In most people minds, Mexico is the destination of beautiful beaches, great water sports, warm sunshine, and the fascinating pre-Columbian ruins. But, in this article, you will come across an unbelievable topography – volcanoes! This is because Mexico resides on the North American tectonic plate. If you are a climber and a great fan of Mexico, it’s a great deal to explore the volcanoes in Mexico.
Among the volcanoes in Mexico, there exist three prominent glaciated ones namely Pico de Orizaba (Citlateptl) soaring until 18,700 feet, Popocatepetl towering 17,887 feet high, and Iztaccihuatl rising up until 7,342 feet.
Pico de Orizaba
This is the highest mountain in the state as well as third highest in North America, but is situated remotely. It is named so as it looks over the city as well as valley of Orizaba. Even more interesting is the fact that this is ranked 7th on this planet from the point of view of topographic reputation. After Mount Kilimanjaro, this is the most prominent volcanic summit. Its majesty is so towering that this 75-mile away peak is seen to the ships in the Gulf of Mexico.
A distinct risk here is to cross through the rim up to the pinnacle. My way was a dry trail whose sides were steeply sloped. So, just be careful as a bit slip can take in the crater or deep down the volcano. The chances are more because of short of oxygen as well as exhaustion. Just balance on your ice axe.
Also known as Popo and Don Goyo, this one is still alive, boasts glaciers, and is recognized as the second highest peak in the state. The name means Smoking Mountain and is connected to the volcano Iztaccíhuatl in north through the soaring load called the Paso de Cortes. It is nestled at 70 km from the Mexico City from where you can spot the peak provided there are good atmospheric conditions. However, since its eruption in 1994, the climb here is not allowed.
This is certainly the third highest mountain and its meaning in English is ‘white woman’. It boasts four peaks each of which is symbolized as the head, chest, knees, and feet of a sleeping lady. This is clearly visible from east or west. Even this is visible from the capital. Interestingly, this mountain represents a lady who having the same name loved the warrior whose name was Popocatépetl. When the lady heard that her beloved has lost his life in a war (fake info by her father), she died of grief and seeing the dead body, the warrior committed suicide. Both these bodies got covered in snow by the gods and converted themselves into mountains. Well, this is the reason why Popocatepetl continues to erupt in anger.
However, Iztaccihuatl is open for climbing and you can stay at the Paso de Cortez hut located mid-way between Izta and Popo. However, if Popo rains fire, it is not safe to climb Izta nor it is good to be in the nearby towns of Puebla or Amecameca. Bravely, you can choose to stay on Izta in its huts reachable after the hike of many hours from the road (driving is possible). Great views will mesmerize you provided altitude sickness does not prove to be an obstacle. This is among the tourist favorite volcanoes in Mexico.
Best time to climb
November to March, especially around Christmas
Climbing on snow is riskier than doing so on a rock. So, a minimum skill set is necessary – crevasse rescue dexterity, self-arrest skills, and glacier travel experience. Best is to go with a professional guide. And yes, carry ice axe, crampons, and rope. Avalanches are also common. So, beware!
Avoid climbing Popo even of it is not erupting as the sulfur vapors can get you a asthma attack
Reaching to the volcanoes in Mexico
Taxi from the airport of Mexico city until the TAPO bus station and a suitable bus