Top Ten Less-Extreme Rock Climbing Routes

Jamapa Glacier, Mexico
By Cameron M. Burns

Jamapa Glacier: El Pico de Orizaba, Mexico

Although most of us think of margaritas, hot salsa, and warm beaches when the topic of Mexico comes up, Mexico is also the home of the third highest mountain in North America, El Pico de Orizaba.

Third only to 20,320-foot Denali (aka Mount McKinley) in Alaska, and 19,850-foot Mount Logan in the Canadian Yukon, El Pico de Orizaba is a magnificent section of the earth's crust, jutting almost 18,700 feet from the edge of the Gulf of Mexico into the skies over Veracruz.

While all three mountains are tall, it's the contrasts, rather than the few feet of altitude, that really separate Mexico's highest mountain from the other two peaks.

Denali and Logan are sought after by hard-core mountaineers and require pretty big wads of gear, money, and time to ascend. El Pico de Orizaba is relatively simple, and those with no mountaineering experience can easily get up the mountain given time and determination. The Jamapa Glacier is the most direct, and the easiest route to get you there.

Most important of all, perhaps, the views of Veracruz's beaches from the Jamapa Glacier will keep you motivated to get the mountain "done" fast, so you can focus on sun, sand, and margaritas.

Just the Facts

First ascent: American soldiers, 1848

Time required: 1 full day from the Octavio Alvarez Hut

Technical grade: Alpine Ice 2 (Steep hike)

References: Mexico's Volcanoes by R. J. Secor

Best Hotels in Mexico


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »