Mexico City does not conjure images of a hikers paradise, however barely outside its urban sprawl there are volcanos a plenty to challenge even the most hardcore hiker. The main peaks include Nevado de Toluca, Malinche, Iztaccíhuatl, Ajusco and Orizaba.
Our plan was to climb Nevado De Toluca, Malinche and finish off on Itza. The weather forecast had been pretty shoddy in the days leading up to Nevado, but we decided to carry on regardless. After a long slow drive to the refuge just below the crater rim we settled in for a freezing night of camping.
The following morning we awoke to a shroud of dense fog, cutting visibility down to less than a 100ft at times. We set off but route finding was challenging making for slow going. We eventually bumped into a group of hikers from Mexico City, Fernanda was their de facto guide as she had hiked the route a month or two earlier.
Their English was excellent and they seemed like a charming bunch so we asked if we could join them. Trail finding still remained a challenge even with 7 sets of eyes. We continued upwards in what was vaguely the right direction, the cloud cover was relentless. We eventually did reach the summit of something but at 14815ft it was some 535ft shy of the peak we were looking for. We explored the area but could find no obvious route to continue the climb so decided to call it a day and head back down. Even though we saw bugger all we had a great time hiking with our new Mexican amigos, and decided to have another crack at it the following morning.
The weather was better but the cloud was beginning to roll in, when we got to the crater’s edge we saw just what we had missed the day before, the views were great. We were also able to see a few trails which was a bonus. We were a little strapped for time so opted to take a direct route rather than the easier approach that would have had us descend the backside of the crater to head up. The direct approach had us traverse the inside of the creator and then we had a good class 3 climb to the summit, we didn’t reach the summit we were aiming for but bagged our first 15er of the trip at 15089ft. The goal peak was just a little further along the ridge but time and the impending cloud meant that was all for today. Very happy to have seen it cloud free and bagged a couple of peaks both higher than anything we had climbed in the Rockies, even if they were the wrong ones (is there such a thing a wrong peak?)
The weather continued in its non co-operational vein at Malinche we arrived at the camping spot to see the volcano again hidden under a blanket of cloud. We ran into of friends Jacob and Niki (Sprintervandiatries) in the parking lot, they had summited that day and had fog for the whole hike, so we didn’t hold out much hope for our hike the next day.
The hike started in the fog as we picked up our guides, these particular guides were of the four-legged variety. Three dogs decided to join us for the trip, we dubbed them Scruffy, Vegemite, and Flash. Flash had a soft spot for Heather and was glued to her heals the whole way. As we reached the saddle the clouds cleared and we got a great view of the surrounding volcanoes. Unfortunately as a result of my creative route finding we didn’t actually have time to summit.
With the weather set to continue along the same line, we decided to skip Itza and head off towards the coast to meet Heather’s folks for some beach time.
The hiking opportunities around Mexico City mean we will be back and dedicating more time to be able to explore more thoroughly.