The Pico de Orizaba or Citlaltépetl is called in the indigenous Nahuatl language and lies between the states of Puebla and Veracruz in east-central Mexico. It is the highest mountain in Mexico, located near Orizaba in the state of Veracruz, from which it got its name.
Like many snow-capped mountains, residents regard the silent Orizaba as a holy mountain. Mount Orizaba is currently a dormant volcano with a conical shape and three craters on its peak. The volcano erupted several times from 1545 to 1566, with the last eruption in 1687.
You will have a very special experience on the active trip to Mexico, as you will climb the highest volcano and, at the same time, the highest mountain in Mexico, the Pico de Orizaba. The town, Orizaba, also impresses with its location in the heart of a magnificent mountain landscape.
Pico de Orizaba Introduction
Around 25 kilometers northwest of the city, Pico de Orizaba's volcano rises majestically. Pico de Orizaba is part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt that extends roughly east-west across Mexico. The better-known volcanic mountain Popocatépetl near Mexico City is often incorrectly named the highest mountain. Still, with a height of 5,450 m, it is somewhat lower than the Pico de Orizaba. Pico de Orizaba is the highest mountain in Mexico and the highest point between Colombia and Canada's Yukon Territory.
In terms of terrain, Pico de Orizaba is the seventh highest mountain globally and the second-highest volcano after Mount Kilimanjaro on the African continent. Although Pico de Orizaba is located about 110 kilometers inland west of Puerto Veracruz, boats on the Gulf of California can still see Pico de Orizaba on clear days. Puerto Veracruz was still dark when the early morning sun shone on the Pico de Orizaba.
|Location||between the states of Puebla and Veracruz|
|Altitude||5636 m (18490 ft)|
|Prominence||4,922 m (16,148 ft)|
|Climbing Season||December and January|
Elevation Of Pico de Orizaba
The snow- and ice-clad peak of Pico de Orizaba boasts a summit elevation of 5,675 meters (18,620 feet) above sea level, making it both the highest peak in Mexico and the tallest volcano in North America. The glacier starts around 4900-5000m and covers the upper aspects of the mountain.
Pico de Orizaba is also an actual alpine environment with nine glaciers. Most of the glaciers occur on the volcano's northern side, which receives less sun than the southern flank. The Gran Glaciar Norte, or Great Glacier of the North, is the largest on Orizaba, spilling down from the summit to about 16,000 feet. Until recently, the average thickness of these glaciers was about 160 feet and covered about 3.5 square miles.
Climbing the Pico de Orizaba
It is possible to climb the Pico de Orizaba without any climbing knowledge, but experience using crampons and ice ax help. However, the high altitude of well over 5000m, which usually requires appropriate acclimatization, should be considered. The trekking takes 3-5 days, depending on the acclimatization period and the starting point. The climbing route is steep via the southern route but never really difficult and, with a bit of luck, can be mastered without snow. The climatic conditions are most favorable between October and March, best in December and January.
An excellent physical condition is required for the difficult climbing of the Pico de Orizaba in Veracruz. Once at the top, the wonderful panoramic view rewards you. When it is good weather, you can have magnificent views of the extensive Sierra Madre and the Gulf of Mexico from the summit of Pico de Orizaba. One memorable aspect of climbing Orizaba is the shadow the mountain casts on the surrounding flat plains when you stand on the summit at sunrise. Witnessing this effect has been the highlight of many climbers' trips.