Adrenaline Junkies: Climbing Volcano “La Malinche” (4,420m)

Adrenaline Junkies: This part of our blog offers you our stories of adventure in Central and South America, whose countries are famous for outdoor sports and incredibly beautiful nature. A paradise for adrenaline junkies and people who enjoy the outdoors. We write about snowboarding down volcanoes, paragliding over mountain lakes, diving barrier reefs, alpine climbing, cloud forest hiking, birdwatching, white water rafting and crossing famous mountain ranges and remote jungle on a mountainbike. Enjoy the read!

La Malinche, Puebla, Mexico
In wintertime, when there is no smog in the air, two famous volcanoes tower visibly over Mexico City and Puebla de Zaragoza: Popocatépetl en Itzaccihuatl. Opposite these giants, the fifth highest peak of Mexico stretches proudly into the skies. She is called La Malinche, after the first Mayan translator offering her services to the Spanish inquisition. Two adrenaline junkies leave on foot to conquer her peak (4,420m). Just 400 meters lower than the highest European summit Mt Blanc (4,810m). We don’t really think Russia is part of Europe, so we don’t count the Elbrus (5,642m). 😉

The hike
Leaving the city of Puebla de Zaragoza (2,100m) early in the morning, around 7am , we drove up to the starting point of our summit attempt at around 3,000m altitude in the beautiful national park that protects this area. When exiting the car, instantly the changed pressure and lower oxygen are felt in the lungs. Especially Diana has to be careful with that, due to a previous infection of the lungs that made her vulnerable to high altitude, less oxygen situations. Nevertheless, we decided to start the hike and slowly walked up, through dense pine-forest to the tree edge. From there we could see the summit of La Malinche slowly coming closer. During an intensive hike up, we drink lots of water, however an growing painful headache cannot be stopped. A six our hike to the top, of which the last part, called ‘La Rampa’, the ramp is very steep. We walk a few steps, stop a few minutes to catch our breath. When we would be acclimatised to the altitude, this would not have been such a feat. There is few snow and ice for the time of year and we are lucky because we are not dressed for cold weather.

The adrenaline
The view into the valley that connects Puebla and Mexico City is overwhelmingly beautiful. We have sat and enjoyed this view for about half an hour before returning the 4 hour hike back to the starting point. The adrenaline of the climb slowly wears off and after a 10-hour hike, 2,500 altitude meters and big blisters on our feet, we are exhausted. Sore lungs, sore throat, coughing, headache and sore muscles. We needed to recover from this little trip for over a week and it has taught us to be better prepared when having such an adventure in the mountains. However the rush of being able to push your physical limits and do stuff like this, is what makes us adrenaline junkies. We LOVE it!

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