What is the tallest volcano in North America?
And the answer is: Pico de Orizaba.
At approximately 5500 meters and located on the border of the states of Veracruz and Puebla in Mexico, the Pico de Orizaba is Mexico's highest peak and the highest volcano in North America. Also known as Citlaltépetl, which means Star Mountain in Nahuatl, it has been inactive since the 19th century.
Not far from Mexico City, Pico de Orizaba is a popular climbing spot for locals and ambitious visitors. However, it's no walk in the park— Pico de Orizaba is a massive, dormant volcano that requires technical skill (including the use of an ice axe, crampons and climbing rope) to conquer. Oftentimes, climbers will help acclimate themselves to the thin air of Pico de Orizaba by first climbing other peaks in in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.
Climbers have been looking to scale Pico de Orizaba's impressive face since early the 19th century. In 1838, European Botanists Henri Galeotti, Nicolas Funck, Jean-Jules Linden, and Augusto Ghiesbreght made the 1st ascent of Pico de Orizaba, while the first successful summit occurred ten years later. In the days of early climbing, the equipment available for mountaineers was far more scarce and unreliable, making those who accomplished the feat instant local and international celebrities. However, due to Pico de Orizaba's relative ease as compared to other massive world peaks, many climbers began to flock to the mountain after the peak was first summited. Today, Pico de Orizaba is a popular destination for climbers looking to begin their experience at high altitude.
Learn more about Pico de Orizaba's history and prominence here.