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Entries from Mexico

Mexico Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Enjoy Last Team Breakfast, Conclude Trip

The team met for one last breakfast this morning. Recalling our climb of Pico de Orizaba and our other exploits from the trip while laughing and drinking coffee. Only 24 hours ago we were standing at the summit and oh what a difference a day makes. It’s a great way to end a great trip and seems like yesterday that we met up in Mexico City as strangers. I’m impressed and proud of this group on and off the mountain. I look forward to climbing with each and every one of them in the future, but for now, we’re excited to get back to our families and friends. This is the RMI Mexico team signing off for the last time of the trip and season.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Mexico Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Summit El Pico de Orizaba

100% team success on Pico de Orizaba!! We really had to dig deep for this one, but the months of training, hard work, and discipline landed us on top of the third tallest peak in North America today.
From Piedra Grande we head straight up an old aqueduct turned trail with loose rock and scree covering the winding trail. Ixta had us prepared for this though and the team made short work of the trail and up to the base of a feature called the Labyrinth. True to its name it’s a winding maze like feature made of rock that ascending teams must scramble and navigate in order to gain access to the glacier above. Once there, the never ending descending escalator begins. It takes us about three and half hours to climb from base to top. With no good place to take a break, it’s certainly a marathon. The team dug deep, pulled together and summitted the highest point in Mexico.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Congratulations! Awesome job. Looks like it was a beautiful day up there.

Posted by: Patrick Johnson on 3/5/2022 at 10:00 pm

Mexico Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Explore Puebla

The team enjoyed a well deserved rest day today. We leisurely ate breakfast, sipped coffee, and explored the city. We stay in a hotel close to the main square of the city so everything we could want is within walking distance. Tiny street markets, beautiful churches, old dive bars, and the colors of the buildings make Puebla a true joy to wander in. The team met up for dinner at a local favorite, El Mural de Los Poblanos, where we shared stories of our days and recalled our climb of Ixta. After we walked to my favorite ice cream place in town and enjoyed the sweet treat to end the night. We leave early for Tlachichuca tomorrow, but not before one more good nights rest in our beds.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Mexico Volcanoes: Team Summits Ixtaccihuatl

Today was the day, the team successfully reached the summit of the eighth tallest mountains in North America, Ixtaccihuatl. We woke up dark and early at 1230 AM for our alpine start, scarfed our oatmeal, chugged our coffee and we were off.

The route from high camp starts off with most of the elevation gain and a steep scree field to boot. Taking two steps up and one step back, the team trudged up “the knees” of Ixta to gain one of its magnificent ridges. Though the skies were clear, the wind was out with a vengeance. A cutting, constant 30 mph wind greeted us at the top of the ridge and decided to join us for the rest of the climb. With most of our layers on our person and buffs covering all but our eyes, we leaned into the wind and traversed until we dropped down into the ever-receding Ayaloco Glacier. Down and up the half pipe of a glacier, we gained the final ridge and pushed on to the summit. The team moved so well that we beat the sun to the top, but we were able to find a wind break and watch a gorgeous sunrise at the summit. Congrats to the team!

Now we’re off to well-deserved showers and beds in Puebla.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli & Team

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Congratulations to all!  I’m very impressed and enjoy watching the adventure.

Posted by: Bobby Hall on 3/2/2022 at 3:37 pm

Awesome. On to Orizaba! Enjoy Puebla first, though. Watch out for the tacos arabes, Dom :-)

Posted by: Patrick Johnson on 3/2/2022 at 3:15 pm

Mexico Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Ready for Summit Bid

The clear, beautiful skies made for a cool and frosty night down at Ixtaccihuatl Basecamp. The team woke up to flakes of snow hitting our face, courtesy of the moisture from our breath. We ate our breakfast, packed our bags and were on our way.
The sun was strong, but a cool wind kept our temperature regulated quite perfectly as the team worked their way up. Our months of hard work and preparation paid off as the team was strong as ever. Making the move from 13,000ft to 15,400ft is no small feat, especially with the heavy loads of the day. We made short work of it though, getting to our high camp in around four hours flat. Now we need to move into camp, relax for a bit, and talk logistics for the day ahead. I’m proud of the way the team performed today and it makes me as hopeful as ever for our summit day tomorrow.

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Arrive at Ixta Basecamp

After an early morning and quick breakfast the team was off again. Our first stop, Amecameca, to grab food, water, and of course the street food.

