This Lux Adventure was to Pico de Orizaba, a stratovolcano, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America, after Denali (formerly known as Mt McKinley) of the United States and Mount Logan of Canada. It rises 18,491 ft above sea level in the eastern end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla. The volcano is currently dormant but not extinct, with the last eruption taking place during the 19th century. It is the second most prominent volcanic peak in the world after Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro.
Pico de Orizaba is one of only three volcanoes in Mexico that have glaciers and is home to the largest glacier in Mexico, Gran Glaciar Norte. The climate of Pico de Orizaba, like the Sierra Madre Oriental, varies greatly due to the change of elevation and prevailing winds. Due to the latitude and the extreme rugged terrain the volcano experiences many microclimates.
Pico de Orizaba was important in pre-Hispanic cultures, such as those of the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs and the Totonacs. The volcano is part of many native mythologies. In ancient Olmec mythology, Orizaba was an eagle spirit that formed the volcano. The Olmec believed that they were to hike and pray to the god at the zenith of the volcano on a continuous basis to prevent the god from getting upset and erupting in fury.
Pico de Orizaba attracts a large number of international trekkers every year. There are many routes for approaching and climbing the volcano, and many people attempt it, mostly during the period from October to March.