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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/539

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AN ASCENT OF MT. ORIZABA.

its outline, gives it a dazzling splendor—a crown of glory worn only by the kings among mountains.

For five hours we plodded upward through the snow. With woolen socks pulled partly over the shoes so as to leave the rubber heels exposed, I found it easy to walk up the steep smooth slopes which held the feet almost like sandpaper. But my guide's wide sandals could not hold to the snow, consequently he had to cut steps. When he became exhausted I took his place, and thus we alternated. Exertion at that altitude is difficult. At the cave to roll over on a blanket and pull it over the shoulder almost makes one pant. 'And to pull the blanket over both shoulders would make a pair of pants, I suppose,' said my hostess at a dinner party a few months later, when the story was being related.

PSM V61 D539 Mount orizaba snow cap seen from 12000 feet elevation.png

Fig. 5. Mount Orizaba from 12,000 ft. Elevation. Snow extending down to the 15,000 ft. Line.

During the ascent of mountains up to fourteen thousand feet in height heretofore mountain sickness has not caused me much annoyance. But for the last three thousand feet of the ascent of Orizaba, headache, pain at the top of the spinal cord, rapid beating of the heart, shortness of breath, inability to eat even a cracker or chocolate, general discomfort nearly destroyed all pleasure. I have never noticed the popularly reported tendency to bleeding at the nose and ears. Olives and lemon juice were the only things I could swallow. This mal de montagne was less severe when clouds obscured the sun than when the glare was brightest, and less noticeable when we were in hollows than when we