American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mexico, Popocatepetl Volcano (17,887 ft.)

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1951

Mexico: (3) Popocatepetl volcano. On 15 October 1950 two deaths and 10 serious and several hundred minor accidents occurred to mountain enthusiasts who had turned out for the celebration of the International Mountain Climbers Fraternity. This was to include a religious ceremony blessing the banners of mountaineering clubs in North and South America and Europe. A blinding snow storm hit the upper portion of the peak so that a general warning was issued that the climb should not be undertaken. In spite of the fact that ice was even then forming on the cars in which the celebrants had come, some hundreds of persons started out to make the ascent. The priest failed to arrive at the summit to conduct the mass although several other climbers made it. Two deaths occurred in one of the accidents on the climb. A girl slipped and slid down a snow slope. A young man who advanced across the slope in an effort to halt her was struck by her falling weight, lost his own balance, and then both of them went over a 600-foot precipice to their deaths.

Source of information: Associated Press account.

Analysis: This is another case of too many inexperienced and unroped persons on the same mountain at the same time.

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