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RMI Expeditions Blog

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Dale & Team At Orizaba’s High Camp

This is Christina with the RMI Volcano Mexico team, and we are currently eating tacos, chicken tacos, in a hut at 14,000 feet on the side of Pico de Orizaba. The weather is in and the peak above us has a new blanket of snow that reaches all the way down to our camp for the night. After our extreme weather on Ixta, we’re hoping for calmer winds and clear skies. We’d even settle for clouds at this point. The two-hour jeep ride up here to our high camp today was the perfect illustration of our group this week. We found ourselves laughing at David’s stories and turning to Rob for his pop culture references. Craig was there with his ever joyful spirit and always had M&M’s to offer around. Lorenzo made sure everyone was comfortable and happy. Steve constantly amazes us with his strength inconsistency. Then there’s Patty who rocks at everything she does and always enjoys a good laugh. Somehow this group was able to make a bumpy dirt road fun. JT and I feel so lucky to have spent this week with these wonderful people and climbing in the high mountains of Mexico. Orizaba tomorrow. Hope for good weather. Thank you.

RMI Guide Christina Dale

RMI Guide Christina Dale calls in from Pico de Orizaba High camp.

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Dale & Team Spend the Day Sightseeing in Puebla

Our team spent the rest day wandering around the beautiful streets and churches of Puebla today.  We saw some beautiful churches, community parks, ceramic studios, and street musicians.  Everyone feels tired after our Ixta climb but in great spirits to go climb Pico de Orizaba on Saturday.  We all talked over a delicious dinner about what we learned climbing Ixta and are excited for the next challenge.  We are enjoying our time in the mountains and towns of Mexico.  Fingers crossed for clear sky’s on Orizaba!

RMI Guide Christina Dale

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Dale & Team Check in with a Summit Recap

We lay in our tents listening to the sounds of heavy rain, snow, hail, then lighting and thunder at High Camp in Ixta.  Miraculous, at 1 am the weather cleared and we packed up to head for the summit.  We climbed through the dark night into a dense cloud.  Everyone made it to the summit with a layer of rime ice surrounding their faces.  We had quick hugs on the summit then hustled back down.  The weather progressively worsened on our descent to a point where the winds were so strong we couldn’t stand against them.  It was a true blizzard and everyone on the team did so well getting down safely.  We definitely had a full value climb with lots of excitement. 

RMI Guide Christina Dale

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Dale & Entire Team Reach Summit of Ixtaccihuatl

Hey, this is Christina calling in with the Mexico climb at 7:45 in the morning, and we are standing on the summit. It is howling wind sideways and blowing snow so everyone’s covered in a layer of rime. Everyone did so well climbing and we are all up here in good spirits taking a very quick photo, and then we’re going to be out of here quick because the weather is coming in. Tomorrow is our rest day and we are all looking forward to it. Congratulations to our team, we are 100% on the summit of Ixta.

RMI Guide Christina Dale

RMI Guide Christina Dale calls from the summit of Ixtaccihuatl.

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Dale & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Hi, this is Christina with the RMI Mexico Volcanoes team. We’re currently perched high at 15,000 feet at our high Camp on Ixta. Everyone is doing super well. Today we got into camp an hour and a half before we thought we would so we are walking incredibly strong. It’s a beautiful day out on the mountain today. We’re going to wake up at midnight tonight, and give the summit our best shot. Everyone’s feeling great- had a hot meal, and then some hot drinks and some nice time to hang out and enjoy the changing cloud patterns of the Mexico landscape below. We hope to give you our next call from the summit! Wish us well.

RMI Guide Christina Dale

RMI Guide Christina Dale calls in from Ixtaccihuatl's high camp.

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Mountaineering Training | Mindful Movement

As a skiing and climbing guide, athlete, and yoga instructor, I am continually impressed by the correlation between success in the mountains and a regular yoga or meditation practice. In my personal experience, by taking time each day to completely focus my attention on simple movements in conjunction with controlled breathing, even for a just a short period of time, I have found that I can dramatically increase my ability to handle a higher mental stress load and consciously reign in a respiratory-system-gone-rogue.
The primary intention behind a yoga practice is the alignment of a series of movements with the coordination of the breath. Beyond the poses, aside from the stretching, before the flow, and without regard to the brand of clothing you choose to wear or the space in which you practice, is the synchronization of intentional movements with focused and controlled breathing. That is the essence of yoga.
One of my favorite quotes is by Sharon Gannon: “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you areas where you are resistant in your natural state”. Instead of hand-eye coordination, think body-breath coordination.
This training allows the individual the ability to more easily and calmly focus on a specific task and execute difficult movements with precision—especially, and perhaps most importantly—when pushing towards exhaustion.
The goal of starting a mindful movement practice is in taking this basic principle and applying it to any activity of your choosing.
I understand yoga is not for everyone. Personally, I love the quiet space, the dance of a well-sequenced vinyasa flow, and in the winter months I crave the warmth and full body lymphatic cleanse of a heated studio; they are always significantly cozier than the mid-January temperature of my 1920’s craftsman and warm my core after a day of skiing far better than even the highest, most overworked setting of my Subaru’s seat-heating capabilities. That being said, I know plenty of guides and world-class athletes who firmly believe that yoga—of any sort—is not, and never will be, for them.
The secret is that these individuals find other activities with which to strengthen their mental game and incorporate mindful movement. Biking, running, swimming, pilates, even those post-work hikes with a heavy pack, all provide the opportunity to spend a few moments really thinking about and tuning in to your body positioning, your motor patterns, the rate and quality of your breath, all while tuning out the external static of life.
So my challenge for you in writing this blog post, if not to inspire you to rush off and attend the nearest yoga class, is to move through a few minutes of your next workout focused on not just exercising, but moving with intention, breathing in coordination with the efforts of your activity, and turning off the music in an effort to quiet your mind and direct your attention entirely to the task at hand. By practicing mindful movement in your daily tasks and familiar workouts, you will increase and strengthen your ability to use those same techniques to lower your respiratory rate and remain calm, thus allowing you to be more relaxed and move more efficiently when confronted with new and/or difficult tasks in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment for a longer period of time: situations much like those found on Mt. Rainier and other alpine objectives around the world.
Solveig Waterfall is an AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide and has been working professionally in the mountains for 12 years. She guides in Alaska as well as the continental U.S., Ecuador, Mexico, and Argentina.  She also teaches backcountry skiing programs and ski mountaineering courses for RMI. Outside of guiding, she instructs yoga and fitness classes designed to complement an active life outdoors.
Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here on the RMI Blog!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Beautiful article!  You inspire me.

