Scaling the icy crags of
Pico de Orizaba in Mexico
is an exciting adventure to say the least. Before you can begin that
once-in-a-lifetime journey, you’ll need an array of professional
mountain-climbing gear. Without that gear, you’ll be putting your life in
unnecessary risk. Are you adequately prepared to attempt your summit of Orizaba?
Before you plunk down a
few thousand dollars on climbing gear, you’ll need to assess your physical
fitness level. Obviously, you can’t even attempt the mountain if you’re a couch
potato! Climbing any mountain is no simple task. Your body needs to be in peak
fitness in order to handle the stress, fatigue, and altitude change. Climbing Orizaba isn’t like
talking a stroll through central park – you’ll be navigating your way through
loose rock and across vast sheets of ice, as well as potentially dealing with
inclement weather including snow storms and high winds that are strong enough
to rip you off the glacier and slam you into the rocks below. Sounds like fun,
doesn’t it? If you’re fitness level isn’t at its best, you should rethink your
desire to summit Orizaba,
at least until you can get yourself into better physical shape.
Depending on the manner in which you booked
your climb, you may need very little personal gear or the whole shebang. If
you’ve hired a company to get you to the mountain and manage all the essentials
that goes with it, then you’ll most likely not need the gear listed below. But
if you booked your trip yourself and plan to hire a local guide once you get
there, you’ll probably need to purchase every piece of gear mentioned in this
Your clothing is your first line of defense
when you’re attempting glacial mountaineering. In this respect, you should not
scrimp with your spending – buy the best clothing possible. You’ll need a warm hat that is
light enough to fit into your pocket yet comfortable enough to wear on your
head for many hours straight. You should also invest in a balaclava (face
mask), neck gaiter, glacier sunglasses or goggles, and a headlamp for use in
after hours. Those are the minimal items of clothing that you’ll need to bring
You should also invest in three different
pairs of gloves – a lightweight pair, a medium weight pair, and a heavy weight,
insulated pair. Your body will need at least three layers of clothing – a base
layer, an insulating layer, an insulated extreme-weather parka, and a
lightweight shell. Your lower body will need the same layers of clothing.
Probably the most important piece gear will
be your boots. You must make sure they are extremely comfortable as well as
functional. Most mountaineers wear highly durable, plastic mountaineering
Outside of your clothing, you’ll need a few
more pieces of gear that are absolutely necessary for glacial climbing. You’ll
need to protect your head in the event of a fall or in the event of a falling
rock from above. The helmet needs to be light enough to be remain comfortable
for the entire journey, yet strong enough to handle direct impact from an
unforeseen object. You’ll also need a climbing harness – one that is
comfortable, lightweight, and strong.
Next on the list are your crampons; these will strap
onto your boots and allow you to travel much more safely across the ice.
Trekking polts are an added benefit to assist your footing, your stamina, as
well as keep you balanced during the climb. While not always necessary on Orizaba, a set of
carabiners may also be helpful. If you haven’t hired a professional guide to
assist in your climb, you should at the very least consult with one before your
journey. The professional guide can give you a list of necessary climbing gear.
Most likely you will be spending at least one
night on the mountain, so you’ll need to bring along basic camping essentials:
a sleeping bag, eating utensils, toiletries, travel documents, and anything
else you might want to bring to elevate your level of comfort.
If your body is in tip-top shape and ready
for the climb, and you’ve invested into the right gear for the ascent, chances
are you’re truly ready to climb Orizaba!
Of course, it’s always recommended that you hire a professional guide! Good