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Orizaba Express Expedition Success

MM guide Mark Pugliese is report­ing live from the 3rd high­est peak in North Amer­i­ca. Lis­ten to his dai­ly updates as our team heads to the roof of Mex­i­co. Join us for our next Oriz­a­ba Express trip!

February 27, 2016 -

All safe back in Mex­i­co City! What an amaz­ing last week it has been! 

This Oriz­a­ba Express expe­di­tion went off with­out a hitch for the past sev­en days. I can hon­est­ly say it has been one of the more inter­est­ing expe­di­tion expe­ri­ences I have had. 

I would say the high­lights of the trip would have to be our acclima­ti­za­tion hike up Mal­inche, the Hacien­da San­ta Bar­bara, and the climb of Pico De Orizaba.

The Mal­inche hike is a beau­ti­ful and mem­o­rable day. Hik­ing through incred­i­ble old growth for­est up to an amaz­ing alti­tude of about 12,300ft before break­ing out of the trees onto the ridge prop­er. Once on the ridge one enjoys breath­tak­ing views of the val­ley below as well as Izta and Popo (oth­er Mex­i­can vol­ca­noes). From the sum­mit you can see Oriz­a­ba and the vil­lage of Zopan below. 

After the Mal­inche hike we descend­ed and drove about twen­ty min­utes to the Hacien­da San­ta Bar­bara which is a hacien­da near the vil­lage of Txcala. The Hacien­da is absolute­ly amaz­ing, con­struct­ed in the late 1600s it was sim­i­lar to a plan­ta­tion in the Unit­ed States. While you stay there, it is your home, and you are treat­ed as such. You are free to roam around and explore the grounds, go for walks in the fields, and climb into the 17th cen­tu­ry bell tow­er at your leisure. You stay in the rooms that the own­ing fam­i­ly lived in when it was a func­tion­ing hacien­da. The food was always five star din­ning and great recov­ery food after hiking! 

The moun­tain itself was a great expe­ri­ence for the group. Many of the climbers had not been to that alti­tude before and they were able to learn a lot about the ins and outs of high alti­tude. For sum­mit day we began the day at 2am, hik­ing in the dark through rocky ter­rain to even­tu­al­ly reach the glac­i­er just as the sun rose. As the orange and red glow high­light­ed the ice and snow we ascend­ed through vari­able snow and ice to even­tu­al­ly reach the crater rim and sum­mit. A ter­rif­ic day in the moun­tains to say the least. A 4X4 ride down from the hut we start­ed from that day land­ed us back in town just in time for cel­e­bra­to­ry din­ner and drinks at the Hostel. 

A great trip to Mex­i­co, we got to see a good amount of coun­try, meet a lot of new peo­ple, and climb some inspir­ing peaks. All in under a week! I strong­ly urge you to join us at your next con­ve­nience on this incred­i­ble adventure. 

Mark Pugliese

Moun­tain Mad­ness Guide 

Pho­to: left to right Mike, Mark, and Ray on the summit. 

February 26, 2016 — Summit Success!

The team has reached the sum­mit of the 3rd high­est peak in North America. 

February 24, 2016 — Orizaba Base

The Moun­tain Mad­ness Oriz­a­ba team is now at the hut at the base of the moun­tain. Head­ing up to high camp tomorrow.

February 23, 2016 — Acclimatization Hike

Today the group did an acclima­ti­za­tion hike to the sum­mit of 14,646 foot high La Mal­inche. Now relax­ing at the lux­u­ri­ous Hacien­da San­ta Barbara.

February 22, 2016 — Pyramid Tour

The MM group had an excit­ing cul­tur­al tour of the pyra­mids today and are now relax­ing and eat­ing quasadillas. 


February 21, 2016 — Mexico City

Team mem­bers have arrived and had a deli­cious dinner.