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Entries from Expedition Dispatches

Kilimanjaro: Support for our Kilimanjaro Crew

Those of you that have traveled to Tanzania and were greeted and assisted by the smiling faces, helpful hands and strong backs from the Barking Zebra Tours Team, it is now our turn to show our kindness and generosity.  

Due to the pandemic and lack of tourism in Tanzania, Barking Zebra Tours launched a Go Fund Me campaign in May with a goal to directly provide beans, rice, maze flour and cooking oil to their Tanzanian team and their families.  To distribute food to 150 people for six months they set their goal at $14,000, slightly more than $15 per person per month. Thanks to the generosity of many that goal was reached in mid-October. We know that some of you were already aware of this campaign and we very much appreciate your kindness toward our friends and team members in Tanzania.  

As the worldwide pandemic continues, Barking Zebra Tours has increased its goal with the hopes of providing these provisions for an additional six months.  With the launching of the new goal we have been contacted by some of our previous climbers with an offer to match funds.  A group of RMI Climbers from the August 2019 Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari led by RMI Guide Dave Hahn has offered to match funds donated by RMI Climbers up to $2,500. 

If you are interested in donating, please click this link:  Go Fund Me 

We appreciate any donation you can make.   

We can’t wait to get back in the mountains with you. 

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Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar Reaches Summit

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir led by RMI Guides Brent Okita, Hannah Smith and Avery Parrinello reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today.  Brent reported a beautiful day with windy conditions and challenges.  The group has spent the last several days training at Camp Muir.  Tonight will be their final night at the 10,000' camp and they will descend to Paradise tomorrow.  We hope the team enjoyed their time on the mountain.  Congratulations on reaching the summit!

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Mt. Rainier: Muir Seminar Teams Reach Summit

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir teams led by RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Dustin Wittmier, Hannah Smith and Kiira Antenucci reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today under clear skies and moderate winds.  The teams were descending from the crater rim around 7:30 am PT.

The group gathered at Rainier BaseCamp on Monday for a full day orientation to prepare for their program.  On Tuesday morning the group left for Paradise where they donned packs and made the ascent to Camp Muir.  The teams spent the next few days training near Camp Muir, honing their mountaineering skills and preparing to make their summit today.  Today is their final day on the mountain and once they return to Camp Muir, they will repack their gear and continue their descent to Paradise.

Congratulations to today's teams on capping off a great week of training by standing on the summit of Mt. Rainier!

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Wittmier & Team Summit Orizaba

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!

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Wittmier & Team Enjoy Rest Day in Puebla, Ready for Orizaba Climb

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!

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

On The Map

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Mexico Volcanoes: Wittmier & Team Summit Ixta!

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.

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

On The Map

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

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

Mexico Volcanoes: Wittmier & Team Move Up to Ixta’s High Camp

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!

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

On The Map

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Mexico Volcanoes: Wittmier & Team Head to Altzomoni Hut

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!

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

On The Map

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Mexico Volcanoes: Wittmier & Team Arrive in Mexico City

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!

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

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

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Frank & Team are Heading Home

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!

RMI Guide Jenny Konway

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