MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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February 22, 2016

Orizaba Express Expedition Success

MM guide Mark Pugliese is reporting live from the 3rd highest peak in North America. Listen to his daily updates as our team heads to the roof of Mexico. Join us for our next Orizaba Express trip!

February 27, 2016 -

All safe back in Mexico City! What an amazing last week it has been!

This Orizaba Express expedition went off without a hitch for the past seven days. I can honestly say it has been one of the more interesting expedition experiences I have had.

I would say the highlights of the trip would have to be our acclimatization hike up Malinche, the Hacienda Santa Barbara, and the climb of Pico De Orizaba.

The Malinche hike is a beautiful and memorable day. Hiking through incredible old growth forest up to an amazing altitude of about 12,300ft before breaking out of the trees onto the ridge proper. Once on the ridge one enjoys breathtaking views of the valley below as well as Izta and Popo (other Mexican volcanoes). From the summit you can see Orizaba and the village of Zopan below.

After the Malinche hike we descended and drove about twenty minutes to the Hacienda Santa Barbara which is a hacienda near the village of Txcala. The Hacienda is absolutely amazing, constructed in the late 1600s it was similar to a plantation in the United States. While you stay there, it is your home, and you are treated as such. You are free to roam around and explore the grounds, go for walks in the fields, and climb into the 17th century bell tower at your leisure. You stay in the rooms that the owning family lived in when it was a functioning hacienda. The food was always five star dinning and great recovery food after hiking!

The mountain itself was a great experience for the group. Many of the climbers had not been to that altitude before and they were able to learn a lot about the ins and outs of high altitude. For summit day we began the day at 2am, hiking in the dark through rocky terrain to eventually reach the glacier just as the sun rose.  As the orange and red glow highlighted the ice and snow we ascended through variable snow and ice to eventually reach the crater rim and summit. A terrific day in the mountains to say the least. A 4X4 ride down from the hut we started from that day landed us back in town just in time for celebratory dinner and drinks at the Hostel.

A great trip to Mexico, we got to see a good amount of country, meet a lot of new people, and climb some inspiring peaks. All in under a week! I strongly urge you to join us at your next convenience on this incredible adventure.

Mark Pugliese

Mountain Madness Guide 

Photo: left to right Mike, Mark, and Ray on the summit. 


February 26, 2016 - Summit Success!

The team has reached the summit of the 3rd highest peak in North America. 

February 24, 2016 - Orizaba Base

The Mountain Madness Orizaba team is now at the hut at the base of the mountain. Heading up to high camp tomorrow.

February 23, 2016 - Acclimatization Hike

Today the group did an acclimatization hike to the summit of 14,646 foot high La Malinche. Now relaxing at the luxurious Hacienda Santa Barbara.

February 22, 2016 - Pyramid Tour

The MM group had an exciting cultural tour of the pyramids today and are now relaxing and eating quasadillas. 

February 21, 2016 - Mexico City

Team members have arrived and had a delicious dinner.