Popocatépetl Climber's Log

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dptrs141 - Nov 4, 2018 3:50 am Date Climbed: Dec 10, 1976

popocatepetl   Sucess!

Just out of nostalgia, I would like to know what happened to the two fellows I climbed with that day. (No sure of the exact date, but it was mid month) I know the German was Klaus, but I've forgotten the Austrian fellow's name. I'll upload a picture of him and myself that Klaus took at the crater, if anyone is interested.

Klaus put crampons over his tennis shoes, I at least had decent boots under mine. We went from the lodge to the summit all in one day. At the summit a blinding blizzard came in. We teamed up with a group that knew what they were doing and we were able to descend. If not for that guide, I wouldn't be writing this.
Dave P.


wdimpfl - Dec 27, 2017 3:47 am Date Climbed: Dec 27, 1969

Direct NW Slope Glacier Route  Sucess!

Will Spiegelman, Urs Kuhnlein, and I flew to Mexico City in December 1969 to climb the Mexican Volcanos. After climbing Pico de Orizaba we took the bus to the lodge at the saddle between Popo and ixta. We chose to stay at the lodge for a day to acclimatize better as we felt that we had rushed our ascent of Orizaba too rapidly. The next morning a fire had broken out in the shrubbery near the lodge and we worked in vain to help control the burning. The next morning we started out on the NE ridge along with another party" Sibylle Hechtel and her partner, Ben. As we ascended the ridge toward a hut Will and Ben started to feel ill and decided to not continue. Sibylle joined us and tied into our rope as we climbed on to the glacier. We passed to the right of large crevasses on the relatively smooth glacier. After summiting we descended by the standard route (a trail with switchbacks down the north slope.


Wallylongridge - Apr 11, 2014 8:29 pm

Las Cruces  Sucess!

i did this peak along with Orizaba & Iztaccihuatl. A great trip!

jsk8 - Feb 18, 2013 1:03 am Date Climbed: Feb 19, 2003

snowboard descent  Sucess!

descended on snowboard from lowest part of crater. took 6 hours to get there including the pre-dawn drive from Mexico City, for 6 minutes of fast descent. Snow was soft enough to be safe, but still pretty firm. Too bad Popo is active and inaccessible now.


jmarkham - Nov 14, 2012 3:28 pm

Popocatepetl  Sucess!

First time at altitude I thought who in their right mind would continue, especially when I hit the sulphur cloud at the rim! My experienced friend convinced me to continue and I learned to slow down and hyperventilate. Did fine but could not breath my way out of a fierce headache that started about 3/4 way down the decent. It was so bad I ran down the rest of the way to the lodge and without any other options I quickly popped two asprin and downed a beer. Maybe not wise but it worked immediately. Beautiful crater and awsome to be so near a live volcano.


Faster - Feb 28, 2011 2:45 pm Date Climbed: Dec 28, 1982

Standard  Sucess!

Long drive from Texas to Popo, climbed the next day, killer headache! No money those were the days!


markhallam - Dec 29, 2010 12:37 pm Date Climbed: Oct 1, 1990

Normal route  Sucess!

Not sure of the exact date, but it was around october when I climbed Popo via the ordinary route. A long plod - in cloud at crator rim - but then clouds parted to reveal a great view at the summit.


Snowslogger - Dec 30, 2009 3:56 pm Date Climbed: Dec 17, 1982

Scree scree and more scree  Sucess!

Between a cold, altitude, and scree this was a true suffer-fest, but made up.


TripoliRick - Jul 2, 2008 2:33 am Date Climbed: Dec 18, 1989

First of the Big 3

What a beautiful country! Had no idea the mountain was covered in pine trees. On the way up with Bill Hooks and Greg Schnieder we met some locals who had made their own "ice axe" and crampons on a forge...looked like they weighed in at 5 pounds each. Summit was great as was the crater being a geologist that has been to several active volcanoes. Since the recent eruptions, I have been wanting to go back. Basically, a long walk up at elevation.


