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Mountaineering equipment for Mexican mountains

For our trips we can lend you any equipment you need, free of charge. Please send us a list of equipment you need.

Pico de Orizaba , Iztaccihuatl

Equipment Nevado de Toluca Malinche Iztacci huatl Pico de Orizaba
Internal frame pack (approx. 40 liters) xxx xxx xxx xxx
Pair of hiking poles x x x x
ice axe (70 cm length is the most useful)     xxx xxx
12 pt. crampons (must be reasonably sharp)     xxx xxx
climbing harness       xxx
Helmet       xxx
2 locking and 4 regular carabiners       xxx
sleeping bag rated 0° F (down or synthetic)     xxx xxx
sleeping pad     xxx xxx
waterproof boots     x xxx
gaiters     x x
hiking shoes or tennis shoes x xx x  
two sets of wool or synthetic socks     x x
two sets of silk or synthetic sock liners     xx xx
light synthetic shirt, short or long sleeve xx xx xx xx
light hiking shorts or pants xx xx xx xx
climbing pants fleece or wind stopper (a light weight and a medium weight bottoms make the job)     xx xxx
Gore-tex pants with full-length leg zippers     xx xx
Gore-tex shell-type parka xx xx xxx xxx
medium weight insulated parka (down or synthetic)     xx xx
polypropylene underwear, light or medium weight tops and bottoms (don't forget a pair of synthetic briefs or boxers)     xx xxx
Fleece jacket xxx xxx xxx xxx
wool or fleece stocking hat xx xx xxx xxx
gloves xxx xxx xxx xxx
two pair of thin polypro gloves (liners)

x

x xxx xxx
wool or pile mittens with shells (i.e. over mitts)     x x
bandana (many uses)        
sun hat (with large shading visor) x x x x
sunglasses xxx xxx xxx xxx
suntan lotion (at least #25 protection factor) and lip salve xxx xxx xxx xxx
2 wide, important to be WIDE mouth plastic water bottles with insulated covers ( Bottle Parka from Outdoor Research are good choice) x x xxx xxx
bowl, cup and spoon x x xxx xxx
good headlamp with 2 sets of batteries xxx xxx xxx xxx
camera and film and/or video camera x x x x

personal first aid kit to include at least the following:

* Aspirin or your favorite headache pill

* antacids

* moleskin (callous/blister foam)

* band-aids

* Imodium

* light weight toilet articles and personal medications

xxx xxx xxx xxx
toilet paper xxx xxx xxx xxx
2 large plastic garbage bags x x x x
pocket knife x x x x
alarm wrist watch x x x x

X= needed; xx= recommended; xxx= highly recommended

 

X= needed; xx= recommended; xxx= highly recommended

 

It would be practically impossible to describe all the rules that apply to this sport in a few lines. Instead we have made a list of suggestions related to the things that we consider among the most important for this activity.

Firstly, and most importantly, to be able to practice any mountain activity it is necessary to have prudence.

The following is a list of the most important things:

1. *Hiking boots:
There are different types and brands that are made of either leather, plastic, or synthetic fibres such as Ultrex and Gore-tex. In general the appropriate ones are:

a) Leather boots: it is necessary to waterproof your boots with grease or oil so that they are resistant to water and low temperatures. It is important that they are not steel-toed because this could increase the likelihood of your feet freezing.

 

b) Mountaineering boots: these are the most appropriate for high altitude mountaineering (recommended for Pico de Orizaba). There are rigid and flexible boots that are designed for different temperatures 0 to -50°C.

c) Cloth boots: these are made of a waterproof material such as Gore-tex and have durable soles that are specifically designed to use crampons.

Note: Trekking shoes or sneakers should only be used to reach the base or below the snow line. The reason for this is that they are not practical for the snow, much less for glaciers. Though they appear similar to cloth hiking boots they are not designed to be used with crampons.

 

2. Crampons:
They generally have 6, 8, and 12 spikes and can be divided into the following three main types:

 

a) With straps: These are attached to the boots using straps that wrap around the arch or pass through eyelets specifically designed for this.

