Entries from Expedition Dispatches
March 7, 2020
Posted by: Dustin Wittmier
RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier and the Mexico Volcanoes team reached the summit of Pico de Orizaba, 18,491', early this morning. The team will return to Tlachichuca to spend the night and celebrate their great week of climbing.
Congratulations to the team!
March 6, 2020
Once again we find ourselves on the road in the hands of the most talented bus driver in Mexico, Augustín. This time we are in route to Pico de Orizaba, the third highest peak in North America and our main climbing objective for the trip.
Our rest day in Puebla yesterday was moderately uneventful. If anything wild happened, I certainly was not made aware. We woke up to a peaceful protest just outside of the hotel for which a couple members of the team decided to take part. Other rest day activities included: cathedral tours, a search for new gaiters, the Pyramid of Cholula, and rooftop bars. For the final event of the day we had a group dinner at the famous El Mural de Los Poblanos. Important topics were discussed and a variety of opinions were shared, however it is still unclear whether knocking on a watermelon can truly determine its quality. Alas, there are just some things we cannot know.
Next on the agenda is our arrival in Tlachichuca. A short pack and repack session will be followed by lunch in the Servimont hostel. From there we board 4x4 trucks headed for the Piedra Grande hut at 14000' on Orizaba. We will finish our preparation for climbing, eat a dinner that includes fellow RMI Guide Mike King's favorite chicken in the world and try to catch a few hours of sleep before our alpine start tonight!
On The Map
March 4, 2020
Just before 6am today the Mexico Volcanoes expedition stood on top of Ixtaccihuatl. Yes, that is an hour before sunrise. You could say we left an hour too early or you can recognize that this group of climbers is strong and motivated. We battled a cold breeze all morning, but people put their heads down and persevered.
This time of year Ixta is dry, which makes climbing more difficult. The footing can be loose and we have all been thoroughly sandblasted. Needless to say it was an exhausting day. Within minutes of boarding the bus, more than half of the crew was asleep... a nap fueled by sandwiches y cervezas.
On The Map
Congratulations on a successful summit! Some challenging looking terrain the team had to pass through but looks like it was well worth it.
Posted by: Dan on 3/5/2020 at 9:18 pm
March 3, 2020
Following another fantastic Mexican culinary experience (breakfast tacos) we hit the trail from Altzomoni towards high camp on Ixta. Everyone arrived in good spirits and are settled in at camp. An early dinner tonight will set us up nicely to get some rest and have an alpine start tonight.
Conditions on the mountain are dry and the weather is breezy. We are all feeling optimistic about tonight's climb. Hopefully we will be calling from the summit early tomorrow morning!
On The Map
March 2, 2020
Our attempt on La Malinche yesterday was turned just above treeline, but we still attained our goal of getting some mileage and elevation in. The National Park Police were stopping all groups from continuing, citing recent weather trends (afternoon thundershowers). My assessment of the weather differed from theirs, but their stern faces projected a certain air of authority.
The team is on the road again this morning, this time from the La Malinche resort to Altzomoni. On previous trips with the same bus driver, Augustín, there was a Shania Twain album stuck in the CD player. However, that problem has been rectified and this morning we are getting re-acquainted with 90's and early 2000's hip hop and R&B.
We will make a quick pit stop in Amecameca for snacks and water before heading to the Paso de Cortes. The anticipation is growing for our first big objective, Iztaccíhuatl (Ixta). Given the weather we have observed for the past couple of days, it appears to be shaping up for a great climb!
On The Map
March 1, 2020
Yesterday the remaining members of our team arrived here in Mexico City. I am happy to report that all people and bags are accounted for. If the same can be said at the end of this trip we'll call it a success.
This morning we met for breakfast at 7am in the "Bird Room" of the Hotel Geneve. The food here is classic Mexican fare done right and includes all the papaya you can eat. The only downside is that a person spends half their time at breakfast trying to wave down another cup of coffee, which seems to be the case in all of Mexico.
We are now on the bus headed for La Malinche and so the traverse of the southern portion of the Central Mexican Plateau begins. The group is looking forward to getting up high and truly starting the acclimation process. An attempt on the summit of La Malinche can often be thwarted by local weather patterns (heavy rain and lightning), but with any luck we may be standing on top this afternoon. Stay tuned for updates!
Climb High Dustin! All the best to you and the team! I will be following along.
Posted by: Farmer Dave on 3/2/2020 at 3:10 am
After all of yesterday's excitement, the team gathered for a celebratory dinner followed by margaritas, then went to bed. We slept hard after a long day's work and greatly enjoyed the comforts of our Tlachichuca amenities. This morning we were awakened by the crows of many local roosters, letting us know it was time to head home. We drank our hot coffee and ate delicious frittatas, then loaded the bus and headed for the airport. We said our goodbyes and headed off to our gates, feeling like we'd been together in Mexico for much longer than just nine short days.
Thanks again for following along and we hope you've enjoyed sharing the journey with us!
February 22, 2020
Good morning. This is RMI Guide Eric Frank from the summit of Pico de Orizaba. We are enjoying the views looking out over the valley in Mexico. A little cloud cover is creeping Into The Valleys, but we are about 1,000 feet above it up here. It’s been a really nice morning of climbing, a little cold and a little windy, but we were able to get it done nevertheless. We are going to hang out for a few more minutes then get packed up and have a safe descent. Then we will go down and celebrate what's been a great week of climbing.
RMI Guide Eric Frank calls from the summit of Pico de Orizaba.
On The Map
February 21, 2020
Oh what a difference 24 hours makes! Last night the Mexico climbing team was at dinner enjoying mole, drinking tequila 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 for a late season ascent. With any luck we look forward to reporting in tomorrow morning from the summit!
Thursday, February 20th at 9:07 pm PT
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.