When we get to the entrance of the national park, we generally like to walk the rest of the way. It’s a bumpy, unpleasant road to get to La Joyalita and it’s nice to stretch our legs after a long day of driving. Perfect weather once again with the only clouds being the ones in the valley below us.  The business starts here though as we prepare for our climb of Ixta with a thorough gear check, packing demo, and refresher on tent setup. We’ll eat a hearty dinner and try to sleep as best we can at 13,000 ft. We start our first big climb tomorrow and the team is excited and ready for the challenge.

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Mexico Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Gather in Mexico City, Take first Hike

Yesterday all members of the RMI Mexico team arrived  safely in Mexico City. With a quick team meeting to cap off the night, we were off to bed to sleep off the long day of travel.

La Malinche is the first objective of the trip, an acclimatization hike that takes us up to 14,501 ft. We couldn’t have picked a better day for it. Warm, nearly windless weather greeted us at the base and followed us all the way to the summit of the peak. For many of us it was our high point! We spent a good 30 minutes up high taking in the views, petting the dogs that would mosey our way, and eating our favorite snacks (maybe that’s why the dogs came over). Before long it was time to head down, we had carne asada to get to. A safe and uneventful descent followed, just the way we like it, and the team enjoyed some relaxation before our delicious dinner. Now it’s time to rest up for the next leg of the journey. We head to Ixta Basecamp tomorrow!

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Mexico Volcanoes: Team Summits Pico de Orizaba

We met yet another stray dog friend today- oh wait, that’s not what this blog about! We are incredibly happy and proud to say that every single team member stood on top of North America’s 3rd highest peak, Pico de Orizaba, today! What a day it was too! We awoke for our alpine start to find that the sky was clear, the wind light, and the temperatures still warm from the previous day. The route takes us up an old aqueduct, then up a rocky slope for a couple of hours until you reach a feature called the labyrinth, aptly named. That is when the weather started to turn from warm and windless to bitter and howling. Up we went, navigating the labyrinth with all its ice, mud, and rock and to the base of the of the Jamapa Glacier. A team member described the glacier as “walking up a descending escalator”, never ending and relentless. On we pushed, with perseverance stretched to its limit we crested the caldera ridge and on to the true summit where we met back up with our 2 other rope teams and embraced.

We are back down now, safe and sound, about to jump in our showers and wash up before dinner, our last one as a team. Seems surreal for it to be over so soon, but we look forward to seeing everyone in the mountains again. This is the Mexico climbing team signing off.

Except there is the picture of our dog friend walking us down to Base.

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Abby Westling and Team

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Congratulations, Team! What an incredible trip! So very proud. The smiles on the summit say everything… AND BONUS DOGS?!? Amazing.

Posted by: Raeanna Anglen on 2/20/2022 at 6:35 am

Mexico Volcanoes: Team Gears Up for Climb of Orizaba

Oh, what a difference 24 hours makes!

Last night the team was at dinner enjoying mole, drinking beer, and recalling our climb on Ixta.

Tonight, we find ourselves at the Refugio below Orizaba repacking our bags and preparing for an alpine start. Tomorrow looks promising for us. The weather is good, the team is strong and reports say that the route is in good condition.

With any luck we look forward to reporting in tomorrow morning from the summit!

RMI Guides Dominic, Abby, and Team

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Headed for some altitude!! God Speed you amazing climbers, have a fabulous and safe ascent …. Love you Beunings …..

Posted by: Deb Anderson on 2/18/2022 at 1:23 pm

Mexicos Volcanoes: Cifelli & Team Enjoy Rest Day in Puebla

Today the team enjoyed a well deserved rest day in the beautiful city of Puebla. After enjoying breakfast together at the hotel, we all went our separate ways and wandered the city streets, taking in the views and enjoying everything from fresh squeezed juices to fried grasshoppers. At 7pm, we met up at one of our favorite restaurants for a team dinner, where we tasted some of Mexico's finest moles, a sauce unique to this area. We followed this up with a quick trip to the ice cream stand, just down the street, then headed to our hotel's rooftop patio to take in the evening views. We're headed off bright and early tomorrow morning to start our move to basecamp for our Orizaba climb. Everyone is excited and ready for the next leg of the trip. 

RMI Guide Dominic Cifelli

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Good luck on your next climb. We’re sending love and light to you all. Nice bib Alex

Posted by: Deb Anderson on 2/18/2022 at 6:12 am

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