Housing a majority of the country’s best hiking spots, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt is also referred to as the Transvolcanic Belt, the Sierra Nevada, and the EjeVolcanico Transversal. Located in Central-Southern, Mexico, it snows at the highest peaks almost throughout the year.
Several of the tallest mountains and volcanoes are just a trip away from the capital of the country, Mexico City. Among the ones to be recommended is Pico de Orizaba, the highest point of Mexico.
About Pico de Orizaba
At 5,636 meters tall, Pico de Orizaba is Mexico’s highest mountain and the North American Continent’s 3rd tallest peak. Located on the eastern area of the Transvolcanic Belt, it is identified as a dormant stratovolcano, found around 300 kilometers away from Mexico City.
The locals have called it Citlaltépetlc, as according to their native language. Pico de Orizaba translates to “Star Mountain” in Aztec. Some call it Volcan Pico de Orizaba, which means “Volcano Peak of Orizaba.” Early natives have used to call it Poyautécatl, which is their way of saying the “mountain that reaches the clouds.”
Coming after the well-known Kilimanjaro of Africa, Pico de Orizaba is deemed as the second most prominent volcanic peak in the world. It is also the 3rd most prominent peak of North America.
Routes to take
It has two well-known routes: the Rutadel Sur and the Jamba Glacier Route. The former is much shorter; however, it would require mastery of the technicalities of scaling mountains. The Jamba Glacier route, on the other hand, will take much more TimeTime to complete the climb but is the most popular route.
Rutadel Sur will have its hikers start from the Fausto Gonzales Hut. At approximately 5000 meters up, crampons and ropes would be likely used. There are no glaciers on the south side, but it is important to use these different equipment types.
The Jamba glacier route can be accessed by driving to Tlachichuca from Mexico City. The ascent begins at the Piedra Grande Mountain Hut.
Best Time and how much Time it Takes to Scale the Mountains
The best months to visit are from November to May. These months mark the dry season of the country. It takes an average of 15 hours for a trip from the hut to Pico de Orizaba’s peak and back. Many hikers take this by starting at around 1 a.m. By 10 a.m., the hikers are expected to have reached the summit and then successfully return to the mountain hut at about 4:00 p.m. Some treks, though, can take two to three days. There are instances that hikers will have to acclimatize first before attempting to scale the summit.
Difficulty of Climbing
Pico de Orizaba is considered perfect for novice hikers to train them for hikes to more daunting peaks like those in Andes and Alaska. It requires little technical difficulty, but there is a need for some mastery in using an ice ax, crampons, and rappelling devices.
When it comes to the Weather Conditions, this mountain has seen through a lot. Located in a subtropical zone, people in the downtown area used to humidity and warmth. However, when going higher up, it becomes freezing cold and eventually alpine.
Mountaineers should also be wary of the crater rim because any slip or unforeseen turn could fall into the crater or fall down the steep landform. These can be fatal.
For those worried that the volcano may erupt again, its last eruption happened during the 1840s. It has been declared dormant by geologists, but scientists still continue to learn more about the volcano and its potential hazards. For now, it’s not that big of a risk.
The Cost of the Climb
Some climbers hire a guide to help them scale the mountain and understand which corners to take and what cautions to make. Prices usually start at around $500 per person in little private trips. But if you expand the number, the price gets lower.
Why Climb the Mountain
Pico de Orizaba and many other Mexican mountains of this belt may be miles from each other and offer hikers different experiences; however, they offer almost the same reasons as to why anyone should attempt to scale these captivating giants.
First, these mountains belong to the highly-redeemed Transvolcanic Belt. Second, the journey itself is generally not as difficult as many summits but, at the same TimeTime, will give mountaineers opportunities to make use of the landscape and formations for warm-ups and practices for more challenging peaks. Finally, climbing any mountain gives its successful climbers a stunning view and sense of achievement. What’s unique, however, is the view of many other beautiful mountains belonging in the string of magnificence found in the Transvolcanic Belt.