Use this equipment list is for the Mexico expedition to Orizaba, Malinche and Ixta
The mountains of Mexico are big, high and wild. These volcanic wonders soar from the deserts and plains below to heights over 18,000 feet, yet they offer some of the finest mountaineering challenges around for those looking for a high, but accessible summit. With huts high on most of the mountains, we can count on some refuge, but these great peaks can be inhospitable places even in climbing season. If everything goes right, our ascents will rarely involve battling storms, but as with every range, some days can be clear and friendly and find us climbing in only a few layers, while others can be stormy and cold with every type of precipitation falling in abundance. Weather in the mountains can change quickly and temperature fluctuations can be considerable. Even when it’s clear out, the winds and thin air can combine to make 18,000’ feel like a challenging place to be.
Regardless of the weather, high-altitude mountaineering comes with a unique set of challenges. Moving on even moderate terrain can feel difficult at altitude. Keeping fingers and toes warm and bodies hydrated and functional can be challenging at times. With this comes an exaggerated need for light, but functional equipment. As a result, we want all of our clothing and gear to be light, versatile, and carefully considered. We want our gear to perform in fair weather or foul, and be adequate to the task while being light enough to allow us to enjoy the climb without being bogged down by a heavy or cumbersome pack or by the wrong clothing or gear.
While each specific objective can require a slight adjustment in our kit, these are the basics of what we want to have available to us. All of our international expeditions will involve hiking on and off trail, climbing in boots and crampons, and will also all involve a mix of snow, ice and maybe even rock or scree. Depending on the weather, you may find yourself wearing short sleeves or everything you brought. Wherever we are in the world, on all of our climbs we’re going to want to put together an action suit – a combination of clothing that will keep us comfortable but not sweaty when we’re moving – and to have enough insulation to keep us warm when we’re not. Whatever the case, having well-fitting, high-quality gear will undoubtedly lead to a more enjoyable trip.
We have selected these items with great care to give everyone the best chance of staying warm, dry, and happy. Please call or email us if you have any questions. We’re here to help.
Bring all of the items on this equipment list!
- Underwear – Wool or synthetic (ex: Men’s Ortovox Base Layers, Women’s Ortovox Base Layers )
- Socks – 2 pairs of wool or synthetic. Some people like a thinner wool sock with a liner sock underneath. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Socks, Women’s Ortovox Socks)
- Long Underwear – Medium weight tops and bottoms. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Base Layers, Women’s Ortovox Base Layers)
- T-shirt – Synthetic, quick-drying (ex: Men’s Ortovox T-Shirts, Women’s Ortovox T-Shirts)
- Lightweight Fleece Top (ex: Men’s Ortovox Hoodies and Fleece Jackets, Women’s Ortovox Hoodies and Fleece Jackets)
- Softshell Top (ex: Men’s Ortovox Softshell Jackets, Women’s Ortovox Softshell Jackets)
- Hiking/Softshell Pants (ex: Men’s Ortovox Softshell Pants, Men’s Ortovox Lightweight Pants, Women’s Ortovox Softshell Pants, Women’s Ortovox Lightweight Pants)
- Waterproof-breathable Pants – Waterproof, breathable pants without insulation; full-length side-zipper highly recommended for putting on over boots when the weather gets severe. Gore-Tex is one such material used by many manufacturers. (ex: Men’s Mammut Nordwand, Women’s Mammut Nordwand, Men’s Ortovox Hardshell Pants, Women’s Ortovox Hardshell Pants)
- Waterproof-breathable Jacket – Waterproof, breathable jacket without insulation; requires a helmet-compatible hood. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Hardshell Jacket, Women’s Ortovox Hardshell Jacket)
- Insulated Parka – Required, with a helmet-compatible hood and either down or Primaloft insulation. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Zinal Jacket, Women’s Ortovox Zinal Jacket) (Micro-puff jackets are too light for potential conditions.) *This item IS available for rent
- Light-weight Gloves – Windproof gloves, for warmer conditions. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Tour Glove, Women’s Ortovox Tour Glove)
- Medium-weight Gloves – Lightly insulated, waterproof. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Mountain Glove, Women’s Ortovox Mountain Glove)
- Heavy-weight Gloves/Mittens- Waterproof, insulated (ex: Men’s Ortovox Freeride Mitten, Women’s Ortovox Freeride Mitten)
- Warm Hat – Wool or synthetic, and snug enough to wear under a helmet. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Hats and Neckwarmers, Women’s Ortovox Hats and Neckwarmers)
- Buff, or Balaclava – Protection from wind, cold and sun. (ex: Men’s Ortovox Neckwarmers, Women’s Ortovox Neckwarmers)
- Sun Hat – The more coverage the better. Baseball caps or packable sun hats will work (ex: Outdoor Research Hats)
- Gaiters – For soft, slushy snow conditions. Gaiters can also protect from tripping and/or ripping pants with crampons. (ex: Outdoor Research Mountaineering Gaiters)
- Passport – Don’t forget it!
