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North America, Mexico, Elsewhere in North America, Mexico, Iztaccihuatl, El Orgasmo del Cerdo and Oz

Iztaccihuatl, El Orgasmo del Cerdo and Oz. El Orgasmo del Cerdo is more than 700 meters high, but only 300 meters are technical, with 200 meters of scrambling and occasional 20- meter fourth-class steps. It rises from the west glacier and was opened by Leonardo Torres, Gustavo Montalvo, and me in April. We climbed the route unroped, in less than five hours, because we found no way to safely use the rope we were carrying. You start at 4,500m on a 70-meter water-ice fall, with a 60-degree-ramp in the middle (WI3). You continue up a rocky ridge for another 300 meters, encountering fourth-class on two 20-meter steps. You then gain the base of a 40-meter icefall that is WI3. Once past the icefall, you ascend 80 meters of mixed terrain, which averages 50 degrees but is easy; pass more fourth-class terrain; and end on a 35-meter high serac, which may be AI3 or AI4, as it has 25 feet of vertical ice. From here to the summit is 120 meters of easy, though crevassed, terrain.

The summit is at 5,260m. The descent involves a 45-degree ramp for 100 meters before you gain a tricky ridge of sand and rock.

In October, with Salvador Camacho, I opened the route Oz from the northwest glacier. The technical part of Oz is 330 meters long (WI-4 M3), but to get to it you have to make an ascending traverse from 4,600m to 4,800m on 40-degree ramps. Above the 330 technical meters you ascend 60-degree ramps for another 200 meters to the top. The total altitude gain for this route is thus 730 meters, not including the approach.

For both routes there is an approach, starting at 3,600m, that takes about four hours. They are among the hardest routes on our Mexican mountains. Our ice is tropical ice, and the rock is volcanic and tends to be unstable. The routes on the northeast side of Iztaccihuatl are committing, as they lack belay points for a secure retreat.

Alejandro Perez Rayon, Mexico