• Citaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba)
  • 5636 m
  • Primary factor 4926 m
  • Saddle is 710 meter
  • Highest in Mexico
  • Climbed December 30 1978


How to get there: Citaltépetl is located between Mexico City and Veracruz. Our approach involved a public bus, a taxi (to Tlachichuca) and a jeep in that order. We barely made it from Mexico City to the mountain hut in one long day, travel may have improved since then. There was rockfall blocking the jeep road and we ended up hiking the last part of the road to the hut. The mountain hut (Piedra Grande Hut) is quite big, and a contrast to our feeling of being the only Europeans in Mexico. There were a surprising number of climbers from many nations at the hut when we arrived.
Route description: We started around 2am since some Swiss team had us wake up around 1am. This turned out to be way early with the result that we climbed too high too early and was hit hard by a very cold, strong wind just before sunset. The conditions depends on the snow. When we climbed the snow was near perfect, no need to use a rope, individual crampons and ice axe were quite adequate. We reached the summit quite early and by then the sun was warm(er) allowing us more than one hour at the top. We made it all the way back to Mexico City the same day, that is, a two day trip for the full climb.
Comments: This is a very nice, high climb. One can see the Gulf of Mexico from the summit. Being fairly isolated, the impression of being in an airplane looking down is perhaps the best way to describe the feeling one has at the top.
There seems to be considerable uncertainty with respect to the elevation of this peak. The peak is listed with elevation in the range from 5611 to 5700 meter according to different sources of information. Until more reliable information emerges I will list it at 5636 meter. Somebody with a GPS should be able to at least get a fairly accurate estimate, please email me.
I now have a report from 2007, where a GPS measurement showed 5643 m, fairly consistent with the 5636 m value. There are three saddles, two in northern British Columbia and one in the Yuon Territory, all close to 710 meter, more careful investigation is needed.