Mexico Volcanoes Frequently Asked Questions
This information should answer many of your initial questions and also guide you through the next stages of preparing for the expedition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Training & Skill
What is the route like?
The Mexico volcanoes are an ideal training ground for climbers who would like to get into high altitude mountaineering. The routes on these peaks are not particularly difficult technically but are very worthwhile ascents.
Orizaba involves extended cramponing on moderately steep slopes with hard snow conditions. Approximately 3,000 - 4,000 vertical feet of snow can be expected on each peak. Crevasse problems will be minor. Climbing Orizaba can be compared to climbing Mt. Rainier from the 10,000-foot level up.
How should I train?
You cannot over train for high altitude climbing. Concentrate on your heart, legs and lungs. Climb or hike at any opportunity. You will enjoy the trip more if you are properly prepared. An aerobic program of either running, swimming or bicycling, plus a conditioning program for the thigh muscles is strongly recommended. Running stairs, weight training or similar programs are excellent. You owe it to your team mates to be in excellent condition for the trip.
What skills do I need?
Prior knowledge of ice axe arrest, cramponing and rope team travel are REQUIRED. Everyone needs to be familiar with these basic climbing skills.
Travel & Insurance
Is a visa required?
A valid passport with at least 6 months of validity is required, with extra blank pages available for visa stamps. Currently no visa is required to enter Mexico for visits less than 90 days. Familiarize yourself with Travel Advisories and entry requirements available at the U.S. State Department.
How do I get there?
Flights to Mexico City are easily booked from almost any area of the United States. Because of this, the group meets at the hotel in Mexico City. We encourage you to make your reservations early.
On Day 1, it will normally take you about 30 minutes by taxi from the airport to the hotel. Please arrive in time to join the team for the 7pm meeting, followed by dinner. On Day 9, we will drop you off at the airport before noon for your afternoon departure flight. If you wish to remain longer, there are many hotels near the airport. For best service and support, we recommend that you work with a knowledgeable travel agent that can assist you quickly should you need help while traveling.
What kind of insurance do I need?
Travel Insurance is required, minimum evacuation and medical expense coverage. Trip cancellation/interruption coverage is strongly suggested due to our no-refund policy.
Packing & Food
How should I pack?
Most of us will pack our gear in two duffle bags. We put our climbing pack in one of these bags. Most airlines limit checked luggage to two pieces each weighing no more than 50 lbs. Use zip ties to close the bags or purchase TSA approved locks. TSA approved locks really are a good idea; they are nice for your peace of mind and help to prevent pilfering. In addition to these two bags, we like to use a small backpack as our carry-on luggage. You then have this small backpack available for day hikes, shopping, etc.
We also would suggest that you purchase one of the many light money belts that are available or get one of the pouches that you can hang around your neck and place inside your shirt. This is a little safer way to carry your money and travel documents.
What kind of travel clothing should I bring?
Keep your clothing tasteful but casual. Shorts for men are typically frowned upon in town.
How much money should I bring?
Cash is usually easier to exchange. Since we aren't carrying very large amounts, most people prefer cash. Carrying an assortment of smaller bills is usually helpful. Credit cards are accepted by larger Mexican businesses in the cities but are useless in small towns (be sure to confirm that your credit card company is aware of your travel plans so your card does not get locked). Pesos can be exchanged for at the airport and in the hotel. Plan to take approximately $500.
What food should I bring?
You will be responsible for your own bottled drinks. There are a variety of good restaurants within a short distance of the hotels we use. We'll try to sample a few of them.
We'll take care of breakfasts and dinners while climbing, this includes hot drinks. This means that you need only to worry about your climbing lunches and snack foods. Figure on food/ snacks for four lunches. Candy, cheese, nuts, crackers and powdered drink mixes are items that people typically bring. You can always purchase some extras like fruit in Mexico. Bottled water is available everywhere. The bottom line is to bring snacks that you like to eat, not necessarily things that you think are good for you. See what IMG guides like to snack on in the mountains.
Medical & Miscellaneous
What medical issues should I consider?
While it's always nice to have a doctor as a participant on our trips, we cannot guarantee one's presence and you should be aware of this. We do ask that you carefully fill out the Medical Information form that is part of the sign-up packet which you completed as part of the registration procedure. We need to be informed of any allergies you may have, medications you are currently taking and any medical conditions which could possibly affect your ability to safely participate on a climbing expedition.
In addition to the first aid items listed on the equipment list, there are a few additional required medications. These should be discussed with your personal physician and will require a prescription. We want everyone to bring a course of the prescription antibiotic azithromycin. Along with azithromycin, you will want to obtain high altitude emergency drugs including Acetazolamide, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
You should also bring some Imodium for treatment of traveler's diarrhea. Please consider all of these medications as part of your REQUIRED equipment list. Any medication should be used only if necessary and use should be discussed thoroughly with your physician and with your guide before you take the medication.
Water purification is also very important. An efficient and effective method is the use of iodine crystals. These are available commercially at mountaineering stores as a product called 'Polar Pure'. Iodine tablets, such as 'Potable Agua' are also available and work well. Filters, such as the ones made by MSR, are also good. Either can be used or both can be used in combination. Bottled water is also readily available.
We also recommend that each participant brings a small bottle of hand disinfectant such as Purell. Anything that we can do to stay healthy is worthwhile.
Health issues will be discussed during the expedition and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions before or during the trip.
What immunizations will I need?
No immunizations are currently required to enter Mexico. It is recommended that you consider the following:
- Tetanus/Diphtheria: There is no natural immunity to the tetanus toxin and since it is found throughout the world, immunization is a universal recommendation regardless of age. A combined tetanus/ diphtheria booster is available, good for ten years.
- Hepatitis Vaccine: New vaccines are available for both hepatitis A and B.
- Covid-19 vaccine: A complete series.
Please consult your physician or local health department for their recommendations.
You should also ask your physician for a prescription for a course of the antibiotic azithromycin ("Z-Pak"). Please consider this to be part of your required equipment.
We recommend that you visit the travel clinic at a major University Hospital or your local Public Health Department for the most up to date info on travel requirements, or check the Center for Disease Control Website at cdc.gov.
What is the weather usually like?
There is no way to predict what the exact weather will be like during our ascents. Temperatures should be comparable to those experienced on Mt. Rainier during the summer climbing season. Precipitation is usually minimal.
In Mexico City and the surrounding countryside, temperatures will range from a balmy 60 - 80? F in the day to cool evenings requiring a sweater or light jacket.
What's included in the expedition fee?
Costs Included in Trip Fee:
- IMG Leadership & local guides
- Group climbing equipment
- Double occupancy in 4-star hotel for dates indicated in itinerary
- Shared accommodations in huts and/or tents while climbing
- Group transportation in-country as indicated in itinerary
- *NEW* All meals for the trip during the published itinerary with the exception of snacks while climbing
- Permit fees and park entrance fees
- *NEW* Tip pool for local guides and staff
- IMG buff
Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:
- International airfare/tax/baggage fee
- Taxi to/from airport
- Single supplement accommodations in hotels
- Snacks while climbing
- Alcoholic beverages and personal sundries
- Personal gear/climbing equipment
- Travel Insurance
- Covid tests (if required for travel)
- Any Covid-related expense resulting in delays or quarantine
- Evacuation, hospital, or medical costs
- Optional but customary guide gratuities