Climbing Popocatepetl - Sunday Dec 7, 1941

old photo book cover

old photo book cover

Esperanza takes Henry along on a club trip up the mountain, and Henry takes a camera. Popocatepetl (5426m - 17,802 ft) is the second highest mountain in Mexico, an active volcano. The date Henry wrote on the booklet is not quite right. In his journal, he wrote the trip took place on Sat. Dec 6 and Sunday, Dec 7, 1941. On return to Mexico City, the papers had an extra edition on the streets - "War in Pacific" - Pearl Harbor day.

Henry sent this little photo booklet home to his parents. Its missing the first two pictures. The original pictures are only 1.5 x 2.5 inches. His commentary is on the back of each picture.

popo
III - leaving Amecameca travel by bus as far up as possible -
Popocatepetl "smoking mountain" in the background
popo
IV - we've just reached snow line - are putting on spikes.
Sun is just gilding the breast of Ixta -
not later than 6:15 AM
popo
V - a few minutes of rest
Sun hasn't risen high enough to strike us. Will use sunglasses then.
In '41 Esperanza cimbed El Nevado, Ixta 2 times, Popo 3 times, and Pico de Orizaba (worst imaginable)
popo
VI - we've been in the snow about an hour
Ixta still back there and 6 or 7 hours of snow still ahead
popo
VII - This is what makes a man of you - (or maybe a corpse)
Esperanza is almost a man. She has been doing this a long time.
I have a terrible headache.
popo
VIII - facing the sun now so we're walking in a little hollow.
plenty warm already but wind may start so haven't shed the clothes
after 10 minutes of this everyone is dog tired and out of breath.
popo
IX - over on the right is a sharp precipice.
The picture is no good - over exposed but this is a very cheap little kodak I borrowed. only 2 exposures possible 1/25 and time. no filter.
boy is carrying club banner.
cloud bank hides country side.
popo
X - 6 groups are climbing - our club is much the largest - 85 going up.
These fellows - without guide - walked about 2 miles out of their way.
popo
XI - Felipe - a refugee from Spain
stopping to wipe sweat from his face and glasses
yes you sweat and puff only those with good lungs can make it.
popo
XII - It won't be long now. That's not the edge of the world - It's just the slope you climb to get on top.
Only a few hours of this loose snow 2 feet deep in places
popo
XIII - Well boys here we are. That's it. The crater - and its only 1 P.M. The fast boys made it up in 7 1/2 hours.
Others will be straggling up for 2 more hours.
It won't take those fellows yonder more than 3 or 4 hours to walk around the crater - see them there
popo
XIV - at the crater's lip. smell that sulfur - just like rotten eggs.
I feel so sick I could vomit. in fact I'm going to vomit.
It's the altitude. If I weren't so tired I could enjoy the scenery.
popo
XV - Yep - you're pretty close to God here - and it does look beautiful. Just see those brilliant reds and yellows in the crater's rim.
Hear the rocks crashing down every few minutes. Popo isn't dead, even if I am almost.
popo
XVI - It's getting late - so we're starting down again. It's so high everyone feels sick. First time in 3 years I've vomited and I've eaten nothing but 4 lemons since supper last night.
Is my head going round?
popo
XVII - Yessir, I was one of the 1st 4 of our group to reach the top - and here I'm first one at the bottom.
Just sit on the snow and slide - it's easy that way.
The picture is pretty good too - this and no's XIV and XV
popo
XVIII - I was kidding you in XVII. We still have 45 minutes of snow but here we are out of it at last and taking off our spikes.
You can't imagine how tired I am. But I'm not hungry. I just want to rest.
popo
XIX - Down near camp. Just another gang coming back that were training. They'll be going up next Sunday.
To me it's work, but if they like it - let them have their fun.
popo
XX - That's all there is folks. Sun is going down and we are getting in the buses.
Popo is still there behind the trees waiting for you to climb him. Let me know when you're coming - I'll be seeing you.