest people standing on the North American continent!! And it shows…the views are truly spectacular.  That evening we descend to Tlachichuca where we enjoy another great dinner, hot showers and beds.

Day 8. Possible extra day for a summit bid in case of bad weather or if we need an extra day acclimatizing. Otherwise we drive back to Mexico city and celebrate our success at a very famous and excellent Mexican restaurant. If participants desire so we can also enjoy great live Mariachi music and the best Tequila at the most famous and traditional cantina in all of Mexico: The Tenampa in Garibaldi square. That night we enjoy our great 4 star hotel in Mexico city.

Day 9. Late afternoon flight to USA

LAND COSTS: $2800  (Double Occupancy)

PAYMENTS:   $1000 deposit, due with application.
                      $1800 payment due 90 days prior to departure.
All checks should be made payable to: ALPINE EXPEDITIONS


·         All transportation while in Mexico
·         Luxury Hotel in Mexico city and other lodging
·         Group climbing gear
·         All meals while on the mountain.
·         All hut fees, park fees and permits.

·         Round trip airfare US-Mexico
·         Excess baggage charges (if any) and airport tax.
·         Meals in Mexico city, Popo Park or off the mountains except Tlachichuca
·         Personal gear (see gear list)
·         Charges incurred as a result of delays or changes in the itinerary beyond the control of Alpine Expeditions 
·         Tips for your guides

·         $1000 Deposit will be fully refunded if applicant is not accepted.

If accepted the following applies:
·         $200 non-refundable registration fee.
·         Full refunds, less registration fee will be provided if requested 90 days prior to expedition departure.
·         50% Refunds will be provided if requested 60 to 89 days prior to expedition departure.
·         No refunds will be provided 59 days or less prior to expedition.

It is essential that every participant bring every item (not marked optional) in this list. Please check the list carefully!


  • Plastic Double boots or Leather mountaineering boots (crampon ready)
  • Light hiking boots or trail shoes (optional but better for acclimatization hikes)
  • Sneakers or comfortable shoes (for walking around town)
  • Sock Liners (2 or 3 pairs)
  • Wool socks (2 or 3 pairs)
  • Gaiters
  • 2 sets of Lightweight underwear, top and bottom
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts (2 minimum)
  • 2 Insulating layers, for example: technical hoody and light down jacket
  • Soft shell pants (ideally wind-resistant climbing pants)
  • Shell pants windproof, waterproof and breathable (preferably Gore Tex)
  • Gore Tex parka (rain and wind proof and breathable)
  • Down Jacket with hood
  • Winter Hat (fleece)
  • Sun Hat
  • Glove Liners or thin gloves
  • Mountaineering gloves (good for 18º F or so)
  • Expedition Mittens
  • Glacier Glasses or sunglasses with side shields
  • Clothes for wearing off the mountain (2 or 3 days)

Climbing Gear:

  • Ice Axe (with leash attachable to harness’ carabiner or wrist)
  • Crampons that fit your boots
  • Alpine harness
  • 2 Locking carabiners (minimum)
  • 1 non-locking carabiners (minimum)
  • runners (minimum 1 long one)
  • Belay device (optional, but bring it if you own one)
  • Helmet 
  • Hiking poles

Camping Gear:

  • Head lamp and extra batteries
  • Sunscreen and Lip protection
  • Personal First Aid Kit
  • Pocket Knife
  • Camera (recommended)
  • Compass and altimeter (optional but recommended). We recommend the app Gaia for your smart phone
  • Lighter
  • Backpack (4000 cu in or more)
  • Duffel bag (for flying gear to Mexico. You can pack your backpack inside a duffel bag if you are not planning on using it as a carry on)
  • 3 One-litter water bottles (You can bring camel bags and other similar hydration systems for the acclimatization hikes if you want but you will still need the 3 bottles for summit days as hydration bags freeze in the cold and are not adequate for high altitude mountaineering. So we recommend traveling light and skipping the hydration bags)
  • toothbrush/toothpaste and toiletries
  • anti-bacterial wet wipes and/or liquid hand sanitizer
  • sleeping bag rated 20º F or lower
  • sleeping pad (2 for more comfortable sleeping)
  • Bandana
  • Cup, Bowl and spoon​
  • Zip lock bags 3 1 quart size and 3 1 gallon size
  • Pee bottle (highly recommended) add pee funnel for women.


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