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The volcanoes of Mexico: Nevado de Toluco, 4600 m (December 1997)

Nevado de Toluco, looking down into the crater from around 4400 m. Cars at the lake.

In 1997 I was visiting Toluco for the weekend. Toluco is a typical Mexican town, not really suitable for tourist. The target was really the Nevado de Toluco, the 4600 m volcanoe, dominating the city. Popocat├ępetl was off limits due to recent activity so this would be a nice alternative.

We came by bus to the Toluco from Leon and thought a taxi could take us close to the crater. However, after being dropped off at the national park, the taxi refused to go further, we realized it was still 15 km to the crater along a dirt road.

The potential solution was obvious, hitch-hiking. Two families with two vans planning to pick-nick at the crater picked us up so we were lucky. The drive was slow, around one hour along a poor wobbly road so maybe the taxi driver was right.

We parked at the crater lake joining other pick-nicker at 400 m altitude. Here the air is very thin, and you get around two hours before realizing you develop high altitude sickness.

I just spent 4 weeks in Nepal climbing mountains of 5600 to 6200 m so I would be fine.

The crater rim is 400 to 600 m above the crater bottom and I quickly took off to go up. Two sons of the families that gave us a ride followed arriving at the top totally out of breath.

Boys going up.

The crater rim

From the crater ridge you have a view at the Mexico City valley, some 90 km to the North. Not surprising, the valley is filled with a yellow haze, smog.

The families were happy to see their sons joined me on the crater rim. We had a good pcik-nick but ohere my brother developed high altitude sickness. He was happy to be down one hour later.

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Nevado de Toluco, 4700 m high volcanoe. With Aztek temples from the 15th century in the foreground.


December 1997

Nevado de Toluco, 4700 m high volcanoe, satelite image. After Google Earth.



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