Alejandro used to belong to a group of mountain climbers. Although the group does not get together for expeditions as they used to, Alejandro is still friends with most of them, and some of them continue to climb Mexico’s peaks.
One of his friends recently climbed Iztaccíhuatl (Izta for short). It is the third highest peak in the country (elevation 17,160 feet), a dormant volcanic mountain located about 40 miles from Mexico City. He sent Alejandro some spectacular photos of the ascent, and I thought that I would share a couple of them with you.
Sunrise from the slopes of Izta
The ascent must be started in the wee hours of the morning, so that you can reach the summit and descend before the possibility of late afternoon storms.
The view from the top
In the background you can see Mexico’s second highest mountain, Popocatépetl (Popo for short). It, too, used to be a popular goal of alpinists, but since 2000, the mountain has been off limits. In that year the mountain came to life with the biggest eruption in some 1200 years. Since then, there have been frequent explosions, and most of the time it is fuming gas (as you can see in the photo). Izta is still snow-covered, but Popo, due to warmer temperatures and the heat of its eruptions, has lost all of its glaciers. There must have been precipitation (at that elevation in the form of snow) the day before. Usually, the peak is gray cone of volcanic ash, but here it is crowned with snow.