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RMI Expeditions Blog

Mexico Volcanoes: Orizaba Summit!

We had a calm night to begin our climb of Pico de Orizaba. The climb begins with a steep switch backing trail through an old moraine. After a few hours, we entered the labyrinth which was once covered by glacial ice about 25 years ago. Now, a polished slab rock that can be difficult to find your way through, hence its name. Once at the base of the Jamapa glacier, we put on our boots and crampons - 3.5 hours later and we were on top with a beautiful sunrise, summit pyramid shadow, and calm weather.

The whole group stood on top this morning, couldn’t have asked for more. It’s been a great week climbing here with an amazing group. Our local guide Alan and Servimont’s assistance always make these trips special for us. 

We are back in town getting cleaned up, listening to rockets explode, drinking cold drinks and sorting gear for flights home tomorrow morning.



Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hey Mike!
It was Awesome following along! Great job!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 11/13/2022 at 3:54 am

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Team Explores Puebla

We enjoyed a fun and relaxing day in Puebla’s historic colonial area. We are headed for Piedra Grande hut on Orizaba this afternoon. Our first stop is at Sr. Reyes’ historic soap factory turned climber’s hostel. We will get our gear sorted and have a meal before jumping in the trucks for a bumpy, slow and often dusty ride to the alpine zone where we’ll camp for the night.

Tonight we’ll get started for this trip’s main event, the 18,491’ third tallest peak in North America. The group is rested and eager to get going.

Thanks for following along. 

RMI Guides Mike King, Henry Coppolillo, and Team

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Mexico Volcanoes: IXTA SUMMIT!

We had a warm and clear night at high camp that would turn into sustained 20 mph wind along the seemingly endless summit ridge that makes up the main route on Ixta. We summited in the dark but with a near full moon the views of the surrounding area were spectacular. We caught the sunrise and Orizaba on our return.

The team is headed to Puebla for the evening and our day off tomorrow.

Thanks for following along. 

RMI Guides Mike King, Henry Coppolillo and Team

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Mexicos Volcanoes: King & Team Prepare for Climb of Ixtaccihuatl

We hiked to 15,400' on Ixtacchuatl to put our camp in for the evening. The team did great and we got some clear skies and a nice view of Orizaba. Our plan is to wake up around midnight and head for the summit of Ixta. We'll check in tomorrow regardless of our high point or weather. Thanks for following along and fingers crossed for clear weather and calm winds.

RMI Guide Mike King

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Mexicos Volcanoes: King & Team take acclimatization hike on La Malinche

The weather cooperated yesterday and let us get to the top of La Malinche, 14,636’. The thunder rolled in as we got to the cabins. 

Today we are in transit to Ixta. A few stops to get provisions and register with park at Paso de Cortez puts us between Popo and Ixta. We’ll have a nice hike to our camp to continue acclimating. Once in camp we’ll get our gear sorted for our move to high camp tomorrow and our summit attempt on Wednesday. The team is doing great, lots of laughs and camaraderie. We have clear skies as we drive and got our first views of Ixta and Popo. We’ll check in tomorrow from our high camp.


RMI Guide Mike King

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: King, Coppolillo & Team Arrive in Mexico City

Our Team arrived in Mexico City over the last two days. We met and enjoyed a quick dinner last night after a nice meet & greet. This morning we’ll head for an acclimatization hike on the extinct volcanic remnants of La Malinche. It’s a long day to the top and electric storms sometimes thwart our efforts. Regardless of our high point it’s a nice hike to stretch the legs after a long flight and wake the lungs up in preparation for the high altitudes on Ixta & Orizaba. We’ll stay in some small cabins to sleep around 10,000’ for the night and check in once we get back into cell coverage tomorrow morning. Until then, we’ll enjoy the rolling corn planted countryside and dense pine trees surrounding our hike and cabins. Thanks for checking in. 

RMI Guide Mike King

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Cotopaxi Express: Team Summits Cayambe!

Today was the day! Cayambe summit bid. 

The guides “woke up” at 11pm to check the weather outside and stepped into an uncharacteristically warm and cloudy night. Glimpses of stars came in and out of view with the wind dull and chilled. We decided it was go time and, given the hour we estimated it would take the team to gear up, we put our chips on an improving trend. Clear it did, as we donned our backpacks and set up the rocky, first section of the route.  It takes us about an hour plus to get to the base of the glacier on Cayambe due to the varied, and sometimes involved terrain you navigate to get there.  Our nerves quickly gave way to the necessity of focus on the tricky terrain and that’s when it gets fun! 

After a quick break at the glacier to eat, put our crampons on, and rope up, we were climbing. That warm night gave way to a clear, chilly, moonlit night with views of the surrounding peaks and towns. With perfect conditions and beautiful weather, the team climbed in style for the 4000ft and 7 hours of ascent. 

100% of the team stood on top of Cayambe today. An accolade not often achieved by teams attempting these tall peaks.

Proud of the grit, dedication, and attitude this team has. While it’s a shame the trip is ending, I know I’ll see these climbers back in the mountains soon enough. 

This is the Cayambe Express trip.

Signing out. 

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Seth Burns and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Dominic ,Joes going to want a cold coke, after climb like that !

Posted by: Daryl on 11/5/2022 at 7:52 am

Cotopaxi: Team Prepares for Climb of Cayambe

Your first night at 15,000ft, you almost never sleep well. The team slept like babies last night. We woke up for five minutes, went to sleep for 15 minutes, tossed and turned for another five, until it was time to get up. Today is a training day, we’ll walk up to the glacier to review some glacier travel, rope, and crampon skills prepare us for our climb tomorrow. Time to make our summit bid!

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Cotopaxi: Cifelli, Burns & Team Visit Local Market, Travel to Cayambe

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 7:10 pm PT

Today was mostly a travel day. We woke up, ate breakfast, and packed out of the hotel at a leisurely pace and headed to the Otavalo market to enjoy some local wears. This market is bustling on Thursdays and Saturdays, but seeing its Wednesday, we enjoyed a nice, quiet peruse through its pathways. A few food stops and a couple hours of driving later, we're moved into the hut at the base of Cayambe, gearing up to start our climb. Tomorrow we review and practice our glacier travel skills to prepare for our summit bid.

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Cayambe Express: Team Acclimates on Fuya Fuya

Today we left the comfort of Quito to start our travels toward the main objective of the trip, Cayambe.

While the trip is originally a Cotopaxi Express the team had to pivot to a new itinerary after Cotopaxi showed too many signs of activity for mountaineering. We're going to trust the scientists on this one and not go take a peek into the crater ourselves.

Today was another day of acclimatization. We climbed the hills outside of Otovalo to summit the second objective of the trip, Fuya Fuya. The weather treated us to cloudy, moody views that kept us the perfect temperature during our climb. While shorter in stature than Rucu Pinchincha it still serves as a great opportunity for acclimatization and sets us up well for Cayambe. Tonight, we enjoy our final night in town.

We ship off to the base of climb tomorrow. Wish us luck!

RMI Guides Dominic Cifelli, Seth Burns and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

You can hike, but you can’t hide!
You Got This !

Posted by: Daryl on 11/3/2022 at 2:46 pm

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