Summit Report: Iztaccihuatl


Lead guide, Terray Sylvester, provided this recap of yesterday’s summit climb of Mexico‘s Iztaccihuatl.  Way to go team!

We had a great climb on Iztaccihuatl with excellent weather and 100% success!


Our day started early with a midnight wake up at the Altzomoni Refuge at the foot of the mountain. We had originally considered launching our summit bid from a high camp, but the mountain is extremely dry right now and no running water or snow was available at the camps we considered. Since we have a strong, well-acclimatized team we decided to skip high camp entirely in favor of a one-day ascent that would allow us to enjoy the entirety of the route with light summit packs. Our decision was also influenced by the fact that we had the usually popular Altzomoni Refuge all to ourselves, ensuring that we’d have space and quiet to relax and fuel up before our ascent.


Iztaccihuatl means the “white woman” or the “sleeping woman,” so named for the way the volcano’s multiple summits resemble the features of a person lying down when viewed from the west. By 1 a.m. we were climbing past “los pies,” the feet, with Popocatépetl rising behind us in a starry sky and coyotes yipping in the valley below. The climb went smoothly with only a short section of ice that demanded crampons, and eight hours later we stood on top of Mexico’s third highest peak under clear, sunny skies with a light breeze. We had the summit all to ourselves.


After an uneventful descent we transferred to our hotel one block from the main square in nearby Puebla. We’ll relax here for the next 36 hours and then head to our next objective, Orizaba! And in the mean time, we’ll likely enjoy a celebratory cerveza.

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