StumblingBear - May 20, 2008 9:12 pm Date Climbed: Nov 19, 1973

Poor Mans Nepal  Sucess!

First out of country and high altitude climb. Was great trip all around. We were to climb Ixta but weather went bad so we headed for Orizaba. See Article: "Uncertain Traveler" about Popo climb and some other views.


snowflake - Mar 21, 2008 3:47 pm

Las Cruces  Sucess!

A whole lot of fun. Had climbed it in March 1987 and was good to get back. Hope the mountain stops stinking so we can do it again.

itmediaguru - Sep 6, 2007 4:02 pm Date Climbed: Jan 7, 1998

Popocatepetl  Sucess!

Date submitted: 2000-09-19
Date(s) climbed: summitted to the crater around January 7 1988
Hiking up to the crater of Popocatepetl
Signed By: Heinrich Geisler (Bairawies/Dietramszell, Bayern/Bavaria Germany)
New version 12.2.06 submitted from Königs Wusterhausen.

I came to the lodge from Mexico City by bus, then by taxi in the afternoon Jan., 6th 1988. At the lodge I lent shoes, an anorac, woolen gloves and a woolen cap. At first I tried to join an American hiking group – a guy and 2 women who had a very good hiking equipment. He asked me at first about my physical shape jogging skills as well as experiences climbing on mountains. At that time I used to jog around Außenalster Hamburg a distance of about 7.8 km in 45 minutes. He declared he would have to talk to his group. After some time he told me in a rather cool way “we are not willing to take the responsibility for a person who we don’t know.” My next step was contacting 2 young guys from Switzerland – about 22/23 years old and a German from Würzburg. Furthermore there was an American in his thirties who had come up to the hut with his wife in his own car.
Around midnight a woman started crying so loudly that everybody could hear it in the lodge. It was the wife of the American, the member of our group! His wife suffered from altitude sickness [med.] (mountain sickness). He had to take his wife into his car and bring her down to a lower altitude. I never heard of him again any more. I didn’t sleep at all during that night. All the time people were talking, getting up, packing their backpack for the hike. Some started their trip at 1 o’clock at night. Our group, the 4 of us, started to hike up at 3 in the morning after I had not slept a minute that night. During that night an American dropped out of our team, as his wife got " altitude sickness " and started crying loudly that night. He had to take her in their car and bring her down to a lower elevation. We started in a group of four: 2 Swiss guys around 22/23 years old - real mountain goats from Saas Fee?. A German from Würzburg (K. or R. Brückner, Scheffelstr. 5, 8700 Würzburg, Germany) around 32 and me from Germany, Hamburg then, aged 44. Before that tour I had hiked up to the Olympus, Greece and peaks in Wallis, Switzerland little higher then 3,000 m ( 9.000 ft.) It was a clear light night and we started the hike, that seemed to be all so easy. After about an hour of walking I felt that I could not keep up to the pace of the 2 swiss guys. They simply walked up faster and almost didn't say a word to us two remaining guys of the group. After another maybe half an hour the other German told me, he would like to walk faster than me. After about two hours after the start our group broke up totally. Walking further up the temperature fell further - I had no thermometer or an elevation meter with me - The coldness found it's way all through my clothes (not very professional) and I had a sensation of a very cold temperature like I had never experienced before in my life. The fact also that there was nobody around to talk to gave me a sensation of loneliness. My feet would slide down also a bit at every step that I did in the vulcano lava - ash grey brownish soil - all along the serpentines that went up slowly. I had a feeling of desperation and thought for some time to walk back to the lodge. As dawn was coming up slowly - the daylight - like a promise my mood lightened up, although the temperature seemed to sink as I walked further up. When the sun finally peeked over the horizon the most magnificent view came to my eyes. The sister mountain Iztaccíhuatl (Ixta) seemed to be quite close in the dry clear air. Looking towards Mexico City a huge layer of dark polluted air covered up everything, so not even one major building of Mexico City could be seen from a distance of about 60/70 km. Very far away probably the peak of Mexico's highest peak was visible - over a layer of morning mist or clouds. Walking up further oxygen supply became a real problem. I was able to do only three steps and breathed as heavily as if I had run 400 m. So I made my three steps, breathed deeply until the rhythm of breathing came down to normal and continued walking. Like this I walked up very very slowly but constantly. During the whole hike up maybe 3 or 4 people walked past me. But I watched also people who gave up walking up only 150 m /200 m underneath the crater. During the hike up to the crater, I walked through the vulcano ash pathes all the time, only just underneath the crater I saw a major snow field, that I did not have to pass. I reached the crater at 11:30 A.M - hence 8 1/2 hours since we started from the lodge at 3:00 A.M. In fact I was not tired, but on the hike up sulphur gaz came out of the mountain. The crater itself is simply gigantic - one of the big impressions of nature in my life. I could see the path along the crater up to the peak and observed people on the way further up and also coming down. Incidentally the German (K? –R? Brückner – he sent me his fotos from Popo but I lost his address) with whom I had started the tour already came down from the peak of Popocatepetl and we both took fotos from one another. I would have continued to the peak - but 3 reasons kept me away from hiking up further: 1. I was alone, 2. I might have gotten into trouble if I would have come into a bubble of sulphur gaz or sliding on the ice / snow that I could see on the path further up. 3. I had no idea how much time I needed to walk down. So I decided to walk down which I did in big big steps. I felt like the first man on the moon, making big jumps but breathed heavily too on the walk, sometimes run down. Also the panoramic views on the walk down are breathtaking, but I walked very quickly. I guess it took me 3 hours back to the lodge where I gave back my rented "equipment" (clothes und shoes). Then I took again a cab to the bus station and a bus back to Mexico City. I reached Mexico City at night. Hence I have made this tour from 2,200 m elevation Mexico City to the crater 5,250 m (Popo) in just 2 days taking no time of acclimatization. It seems my shape was quite good then. But I would not recommend to do what I did, as I made that experience with that woman, who got a lot of pain from " altitude sickness " and doctors and experts would make specific recommendations according to the physical shape of hikers. The hike up was a highlight of my life. In fact I considered it as the hardest physical challenge and the most beautiful days in my life. Maybe there is a secret about it: Taking up a physical challenge, overcoming the obstacles and enjoying the beauty of a landscape are linked together? I have made that experience many times hiking up smaller peaks in the European Alps....


