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On the 23rd of September 2006 I landed in Mexico City.  This enormous city of 20 mln people turned out to be quite safe and friendly.  From the very beginning everyone I met did his best to help me with anything I decided to do.  


Only 50km from Mexico City, Teotihuacan contains some of the most remarkable relics of an ancient civilization in the world.  Dating from around 300BC-AD600, it was a city of up to 250,000 people.  It's influence spread throughout the Maya region, even as far as todays Guatemala.
The site contains a huge amount of ruins and 2 pyramids.  It's connected by Avenue of the Dead, which runs 4km from one end to another.  The higher of two pyramids is the Pyramid of the Sun.  At 64m, it's the 3rd highest in the World.  Steep steps lead all the way to the top, from where a magnificent panorama stretches for miles in all directions.  At the end of Avenue of the Dead stands Pyramid of the Moon.  Although only half the size of the Pyramid of the Sun, it's equally impressive.  Again stairs lead to the summit, with great views of the Avenue of the Dead, with many plazas and temples on both sides.
Next to the Pyramid of the Moon stands the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, where priests serving the sanctuaries lived.  It has been restored together with beautifully decorated pillars.
In the 7th century Teotihuacan was ravaged by fire and abandoned by it's inhabitants.


After a week in Mexico City, I decided it was time to climb a mountain.  My choice was Iztaccihuatl,5286m.  It's close to the city and provides great views of Popocatepatl, an active volcano closed to climbers.  
I hired crampons and hitch-hiked to La Joya, where a well-trodden path begins.  After 3.5 hours I arrived in the mountain hut at 4800m.  It has capacity of 24 people, but before darkness it was full.  Someone brought  a bottle of Tequila and the atmosphere quickly became friendly.  As the only foreigner I found myself in the center of attention.  It was a great evening but we had to get some sleep before the climb.  Because of the altitude, I only managed 1 hour.  A headache reminded me that I was not acclimatized.
At 4.30am 6 of us left the hut.  Everything became white, covered in snow that fell overnight.  After 1/2 hour 3 guys went back because one of them didn't feel well.  We carried on until clouds arrived and the other 2 guys decided also not to risk it and went back.  I stayed near the ridge waiting for the sunrise.  I was hoping the clouds would go away, and they did.  I was rewarded with a beautiful view of the smoking Popocatepatl in the morning sun.

I went back to the hut and had breakfast, in the meantime a few groups started climbing up the ridge.  I followed them to the top, 5000m, where ruins of Luis Menendes hut remain in place despite harsh conditions.  The clouds stayed low and I decided to try and reach the highest point of Iztaccihuatl called Los Pechos.  I got to the next summit and the clouds closed in.  I had to wait 10 min before I saw the next mountain.  I took a bearing with my compass and descended steep snow onto the glacier.  It was quite flat and I only found 1 crevasse.  I followed the ridge up 2 more summits before I saw Los Pechos.  I was exhausted but I had to carry on.

I struggled up some rocks and finally I arrived at the top, 5286m.  Popocatepetl rumbled and a huge mushroom of dark smoke shot up from it's crater.   Clouds closed in again and I had to retrace my steps to find the way back.  I didn't feel well, I was drinking a lot but the headache refused to go away.  I saw someone walking towards me, I even heard voices.  But it turned out to be a rock.  Lack of sleep was taking it's toll.  When I finally made it back to the hut, I just lied down and felt very happy.  I had my photos and I climbed all the way to the top when others gave up.   photos