Mountaineering: Iztaccíhuatl, Mexico

Summit elevation: 17,160 feet / 5,230 meters
10 miles with 5,400 feet of climbing
Iztaccíhuatl • Route Profile
Route Profile

Iztaccíhuatl • Description

Iztaccíhuatl aka Ixta is a 17,160-foot dormant volcano in Mexico. It is the nation's third highest mountain, after Pico de Orizaba and Popocatépetl (which cannot be climbed due to activity).
The name "Iztaccíhuatl" is Nahuatl for "White Woman", reflecting the four individual peaks which depict the head (La Cabeza), chest (El Pecho), knees (Las Rodillas), and feet (Los Pies) of a sleeping woman when seen from east or west. Iztaccíhuatl lies north of Popocatépetl, to which it is connected by the high altitude Paso de Cortés, which can be reached via Mexico City or Puebla (dirt road).
Iztaccíhuatl can be approached from three different trailheads, La Joya being the most popular. The road from Paso de Cortés to La Joya closes at 7:00 pm, climbers who want to start before sunrise need to spend a night at Refugio Altzomoni (13,100 ft) or camp at the nearby trailhead. Some people climb Iztaccíhuatl in a single day, others spend a night at Refugio Grupo de los Cien (15,300 ft).
The route leads up to four Portillos and then descends to Refugio Grupo de los Cien. From here it continues to the 16,437-foot Las Rodillas summit, surmounting a steep step. After a short descent, the route continues to climb towards El Pecho, before descending again and crossing Ayoloco glacier. Finally it leads up Arista del Sol to the 17,160-foot La Cabeza summit, an anticlimactic dome.
The route offers spectacular views of Mexico City and Puebla at night and of Popocatépetl, La Malinche, Pico de Orizaba, and Nevado de Toluca at daytime.

Iztaccíhuatl • Interactive Map

Iztaccíhuatl • Pictures

Iztaccíhuatl • Popocatépetl
Iztaccíhuatl • Paso de Cortés
Paso de Cortés
Iztaccíhuatl • Las Rodillas
Las Rodillas
Iztaccíhuatl • Ayoloco Glacier
Ayoloco Glacier
Iztaccíhuatl • Arista del Sol
Arista del Sol
Iztaccíhuatl • La Cabeza
La Cabeza
Iztaccíhuatl • View from Iztaccíhuatl
View from Iztaccíhuatl
Iztaccíhuatl • View from Iztaccíhuatl
View from Iztaccíhuatl
Iztaccíhuatl • View from Iztaccíhuatl
View from Iztaccíhuatl
See Also: Climbing & Mountaineering