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MIT Student Killed In Climbing Mishap

By Frank Dabek

The body of Irina Libova, a graduate student in the Department of Biology, was found on the slopes of a Mexican mountain this Sunday.

Libova was reported lost on the 28th of December and apparently was killed in a fall while climbing Pico de Orizaba, a dormant volcano in south-central Mexico, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert M. Randolph confirmed. She was 23 years old.

Randolph said that Libova and five others were engaged in “technical climbing that wasn’t supposed to be dangerous.” He said that all of the information in his possession indicated that the death was a climbing accident.

According to a message sent to the MIT Outing Club mailing list, Libova, a member of MITOC, was among three killed on the mountain from the party of six climbers. The other two dead, Vladimir Smirnov and Ilya Krasik, were apparently not affiliated with MIT. Smirnov, 29, was Libova’s fiancee.

MITOC President Michael J. Freedman said that the expedition was not sponsored by the group.

The message said that the six climbers reached the summit and that three were killed in a fall of approximately 50m while returning to their camp.

Pica de Orizaba, also known as CitlaltÉpetl, stands 18,406 feet above sea level and is the third tallest mountain in North America. The mountain is a popular destination for intermediate climbers and was first climbed in 1848.