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Orizaba Express: Hailes & Team Turn Around at 17,000’ Due to Conditions

 We pushed as hard as we could today but the weather just didn't let us summit Orizaba. We all climbed strong up to about 17,000ft when the combination of strong winds, wind loaded slopes, and reduced visibility made the decision to turn around and head downhill quite clear. It is always disappointing to not make the summit, but the while team is in great spirits back at the Casa pierde hut. Now we load onto the 4x4 for our final push to Mexico City and a nice hot shower and dinner. See you all very soon.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

RMI Guide Walter Hailes checks in from Orizaba Summit attempt.

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Damn those high winds and white out conditions!!  Obviously the right call to make!  Have fun in Mexico City.  Looking forward to seeing pics and hearing stories.  Safe travels!

Posted by: Chip on 2/1/2020 at 12:24 pm

You’re all unstoppable!!! Warm greetings from Florida and Boston!

Posted by: Team Alden on 1/31/2020 at 8:06 am

Orizaba Express: Hailes & Team Will Train Today, Climb Tonight

Update: January 30th at 1:30 pm PT

Hello friends and family,

We spent a few hours today climbing higher on Orizaba in partial sunshine and protected from the wind by the mountain. During the trip we refreshed our ice axe and crampon skills and may have done a little scheming about new business ideas. We are sticking to the plan of an early dinner and bed and really early rise to attempt the summit. No matter what the weather does we will be safe and have fun.

January 30th at 6:30 am PT

We made the correct decision to abandon the tents and sleep in the hut at Piedra Grande. The wind gusts gradually got stronger till early morning. Another team did attempt the summit but turned around before the summit because of the wind.

The wind is still strong but we are going to get out and do a little training/acclimation hike and enjoy the day. We'll keep looking up and see what the weather gives us for tonight.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

On The Map

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Orizaba Express: Hailes & Team arrive at a Windy Piedra Grande

Our day started calm and orderly, but did not finish that way. We had another great meal at La Malinche before we started driving to Tlachachula. Then we loaded the van and hit the road. After sorting gear and eating lunch in town we loaded up the 4x4 and drove the bumpy road 2 hours to camp. Camp was a little windy when as we set up our tents. We choose to sleep in tents instead of the hut so that we could have a nice quiet night. However, just as we finished the last tent big wind gusts started hitting us. When we almost lost one tent 3 times we decided to change plans, drop the tents and retreat to the hut. The team made quick work of relocating and we settled into the hut nicely. We'll sleep sound tonight and see what the wind is like in the morning.

RMI Guide Walt Hailes & Team

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Orizaba Express: Hailes and Team Enjoy Time at La Malinche

Good morning. We had a great day yesterday driving to La Malinche. We left Mexico City and grabbed some lunch and snacks food for our climb today. Once we arrive at the resort we settled into the cabana and Brett, Jeff and John went for a hike before dinner. Alden, Merrick and I spent time at the cabana prepping for our climb today. Dinner was delicious with queso and guacamole for all.

This morning we grabbed breakfast and hit the trail for our first acclimation hike. The forecast called for sunny and warm. We had a near perfect day today on our acclimation hike. Sunny skies, light breeze, and a great team. We moved well uphill even in the loose rock and scree of the mountain and got to relax on to for well over an hour, breathing the thin air as getting ready for the next challenge. We are all looking forward to another great dinner and a warm fire in our cabana tonight.


RMI Guide Walt Hailes

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Orizaba Express: Hailes & Team Meet up in Mexico City

We had a great kick off meeting last night and everyone is excited to be together and starting a fun week long mountain adventure to Pico de Orizaba.  After quick introductions for Merrick and me (Alden, Brett, Jeff and John have climbed together in the past) we enjoyed a beautiful view from a roof top lounge looking over Mexico City. We then moved to Historico Azul a unique open air restaurant beneath a perfectly manicured canopy of trees for dinner. In each trees hung hundreds of small oil lamps giving the room a warm glow, and the food was delicious. Today we are driving to La Malinche, a small mountain resort, to begin our acclimation process with a promising weather forecast. 

Thanks again,

RMI Guide Walt Hailes

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