El Popo & Izta

I feel especially fortunate to be living and working so close to two very impressive mountains/volcanoes in Mexico. El Popo (Popocatépetl = 5,426 meters or 17,802 feet) and Izta (Iztaccíhuatl = 5,230 meters or 17,160 feet) are the 2nd and 3rd tallest peaks in Mexico.  Depending on the weather conditions, I can see one or both of them almost daily from my home or INAOE office.  I can also understand why early indigenous cultures created legends around this unique pair of geological features (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popocat%C3%A9petl_and_Iztacc%C3%ADhuatl).
El Popo is still an active volcano and closed to climbing, but a group of friends from my INOAE Yoga group recently invited me to climb Izta.  One of my Tucson friends had also climbed Izta  during his 20’s, but I was a little worried about whether my 70+ year-old knees would hold up during such an arduous climb.  It was also a very long day – leaving from my house at 4:30 am and returning at about 9:00 pm.
I’m grateful for this climbing adventure, and I’m especially grateful that I didn’t suffer any bodily injury.  My earlier hikes in the Grand Canyon & Yosemite probably helped prepare me for this most difficult and highest elevation climb to date.  Our family flew around Denali in Alaska (20,308’) during our 40th Anniversary trip in 2011, but that doesn’t really count as a climb.  I decided that this brief summary with the attached pictures would qualify for my next PUEBLOG post (https://pueblog.me/).
Sunrise at the Popo Izta National Park.
Me on Izta with El Popo in the background.
Our group of fellow INAOE Yoga participants, coworkers and friends with Izta in the background
Me and my INAOE Yoga instructor, Zuzeth Hernández Davilla, celebrating a flat rest stop with headstands.
Zuzeth and her brother, Rafael, take a break before we move further up into the clouds, snow and wind.
Our destination “refugios” in the midst of snow (both on the ground and falling), fog, strong winds, and freezing temperatures.
It’s crowded, but at least warmer inside. Other climbers carrying more gear were preparing to spend the night before scaling Izta’s summit (17,160 feet) the next day.
The return trip was easier, but actually more dangerous, going downhill. I was grateful to get back to firmer ground and warmer weather.
An Izta park map from our starting point at La Joya and showing our Refujios destination (about 8 hours round trip).
This is a recent view of El Popo at sunset from my INOAE office building with Izta just out of view to the right.

One thought on “El Popo & Izta

  1. Doug- Great job climbing Izta!! That is a real accomplishment and a good demo for all the rest of us in the “old knees” crowd!!
    Bruce P


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