Mexico’s third highest peak.
Iztaccihuatl Climb stats:
- 11.3 miles round trip
- 4,765 feet of elevation gain
- trip time 9hrs
the legend of Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl click here for mountain history.
Map to Iztaccihuatl
Peru Andes Guides: Peter click here
Orizaba Mountain Guides: Emilio click here
For our two climbs we used one of my climbing partners friends Peter form “Peru Andes Guides”. He got in touch with “OMG” (Orizaba Mountain Guides) which is a local guide service with all resources we needed for our climb (lodging, 4 wheel drive transportation to climbing destinations, etc.)
This was the first of two peaks of our Mexico trip, the plan was Iztaccihualt Tuesday and Pico De Orizaba Thursday. We landed in Mexico City Saturday, then traveled to the Iztaccihualt base camp Sunday. I enjoyed the short stay (and Tequila) in Mexico City but it was good to get out of the sea of people and into the wilderness. The asphalt road to Iztaccihuatl takes you to the base of Mexicos second highest peak Popocatepetl which happens to be an active Volcano.
(Left) Popocatepetl, turning around from were the last photo was taken Iztaccihuatl (right)
I knew Popo was active, I didn’t know how active.. This was our first days afternoon show.
We woke and got a short 4hr acclimatization hike, going from 12,500ft to 15,500ft above sea level. The rest of the day we just hung out and relaxed in preparation of our 1am departure the next morning.
Click to enlarge
12midnight I woke up to a frozen tent, already in my gear I roll out of my sleeping bag brushed my teeth and meet up with the rest of our group for a little breakfast. After downing a little food and coffee we stepped off at 1am. From our hike the day before we knew what to expect for the first portion of the climb, but from the climbers hut on it was all new. The moon was so bright that we climbed with our head lamps turned off, it felt like a completely different mountain than the day before. The first approximately 2hrs is just a steady grind.
2am looking at Mexico City and the Refugio lit by a full moon
click to enlarge
After passing the Refugio the trail becomes more difficult. Heading up some steep, loose scree and wandering through some rocky and relatively exposed sections. Coming down we came across a climber that was separated from his group and unfamiliar with the climb so we helped him through some of the challenging sections. Below is one of the more exposed areas of the climb. There is a vague marked trail through this area but navigation can be difficult.
Past this we found our selves on the “knees” of the mountain and following a ridge to the summit. Iztaccihuatl is a dormant volcano with its last eruption in 1868 one portion of the mountain was leaking foul smelling sulfuric gas (you definitely know when you’ve gotten to this point).
As we made our way up the ridge towards the summit we came across these beautiful snow fields. With the sun rising and the wind howling it felt like you were walking on the moon.
iztaccihuatl Summit 17,159ft above sea level.
This was my first trip to mainland Mexico, this being the third day I was already impressed with all Mexico Had to offer.
“Walking around our camp I couldn’t help but smile. There was some truly amazing scenery. The contrast of geographical features, vegetation, geothermic activity and memories of the city below. I am currently very much in love with life”
A successful summit! Now to pack up and off to Puebla to eat some food and prep for Orizaba!