Posted by: Patti sandow on 10/12/2017 at 9:11 pm

This just makes my heart smile.  Atta girl Solveig.

Posted by: anne keller on 10/11/2017 at 6:24 pm

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Team Ascends to the Climbers Hut on Ixtaccihuatl

Hola amigos!

We are checking in from 13,100 on Ixta, reporting light rain and overcast skies, but with loads of optimism for clear skies tomorrow for our hike to high camp at 15,000 feet!
Today was spent in preparation for our ascent of Ixta, which included a stop in the town of Amecameca, which was devoid of tourism and gave us a wonderful insight into authentic Mexican culture. After stocking up on water and last minuet supplies we drove to the park entrance where we stretched our legs with a walk to our abode for the evening. The rest of the evening was spent packing and eating a delicious meal prepared by our wonderful host Rogelio. The meal was a delicious concoction of beef, rice, guacamole and beans.
We will wake tomorrow and start our way up the trail to Ixta high camp!

Buenas noches from RMI Guides Christina, JT and the rest of the Mexican volcanoes team!

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Mexico Volcanoes: Team Takes Acclimatization Hike on La Malinche

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hey this is Christina in Mexico with a blog post:
Some of our team, our world champion boxer, Patty, summited La Malinche today!  The rest of us had a truly great day and got in a big acclimatization hike up to 13,400 feet.  The best part of the day was that everyone felt great and was so happy to be hiking up way above the Mexican countryside.  The climb took us up through the green forests and to the summit ridge where we watched thunderheads roll across the land below.  We can back down in a whirlwind of conversations and laughter to hot showers and a sizzling dinner.  Everyone is looking forward to Ixtaccihuatl.

RMI Guide Christina Dale

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Day 1 - Team Meets in Mexico City

The team convened this evening at the lovely Hotel Geneve in the Zona Rosa region of Mexico City. To everyone’s relief the earthquake damage proved to be minimal in this area of the city, and hopefully that continues to be the trend for the entirety of the trip. The team met each other for the first time in the lobby of the hotel, whilst seated in high backed lounge chairs, surrounded by paintings and towering bookshelves which made for a rather regal setting to begin our Mexican adventure.
After meeting the team and going over a brief synopsis of the days to come, we took a short walk through the Zona Rosa to a lively establishment that served authentic Mexican food, tasty margaritas, as well as a full mariachi band. Although we were not able to sing along to the tunes with the rest of the patrons, I am sure we enjoyed the food just as much as the locals sharing the restaurant with us.
Tomorrow we depart Mexico City and head for the former training site of the Mexican Olympic team, La Malinche, and begin our acclimatization with a trip up the extinct volcanoe.

Buenas noches,

RMI Guides Christina Dale, JT Schmitt and the rest of the RMI Mexican Volcanoes team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good luck I’m praying for good weather for you! Be safe.
Team leader- team gramma neenee

Posted by: Ellen Smith Eaton on 10/9/2017 at 7:26 am

Yeah team! Good luck with weather, enjoy the challenge and have fun! Xtina and JT top notch! Special regards to Craig FLKHGN.

Posted by: Elias on 10/8/2017 at 6:06 pm

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Turns at 11,700’

The Four Day Summit Climb September 29 - 2 October, 2017 turned at 11,700’ due to unstable snow conditions.  RMI Guides Tyler Jones and Mike King led the last summit climb program of the 2017 season.  The group plans to descend from Camp Muir this morning and return to Rainier BaseCamp around noon.

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Been thinking about y’all safety glad to hear everyone is safe so proud of you Hinan Ahmed for attempting such a amazing climb until next time MT. Rainier

                                                      See You Soon

                                                        Love Carmen

Posted by: Carmen on 10/2/2017 at 9:11 am

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