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Entries from Expedition Dispatches

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Team Takes Acclimatization Hike on La Malinche

Today we left Mexico City for the rolling hills of La Malinche National Park on a clear and beautiful day. Our climbing objectives, Ixta and Orizaba were on display with a light covering of new snow as our shuttle merged in and out of the maze of toll roads.

The goal for today was a hike to 14,000 ft to stretch our legs and lungs. On the ascent we passed numerous locals hiking and packing up camp sites from the weekend. As we got to tree line there were large dark clouds billowing over Malinche’s summit. With rain and lightening on the horizon we turned around at 13,000 ft and headed back down through a dense pine forest to our cabanas where will stay for the night.

The team is doing well and excited to get on Ixta tomorrow afternoon.

RMI Guides Mike King & Steve Gately

On The Map

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Team Arrives in Mexico City

October 15, 2016 - 9 pm PT

This is Mike, the entire RMI Mexico team arrived with all their gear and high spirits! We kicked the program off with a good dinner and meeting. Tomorrow we will head 75 miles east of Mexico City into rolling hills of Tlaxcala to the base La Malinche. This is where we begin our acclimatization program with a day hike and spending the night at 10,000 ft.
Thanks for following along.

RMI Guide Mike King

Chile Ski: Reid & Team Termas Bound

As promised, the storm hit Araucania last night. After a nice evening sunset on Villarrica, the rain came. We retreated from our camp this morning with heavy wet snowflakes falling from the sky, very happy to not be high up on Lanin. Now we are on our way to Peumayen, a beautiful lodge and termas (hot springs) outside of Pucon. This is our last night in Chile, and one to celebrate - this trip has been top notch. Great crew, great skiing conditions, a lot of great weather… Every year I’m always amazed how fast this trip goes.

Tomorrow we head for the airport and home to the US. Thanks for following along!

RMI Guide Tyler Reid and the Chile Ski Crew

Chile Ski: Reid & Team Ski Some New Terrain on Villarrica

With a gnarly low pressure system poised to strike our intended high camp on Lanin, in my experience the windiest mountain in the world, we decided a more prudent plan would be to focus our efforts on skiing some new terrain on Villarrica. This meant foregoing our two day attempt on Lanin (with the forecast, our odds of summiting were minuscule) so with a team consensus we decided to spend an evening camped on Villarrica instead.

Today we traversed around the mountain to the east and found a very long run down snaky lava tubes full of corn snow. We skied three runs today totaling 5800 vertical feet, and now we’re about to have dinner at our Villarrica camp. Another fun day in Chile - hoping the weather is merciful tomorrow.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid & the Chile Ski Team

Chile Ski: To the Summit of Villarica & A Ski Descent

Today was slated as a rest day in our itinerary, but one member of our group was psyched to forego rest in favor of another uphill skiing adventure on Villarrica - and this one resulted in standing on the summit. The weather was absolutely perfect today and the snow conditions were efficient for uphill travel, as well as great skiing.

With the nice weather and being a weekend, there were a significant number of local guided climbing groups plodding their way up the main route, but we found our own variation that made it feel like we had the mountain to ourselves. It took us 4.5 hours to the summit, and about 30 minutes to ski down. Love ski mountaineering.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid
& the Chile Ski Team

Chile Ski: Reid & Team Ski above Lago Villarrica

This morning we headed for Villarrica to go for a ski, knowing that the forecast was probably not conducive to going to the top. We managed to hide from the wind for 3,000’ of mostly skinning, edging into frozen snow with our ski crampons. Above us, a lenticular cloud was growing over the summit. Below us, we had clear views of Lago Villarrica’s azure waters, the bustling town of Pucon on its eastern shore, and Llaima and Sollipulli in the distance.

We had a nice long run back to the van, where our driver Juan was waiting with his usual warm greeting. The weather looks better tomorrow, and we’re going to take another crack at Villarrica… stay tuned!

RMI Guide Tyler Reid and the Chile Ski Team

Chile Ski: Team Climbs and Skis Llaima

Llaima is a big mountain, deceivingly big - from beneath it looks like a reasonable couple hours of climbing…not so. I learned this my first time on Llaima four years ago.
Yesterday we had an adventurous day on Llaima. Sun, clouds, heat, cold, calm, wind, visibility, low vis…sticky snow, icy snow, sastrugi, soft snow, corn… some horrible skiing, and a lot of amazing skiing. We walked, we skinned, we climbed. There is an old pocket glacier that’s usually well covered in snow, but this year there were exposed crevasses, which added to the route finding challenge. At 15:30, standing on a rough, icy slope in strong wind, we decided to call it - about an hour from the summit. This was not safe snow for skiing so we down-climbed about 1,000’ before putting on our skis. The rest of the descent was super fun, and went quickly. We didn’t get to stand on top, but the group consensus was that this was an even more awesome day than summiting Lonquimay.
Today we had a nice drive to the town of Pucon, with perfectly clear skies. We were able to see all four of our volcanoes - Lonquimay, Llaima, Villarica, and Lanin. We stopped in the town of Villarica for a nice lunch and to take some photos of the mountain (Villarica) towering above the lake.

Another great couple of days in Araucania.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid & the Chile Ski Team

Chile Ski: Team Skis From Summit of Lonquimay

Yesterday we awoke to a crisp morning, with a blanket of fresh snow up high. Enough snow to stop our van in its tracks on the approach road to Lonquimay, but we didn’t mind the extra skinning. The weather was a bit stormy the top 2,000’ of the mountain, so we decided to save the summit for the next day. We still got to ski a couple long, very fun laps above massive lava fields, and later our crew went for a pre-dinner soak at the local thermas.

Today we had perfect Southern Hemisphere spring weather and were able to ski from the summit. We skinned up to about 8,500’, where we transitioned to boot crampons and threw our skis on our backs. Another 900’ of methodical climbing and we were on top.
The big news however is that Sergio, our host here in Malalcahuello, is cooking his famous Chilean asado for us tonight - something I look forward to every year.
All is great with us.

RMI Guide Tyler Reid & the Chile Ski Team

Chile Ski: Team Arrives and Gets in Their First Turns

The whole group is here and today we put skis on our feet for the first time. We found some nice corn on the lower flanks of Lonquimay that made for smooth turns. Now we’re settled into our casa at the Suizandina Lodge here in Malalcahuello, next to a warm fire. The crackling of logs is interrupted by sizzling water droplets, vaporizing as they fall from our damp skins onto the hot stove. Life is good!

RMI Guide Tyler Reid & Chile Ski Team

Shishapangma: Team Returns to Base Camp

Our team has safely reached Base Camp.  They will spend two nights there before descending to Driver’s Camp on Tuesday, October 4th to meet their vehicles and begin the two day drive back to Lhasa.  From there they will take a flight to Kathmandu. They intend to spend a few days in Kathmandu to honor their friend and fellow climber.  Team members will then depart Kathmandu to make their way back to family and friends.
All of the team members are doing well and are supporting each other.  Our hearts are with them.

The RMI Office Team

Always thinking of you and praying for all of your safe return.

Posted by: Jane Knoff on 10/3/2016 at 4:58 am

We’re so relieved you all made it back to base camp safely.  We hope you get plenty of rest.  Please extend our deepest condolences to the Sherpa’s family and friends.  We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

Posted by: Hikari on 10/2/2016 at 10:09 pm

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