Popocatépetl: Respect The Radius, ¡Por Favor!


Some young people climbed up to the crater earlier this week. Don Goyo did not kill them. Of course I’m not going to link to their video of the exploit, though I appreciate the human success of the climb and the spirit in which it was made.

It was still stupid.

I’ve seen other videos; one from years ago, when the volcano was quieter but still active. No point in linking that one, nor to the one made by some people who did get killed up there.

I can’t, in all honesty, suggest these recent mountaineers are possible Darwin Award candidates – humanity is around today because we do these types of things, especially our young adults. But I cannot praise it, because I would feel like an accomplice to the inevitable deaths and maimings.

CENAPRED knows who they are, per the news story linked above (in English, via Google Translate). Besides counseling, I would suggest that they, and others who might be inclined to do something similar, be required to read Surviving Galeras, by Dr. Stanley Williams. It’s an account of a really bad day at another Latin American volcano, when volcanologists were caught in the crater during an explosion.

The Mexican climbers should read it as part of the transition to adulthood.

Yes, we admire your spirit. But there is a future, and it depends on what you do now, during a time when it seems as though you are both invulnerable and immortal.

We would like to share that future with you. Please join us there, as strong and healthy as you possibly be.

Please. Respect the safety radius.



This also happened earlier in the month.



Featured image: Popo’s crater when it was safer to approach, in 1971, 23 years before the volcano woke up. Mike McWherter via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0.

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