- Lunch/Snacks – 1 lb per day of a variety of tasty, high energy foods
- Water Bottles – Two 1-liter bottles required. No bladders allowed for risk of freezing and/or breaking. (ex: Nalgene)
- Water Bottle Parkas – to prevent your bottles from freezing at high altitude
- Sunglasses or Glacier Glasses – Should be high-quality, dark, large and fit snugly or have side-shields. (ex: Julbo Mountain Sunglasses)
- Ski Goggles – Clear or light in color, in case of blowing snow. (ex: Julbo Goggles)
- Sun Block – SPF 30 or higher
- Lip Balm – SPF 15 or higher
- Toilet Paper – Just in case! Blue bags will be available at most trailheads.
- Headlamp – For alpine starts (ex: Petzl Headlamps)
- Trekking Poles with Snow Baskets – Highly recommended for saving energy on the way up and your knees on the descent. (ex: Leki Trekking Poles, Black Diamond Trekking Poles)
- Garbage Bags – 1-2 compactor bags.
- Personal First Aid Kit – Moleskin, ibuprofen, aspirin, antacids, personal prescriptions, band-aids.
- Diamox – Bring a personal supply of Diamox, a common altitude prophylactic.
Technical Climbing Gear
*Rental Equipment should be procured from your local climbing shop to ensure a good fit.
- Mountaineering boots – Full-shank, insulated, waterproof mountaineering boots are required for all of our climbs.(ex: La Sportiva Nepal Evo, Scarpa Phantom Tech, Zamberlan Mountain Pro Evo, Koflach Degre, and Scarpa Inverno )
- Crampons – 10 or 12-point, steel crampons. Aluminum crampons aren’t suitable for typical steep climbing in the Cascades. (ex: Petzl Vasak)
- Ice Axe – 50 to 65cm long. (ex: Petzl Summit)
- Climbing Harness – Alpine-style (ex: Edelrid Loopo Lite, Petzl Altitude)
- Climbing Helmet – (ex: Edelrid Zodiac, Petzl Boreo)
- Climbing Pack (optional)– 40-50 liters (ex: Ortovox Peak 45)
- Hiking sneakers – Comfortable and lightweight
- Overnight Pack – 45-55 liters. For example, Black Diamond Speed or Epic
- Bowl, Spoon, & Cup
- Sleeping Pad (ex: Thermarest NeoAir)
- Sleeping Bag – Rated 0-30 degrees, with compression stuff sack
- Toiletries – Toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, eyewear, etc.
- Ear Plugs – If you don’t bring them you can’t complain!
- 1 Gallon Ziploc bag – 2-3
- Book – Light reading for downtime in the hut
- MP3 player – Sounds better than snoring
- Pillow – We’re not kidding – you may never have one on an expedition again, but for sleeping at almost 14,000 feet, it’s great.
- Camp chair – If it has a backrest you’ll be glad to have it while hanging out around camp during rest days.
- Ear Plugs – If you don’t bring them you can’t complain!
- Camera – If you use your phone for photos, be sure to have backup battery power
- Backup battery and/or solar charger – For any and all of your electronics
- Cash – About $200 USD in cash should be plenty for a few meals in Mexico City, souvenirs at the local market, and any incidentals along the way.