mikewood - Aug 19, 2007 11:47 am Date Climbed: Nov 11, 1993

Popo Speed Ascent  Sucess!

Always wondered where to post this and i guess this would be the best place. On wednesday november 10th, 1993 I left Houston (sea level) at 4:00PM. I flew into Mexico City and joined my partner Jose Delvechio who had been there for a week. Spent wednesday night at the lodge at Tlamacas and summited Popo on thursday, november 11th at 4:00pm via the el ventorillo route. I would like to know if anyone has beaten this sea level to 17,887' summit in less than 24 hours record. This was a non diamox ascent and was to the older higher summit prior to the eruptions of the last few years.

highice - Feb 1, 2007 5:50 pm

no summit for ego

my first year of climbing and here I was w/ a sick buddy.No technical ascent today, so I go it alone on the standard route. Turned white-out, but I went on. I used navigational gear the entire way and came 300 ft short of the top. Here I met a guided group of Rainier Gds. who were aborting the attempt. Covered in rime ice, with Water bottles frozen so unable to drink all day, I decided to go down as well. My ego was hurt, but I think it needed to experience a little hurt. Nature needed to remind me that she still (and always) has the upper hand in this game.


phydeux - Oct 7, 2006 5:10 pm

1st peak outside the USA  Sucess!

