Entries By dustin wittmier
March 7, 2020
Posted by: Dustin Wittmier
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!
March 6, 2020
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!
On The Map
March 4, 2020
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.
On The Map
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
March 3, 2020
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!
On The Map
March 2, 2020
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!
On The Map
March 1, 2020
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!
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
January 30, 2020
Our Ecuador Volcanoes team is excited to have reached the summit of Cotopaxi this morning around 7:30 am. The entire team climbed strong and efficiently. We are packing up now ready to head towards Quito. More to follow.
On The Map
Congratulations everyone!! What an amazing adventure! Love all the incredible photos and I’ve enjoyed living vicariously through you all while reading the blog! Safe travels home! Jamie
Posted by: Jamie on 1/30/2020 at 7:09 pm
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!! What an amazing achievement!!! Time to relax and reflect on your adventure. The magnificent scenery, the camaraderie, working together as a team and all the obstacles the mountain could put in your paths and you were able to meet the challenge and go on to summit!!! Wishing everyone safe travels home.
LUMTA 1TF So proud of you and your achievement Whynde
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 1/30/2020 at 12:53 pm
January 29, 2020
Hello from the Cotopaxi hut, situated at 16,000' on the northern slopes of this incredible mountain. At least I think we are on Cotopaxi? Yesterday the mountain shone bright and crisp, the sky cloudless and calm. Exactly what we were hoping for today.
But staying true to form, all that enticing weather, beckoning us to climb lasted all of two hours and by 11 am yesterday morning the mountain was gone and we haven’t seen it since. Through on and off rain we prepared our packs this morning hoping things would clear. At 1 pm we had left Chilcabamba with cloudy but dry conditions. By 2:15 we were in the parking lot 500 vertical feet below the hut in a complete downpour. Not to mention the fog was so thick we couldn’t see the other side of the lot.
So what gives? I am listening to rain hit the roof and the fog surround us like a haunting cape. We will try to climb anyway.
On The Map
Hello all…the weather certainly has made your climb quite a challenge!!! Believe in yourselves. When you think you can’t take one more step, focus and draw courage and strength from within you. Be proud of yourselves and remember…you’re part of a very small group of people that can say they faced the mountain and conquered it’s obstacles. YOU ALL ROCK!!! GOOD LUCK AND STAY DRY!!!
“Be the kind of person who in the face of adversity will continue to embrace life and walk fearlessly toward the challenge. Take it on! Own your own power and glory!
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 1/30/2020 at 8:37 am
Prayers for a safe trip! Wishing you blue bird days. Mom
Posted by: Jane on 1/30/2020 at 3:49 am
January 28, 2020
Last night we arrived at Chilcabamba Eco Lodge situated ten miles to the north of Cotopaxi, our final mountain object for this adventure. This morning we had a crystal clear view of this beautiful peak and of the actual climbing route visible with binoculars. After yesterday, we are all chomping at the bit to get a second shot at going high. I’m just hoping the mountain gods quit goofing around and make our climbing and our decision making a bit less strenuous.
During the last three weeks, Dustin and I have attempted four big peaks with only one of them giving us a clear green light. The three previous attempts, two on Cayambe and one on Chimborazo, could best be described as a devious poker game where you are constantly dealt a low grade two pair and going all in on that isn’t the risk you want to take. But it isn’t outright horrible either. Just one more card, one more bet, maybe the odds will turn. We have folded in the name of safety but the questions still linger. Could we have gone higher? Yesterday I wasn’t ready to fold but the next bet came at a cost. Through pure determination and a bit of luck we squeaked it out but those aren’t the hands you want to have to bet on day in and day out. Let’s hope tomorrow that Cotopaxi deals us the hand as it did last time.
Gambling aside, this day was a well needed reprieve from the continuous ride we have been on the last week. Fifteen minutes ago one of our faithful staff stalled into my room, lit a fire and asked if I needed anything. “Not at the moment,“ I replied, things for now are pretty much perfect.
Tonight we will pack for our climb ahead and enjoy one more night's rest before heading up hill again. We will touch base tomorrow.
Please enjoy some photos from our Cayambe summit day.
Sorry I missed sending you a post yesterday. I know you had a BIG day ahead!!!
My mother said to me, “If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general; if you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope.” I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 1/30/2020 at 8:16 am
Wow, those were some spectacular pictures! Wishing you all a safe and memorable climb on your last mountain on this trip! Can’t wait to here about it Farmer Dave!
Posted by: Jodi Kirincich on 1/29/2020 at 3:40 am
January 27, 2020
Our Ecuador Volcanoes team is pleased to announce that we reached the summit of Cayambe, Ecuador’s third highest peak, this morning at 9:30 am.
Unfortunately we were dealt a messy hand fist thing when an electrical storm descended onto our team at 15,800 feet. With axes, ski poles and any other metal object literally glowing from the static electricity, we had no choice but to retrace our hour long start and return to the hut. With hopes almost dashed, I suggested a second round but the caveat was we needed to move fast and efficiently putting high demands on those willing. With a long stretch already under our belts, only three climbers opted to try again. Through a full white out, many crevasses, tired legs and burning lungs, all three made it to the top! No matter who went and who didn’t, everyone made the right call.
After a long drive back to town and a great late lunch we are all headed towards a rest day. We are all healthy and in good spirits. stay tuned for tomorrow’s rest day excitement.
RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier, Adam Knoff and Team.
On The Map
I can’t imagine being in an electrical storm at 15,800 feet let alone having to retrace your steps back to the hut. Whether you tried to make the summit again or not…I wish I could shake the hand of each and every one of you and tell you all to continue to believe in the greatness you have within you!!!
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ALL!!! Sounds like a fun rest day is in store. ENJOY!!!
LUMTA 1TF : )
Posted by: Geri Kuehn on 1/28/2020 at 9:58 am
Congrats on another summit!! Safety first for all of these mts! Enjoy your day. Looking forward to more news.
Posted by: Jane on 1/28/2020 at 4:30 am