Last Missing Climber Found Dead on Mexican Volcano

Authorities have found the lifeless body of a climber missing on Orizaba since Feb. 17. Known only as Jose Luis N., he is the third fatality in a group of 12 stranded by bad weather on Mexico’s highest peak.

Search patrols found the body of the 57-year-old from Guadalajara yesterday at 4,910m on the south face of the mountain.

Last week (on Feb. 22), searchers had found his cell phone, but no trace of the man. A large number of people from different regional organizations have been searching the mountain non-stop, mainly on foot and with drones, the Civil Protection office of Puebla state reported.

A group of red cross volunteers and other rescuers looking at Orizaba in background.

Several groups had been intently looking for the missing climber. Photo: Puebla Civil Protection Corps


Jose Luis N. was part of a 12-member group that ventured up the south side of 5,636m Orizaba, despite forecasts of bad weather. Somehow, the group lost its way above 5,000m.

The climbers who made it back down on their own raised the alarm. Searchers found the body of one of them, Jessica N., the following day at 5,200m. A day later, they also found the lifeless body of the group’s guide, Luis Flores. The search was complicated because the group planned to descend via the north side of Orizaba, so they had to scour the entire mountain.

Too high to take lightly

rescuers surrounding something (out of sight) in a rocky place.

Rescuers retrieve the remains of the last climber on Orizaba. Photo: Puebla Civil Protection Corps


Before trekking up the 5,636m dormant volcano, acclimatization is mandatory. Climbers often go up nearby 4,461m Malinche to prepare.

Ascending Orizaba, also known as Citlaltépetl, involves no technical difficulty in good conditions, although the final, steep ramps can be dangerous if covered in hard snow or ice.

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.