Four Dead on Mexico’s Highest Peak

On August 20, a fall killed four people climbing Citlatepetl Orizaba (5,636m), Mexico’s highest peak. The climbers were roped together above 5,000m on the volcano’s south side when one of them fell and dragged the other three from the mountain.

Puebla’s regional government confirmed that all four climbers were Mexicans and belonged to the same group.

Peak of the star

Orizaba is an active volcano located in the eastern Sierra Madre range, between the Veracruz and Puebla regions. It is the third-highest peak in North America after Denali and Mount Logan, and is the seventh most prominent peak on Earth, according to Wikipedia.

Orizaba’s original Nahuatl (an indigenous language) name is Citlatepetl, which can be roughly translated as “peak of the star”. You can see Venus above the summit in autumn and winter from the village of Coscomatepec, on the eastern side of the mountain.

Citlatepetl's south side.

Citlatepetl Orizaba’s south side. Photo: Wikipedia


Orizaba is a pretty straightforward ascent, usually done in two days, but it does come with some risks. Snow covers the summit area all year and, while not technically difficult, Orizaba requires caution, especially above 5,000m on glacial terrain up to 35º, according to Summit Post.

Orizaba’s high season is typically during the dry season between November and March, but there are ascents all year. The normal route on Orizaba goes up the north side of the mountain, up the Jamapa glacier. Once one of 14, Jamapa is the last remaining glacier on the peak.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.