Did this with a college friend who lived in Puebla. My first high climb outside the USA, and the start of my sorrid history of wandering up-and-down peaks all over the Western Hemisphere.


ElCapitanKoolAid - May 22, 2006 3:45 am

My first high peak  Sucess!

My appetite for big mountains revealed itself right here and is still a hunger that's not extinguished.


wingedfeet - May 20, 2005 1:01 pm

Route Climbed: Las Cruces, La Central Date Climbed: 80'  Sucess!

Popocatepetl was the first mountain I summited.

Thanks to Carlos Kaneo Noda for introducing me to the sport. At that time the ruins of the "refugio" were still somehow usable, and we slept there.

Later on I joined "El Grupo de Alta Montana" de la Universidad de Puebla and visited el Popo many times.

tuan walter

tuan walter - May 13, 2004 5:19 pm

Route Climbed: Standard Route - Date Climbed: April 1983

We walked up to the rim of the crater and got a very good view into the crater. If the Swiss guy (Daniel?) I did the climb with happens to be around on SP, please reply.

mtnfoto - Jan 23, 2004 3:49 pm

Route Climbed: Regular Route Date Climbed: Dec 1976 and Feb 1993  Sucess!

"I dont know where I'm a-gonna go when the volcano blows....!" I remember the hut being a lot cleaner the first time I was there.

Nyle Walton

Nyle Walton - Nov 17, 2003 11:31 am

Route Climbed: Las Cruces from Tlamacas before lodge was built. Dates Climbed: December, 1952, November and December, 1956, May, 1964

I'll bet my ascents of Popo predate all of the others registered in this summit log. I first became interested in Popocatepetl when I read Richard Halliburton's New Worlds to Conquer back in 1948. My first attempt to climb the volcano was in October, 1951, during my first trip to Mexico at age 17. My Swiss companion, Willy Chartems, and I got lost on a rainy night and shivered through some wet frigid hours sitting on an ashen slope at 14,000 feet. Before dawn we retreated to a log cabin in the forest and got some sleep. We were in no condition to attempt toa climb the colossal ice cream sundae that day.

I returned to Mexico City in December, 1952, with my old high school chum, Ronald Davis. On Christmas Day, we took a bus to Amecameca and hired a car to take us up through the forest to Paso Cortez and hence to Rancho Tlamacas. We spread our sleeping bags on the ash and slept until dawn, then slogged our way uphill and cramponed up the endless ice-covered snow for six hours to collapse on the lower lip of Popo's crater. I wrote an article about the climb that appeared in Travel Magazine the following year (1953).

Four years later while I was a student at Mexico City College on the GI Bill, I made it to Popo's crater twice more. The second time I had the energy to hike around the crater to Popo's highest point with Bob Dukes, a former tailgunner on a B-29 that bombed Tokyo. He got there before I did. As I ascended the final slope, I snapped a picture of Bob squatting with his pants down beside the metal cross, mooning at the sky as he executed the highest defication in Mexico.

The last time I climbed Popocatepetl was in May of 1964 with Polly, one of Bob's old girl friends and an attractive redhead. For hours we struggled up loose snow slopes which was underlayered with hard slippery ice. We barely made it to the lower lip of the crater. I was thoroughly spent. I haven't tried to climb Popo since then.

In January 1990 Phyllis McDonald and I drove her Lincoln Mark VII uphill to the Tlamacas Lodge at the tree-line above 12,000 feet. The lodge was new to me. It had not been there during my previous ascents of the volcano. With a restaurant and sleeping quarters, it revealed to me just how popular Popo-climbing had become since 1964. I feel fortunate that Popocatepetl did not become violent and dangerous until some thirty years after my last encounter with the "Smoking Mountain." I wonder how the lodge has held up since Popo became eruptive in the early 1990s. I understand that the lodge has been destroyed. Can anyone clarify this assumption?

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