 

b) Semiautomatic: These are usually used with plastic mountaineering boots, but may also be used with leather or cloth boots that have soles designed for their use.

 

c) Automatic: These are similar to the semiautomatic but easier to use because they have a metal bar that attaches to the front of the sole and an adjustment strap with an adapter for the heel of the boot. These are the most practical for any ascent.

 

Note: Do not use home-made or improvised crampons, nor ones of questionable origin. It is recommended that you use only recognised brands that are of high quality.

 

3. Thermal Socks:
There are three types: polypropylene (the most practical,) wool, and cotton. If you decide to use cotton socks you may have to use several pairs pending on the temperature. In this case you will need to use boots that are 1 or 2 sizes larger than usual so that they are neither too loose nor too tight.

 

Note: Never wear plastic bags inside your boots. This does not help waterproof your footwear. On the contrary it impedes transpiration and tends to promote freezing.

 

4. Gators:

These are made of waterproof material and help to prevent sand or snow from entering your boots or pants.

5. *Stormproof Pants:
The outer layer is usually made of cloth (nylon or Gore-Tex) with a liner made of synthetic thermal materials.
Depending on the temperature you may need to wear cotton, fleece, or polypropylene pants under your stormproof pants. Though it is not as highly recommended as using stormproof pants, you can also use 1 or 2 pairs of cotton pants with a pair of nylon pants over top.

Note: It is not advisable that you use denim because it becomes heavy and rigid when it gets wet. 

 

6. *Jacket or Anorak:
There are anoraks made of various materials, from goose down to synthetics. You should use sweatshirts, parkas, or windbreakers as the weather calls for.
Note: Synthetic materials are more practical than wool or down because despite being thermal they do not weigh much when they get wet and they dry quickly.

 

7. *Gloves or Mittens:
As with all mountaineering clothes there are thermal gloves made of synthetic material as well as woolen ones. It is recommended to bring at least 2 pairs.

 

8. *Ski goggles:
These must be 100% UV repellent. This is important because the snow reflects more than 90% of UV rays and your eyes can be damaged if they are not properly protected.

9. *Head wear:
There are different types of head wear: caps and headbands made of wool, fleece, polypropylene, etc. It is very important that you don't forget to bring head wear.

 

10. *Sun block: Sun block prevents sun burn and protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. There are many different types and brands that can be found in pharmacies and grocery stores. It is very important that you remember to use sunscreen in the mountains.

 

11. *Headlamp:
You must bring a headlamp even if you plan to return the same day, before nightfall. We recommend that you use a headlamp because it is important to keep your hands free during the ascent. Be sure to protect the batteries from the cold so that they do not loose their charge.

 

12. *Hiking / Mountaineering Backpack:
These are ergonomic and specifically designed for mountaineering and hiking.

13. Harness:
There are different models and brands, in the case that you don't have one it is possible to improvise one using webbing. It is not recommendable to use one of questionable origin or quality.

14. *Ice Axes:
Similarly there are different models and brands, which can be divided into the following:

Technical Ice Axe - These are used in ice climbing. It has an oblique pick with an adze that can be replaced with a hammer and a metal handle with a rubber grip.

Traverse Ice Axe - (Better for mexican mountains aroun 70cm)This must be large enough, that is, standing upright with crampons on the ice axe should reach you hand.

Note: You will need to use both technical and traverse ice axes, or a telescopic technical ice axe. Do not use home-made ice axes or ones of questionable quality. There is an organization that you may want to refer to, UIAA, that is in charge of controlling and rating the quality of equipme.

14. *Helmets:
It is preferable to use suspension helmets but even if it were a mining helmet, it is necessary to wear one in areas where it is possible that rocks may fall or where you could slip and hit your head, even if you are secured by a rope. Mountaineering helmets are light-weight and have a chin strap to hold them in place.

Well okay, so that you aren't shocked, the truth is that you probably don't need to bring all of the equipment that we have mentioned, depending on the activity you have planned. For example, harnesses, carabiners, ice tools, and rope are only needed in more difficult areas, so we have marked the basics for any given ascent with an asterisk.

 

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oamexico@yahoo.com.mx

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