Top 10 Mountains to Climb


Citlaltepetl and Iztaccihuatl

Citlaltepetl, also known as Pico de Orizaba, is Mexico's tallest mountain.
Citlaltepetl, also known as Pico de Orizaba, is Mexico's tallest mountain.
Mark D Callanan/Getty Images

If you're looking for a couple of tall mountains to climb that are closer to the states, then travel to Mexico where two extinct volcanoes, Citlaltepetl and Iztaccihuatl, tower over the countryside. With an elevation of 18,405 feet (5,610 meters) and 17,159 feet (5,230 meters) respectively, Citlaltepetl, located between Puebla and Veracruz, and Iztaccihuatl, southwest of Mexico City, require climbers to have strong mountaineering skills. The best time to climb either is from October to April, otherwise conditions will be more extreme than at any other time. The key to climbing both peaks is to be acclimatized to the high altitude, which generally takes two to three days [source: Mexico Extreme].

Citlaltepetl is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America. Iztaccihuatl is the third highest in Mexico and the seventh highest on the continent [source: International Mountain Adventure]. In November 2009, blind climber Erik Weihenmayer and a group of blind children climbed Iztaccihuatl. If you're going to take the standard route up Iztaccihuatl, it is best to bring a backpack, gloves, mountain boots, warm socks and other typical gear.

There are several vertical ice walls created by glaciers, which should make ice climbers melt. At base camp you can find food stands and a market where you can buy climbing gear. The main route up Iztaccihuatl is the La Arista del Sol, or the Ridge of the Sun. The route is relatively easy, although if you're not acclimatized you might suffer from altitude sickness.