A series of random events, and a fair amount of effort, landed me on the summit of Mont Blanc. Struggling with a long-term, long-distance relationship and finding myself in northern Italy, where the girl was from, I decided to take advantage of one of our romantic interludes by bagging Western Europe's highest summit.

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Pico de Orizaba marks the high point of Mexico at an altitude of 18,491'. The peak seemed like a logical progression from my previous high of 15,774' on Mont Blanc and a worthy testing ground for higher elevations. I was curious to know my body's reaction to the thinner air, and more importantly, to find out if I'd have any adverse reactions to it. Truth be told, reaching the summit of Pico de Orizaba was…

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