Orizaba was my only stop in Veracruz. As I approached the city, I was amazed at the sight of Pico de Orizaba. Standing at 18,491 ft, it dwarfed all the surrounding terrain. Though I intended to stop in Orizaba only to fly, it was hard to resist the urge to climb Pico. I arrived in Orizaba at night, and walked around the city.

The launch at Fortín was absolutely beautiful, with a view of Córdoba to the east and Orizaba to the west. It’s an extremely consistent site, and is flyable almost every day. The low clouds made XC difficult, but it was still fun to thermal near the ridge and topland.

Climbing Pico de Orizaba requires first acclimatizing to the high altitude. I spent a day hiking near base camp (at around 14,000 ft) before attempting the ascent. Most of the climb wasn’t too hard, but the last part of the climb involves climbing a glacier. I rented a pair of crampons and an ice axe for this part. I made it about halfway up the glacier before the altitude was too much for me to handle. I made the safe decision to turn around.

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