The legend of Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl

Yesterday my wife, Terry and I took a group of friends to climb Izta.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We climbed in snow almost the entire 10 hour hike to 16,033 feet, just below “the knees”.  It was a great adventure and challenge. Climbing a mountain is a colorful metaphor for life and leadership. I will post sometime about those lessons.  [You can read Terry’s lessons learned climbing a volcano]

For now, I wanted to share about a conversation we had on the way down about the legend of Izta and Popo.  I thought you might enjoy some Mexico history.

The shape and outline of Iztaccihuatl (Izta) volcano is that of a lady lying down.  This explains the references to parts of the body including “the knees”.  The volcano is commonly referred to as “the giant sleeping lady”.  The Indian legend is a love story with a tragic ending.  During the years of the Aztec empire, there lived the most beautiful of all princesses, Iztaccihuatl (Izta).   The brave Indian warrior, Popocatepetl (Popo) and the beautiful princess Izta were madly in love.  Popo agreed with her father, the chief, that he would marry the princess upon his victorious return from battle.  Another warrior, jealous at the love between Popo and Izta, fabricated a lie that Popo had been killed in battle.  Upon hearing this news, the devastated Izta took her own life.

After his return, Popo found his dead princess.  He wanted to honor her, so he built a chain of ten mountains and carried Izta in his arms to the top of the mountain and placed her in a tomb.  He kissed his love, and with a smoldering torch in hand knelt down at her feet to stand watch over her forever.  According to legend, this is the reason why Popo volcano is still active and spews forth smoke and fire today.

Our picture of Popo from yesterday.  It was more impressive hearing the rumble the entire day-sounded like a jet engine or roaring lion.  Impressive!



Here is Warner Cortez painting of Izta and Popo [Picture source:]





 Have you done anything challenging lately?

4 thoughts on “The legend of Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl

Add yours

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: