Just outside Mexico City are the two big volcanos Iztaccíhuatl (5230m) and Popocatépetl (5426m), also called Izta and Popo. They are respectively the 3rd and 2nd highest mountains in Mexico. They form a National Park and Izta can be climbed whereas Popo is closed due to volcanic activity.
The road leading up to the basecamp of Izta at 4000m as a wonderful drive from the Mexican plateau. We camped for a night and the day after we wanted to get up to the first ridge to see the sunrise. We were ready shortly after five but a few minutes into the hike the batteries of Ben’s flashlight ran out. Since it was still completely dark, we decided to turn around and wait in the warm car until sunrise.
The hike is pretty steep but not very technical, however the altitude and the fact that we’ve only spent one night at this elevation totally killed us and after two hours we were only 500m higher. By now the sun was out and we enjoyed the warm sun rays and the not so freezing temperatures, ate something and turned around. At least we made it up to 4500m! 😀 On the way down Popo surprised us with a small “poof”!
On the same day we took the gravel road down to Cholula. Cholula is another pretty colonial city with the biggest pyramid (volume wise) and next to Puebla. The pyramid is so big, that the Spaniards decided to build a church on top of it…
A short drive outside Puebla is another Volcano, La Malinche (4461m). It’s less high – the 10th highest mountain in Mexico – and a good training for high altitude hiking. We camped at the Centro Vacacional IMSS La Malintzi at 3100m.
The hike is very pretty with some really steep section, but we were now better acclimatized and made good progress. Unfortunately the weather turned on us just before the ridge at about 4200m and we had to turn around with the peak in sight 🙁