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Entries By grayson swingle

Mt. Baker: RMI Team Reaches Summit

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Grayson Swingle and Henry Coppolillo led their team to the summit of Mt. Baker today on the Mt. Baker Summit & Ski Descent program Apriil 30 - 2 May, 2021. 

The team gathered on Friday and made their ascent to Sandy Camp.  Yesterday they spent the morning with a Ski Mountaineering Day School practicing basic mountaineering skills. They took a short ski tour in the afternoon to get in some turns. 

Today they made their summit attempt and reached the top of Mt. Baker in the early afternoon.  They will be enjoying their ski descent back to camp this afternoon and will pack their gear and descend to the trailhead.

Congratulations to the team!

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Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Summit Orizaba!

Despite going to bed socked in at 14,000ft, we woke to clear skies and put on our boots in the early, cold and dark hours just after midnight. Fortunately for us, the freeze line was low the night prior, so we walked into snow just out of Piedra Grande up into the the rocky maze known as the  Labyrinth portion of the route. This made the approach to the glacier much easier than the usual condition or ball-bearing like rocks. At the toe of the glacier we were greeted with howling winds out of the west.  Based off of the plums of snow rocketing off the upper mountain, any snow that had fallen the day before was surely sublimating in the atmosphere. Nonetheless we pushed upward, armed with our crampons, ice axes, and goggles.

After a few more hours of getting blasted by the veracious winds, the team dug deep and hit the summit crater just before 8:00 am.

The team made light work of the descent and got back to high camp in good style. We quickly loaded camp into the 4X4s and hit the dusty road back to Tlachichuca where we were greeted by the friendly staff at the Reyes’ climbers hostel. We enjoyed our final delicious Mexican dinner together and toasted to stories and laughs over well deserved beverages. Tomorrow we will head back to Mexico City, homebound with new friends and memories to share!

RMI Guide Alan Davis


On The Map

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Mexico Volcanoes: Davis and Team arrive at Piedra Grande

Today we left the manicured streets of Puebla for the road to the Piedra Grande (Orizaba high camp). After a quick stop in Tlachichuca to do the duffel shuffle and get yet another tasty lunch, we downed our climbing clothes and loaded the 4x4s. The trail to high camp took two hours up a very primitive wash. We were greeted with hail and much cloud cover on the giant of a mountain that laid in front of us.

Nonetheless, spirits remained high as we did a little skills practice before the fiesta consisting of pollo, frijoles, rice, veggies, and of course, guacamole! Hope that the forecast will hold true and we will get clearing in the night before we dawn patrol our way up the mighty Pico de Orizaba! 

RMI Guide Alan Davis & Team

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Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Enjoy Their Rest Day in Puebla

Today we practiced the art of chill and sought a much needed day of R&R at lower elevation in the lively, colonial city of Puebla. From visits to the pyramid in Choulula, to various mole covered samples, and viewing historic buildings, our goals were fulfilled. Tomorrow, we head to our final objective of the trip, Pico de Orizaba (18,491’). The weather is looking a bit wet in the morning, however improving through into tomorrow evening. According to our local staff and some weather models, we may even be lucky enough for some fresh snow on the upper portion of the route. But for now, we will worry about enjoying some creature comforts throughout our final evening in this quaint and polished hamlet that is Puebla!

RMI Guide Alan Davis

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Hi Alan and Tom, say hello to my ghost in the Piedra Grande hut, rest well and then slay that dragon! Get properly hammered after in Tlachichuca. Repeat in Ciadad de Mexico. Best of luck!

Posted by: Pieter Swart on 1/24/2020 at 3:42 pm

Mexico’s Volcanoes: Davis and Team Reach the summit of Ixtaccihuatl

We fired stoves to a clear and crisp morning at 15,000’. As we took our final sips of instant coffee and Nescafé we gleamed with anticipation for the day ahead....
The team reached the summit of Ixta at 0630 and styled the climb in just over four hours. After enjoying a brilliant sunrise on an nearly windless morning, we made our way back down where we were met by Rogelio with delicious avocado sandwiches and cold beverages. I don’t think many of us stayed awake on the bus ride to the beautiful hamlet of Puebla this evening, but we arrived a couple hours ago and spirits were high to say the least. We were greeted by the wonderful staff at the Colonial Hotel where much desired hot showers, food, and well deserved rest awaited us. Looking forward to the next 24 hours in this alluring city of fine cuisine and architecture!

RMI Guide Alan Davis

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Congrats to you all. Great to see the photo of the team on the summit of Ixta. 
All the best for the Pico de Orizaba summit attempt on Saturday.
Stay warm, stay strong, stay safe and enjoy.
Thinking of you all

Posted by: Jacquie on 1/23/2020 at 9:36 pm

Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Move to Ixta High Camp

After a delicious breakfast prepared by our local staff, we left the Altzomoni Camp for thinner air. With Popocatepetl fuming at our backs, we were graced with no precipitation and some cloud coverage to keep the intense sun off of our backs.
The team arrived to 15,500’ at Campo Alto in good time where we spent the remaining afternoon hours resting in and acclimatizing. We had a humble dinner consisting of noodles and delectable quesadillas from Oaxan cheeses. Settling in early to prepare for our summit bid of Ixta in the cold morning hours to come...

RMI Guide Alan Davis

On The Map

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Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Settle In at Base of Ixtaccihuatl

Hello everyone! We all had a fantastic day down here. This morning was cool and damp as we loaded up the bus around first light with a broken cloud layer just above us at 12,000 feet.

A three-hour drive got us up to the base of Ixta where we went for another quick acclimatization hike up a sandy road. Clouds blocked our view of Ixta and Popo before a squall of snow rolled in and dusted us with about a half inch. We got a good laugh watching 100 runners participating in a 5k having a slippery descent down the road as they pelted each other with snowballs.

Once the snow passed, we got spectacular views of both Ixta and Popo covered in a fresh coat of white snow.

We’re finishing up preparing our equipment for our ascent to Campo Alto (high camp) on Ixta tomorrow. Our local staff is preparing us a Mexican feast. Tomorrow is the first day of forecasted sunshine! 

RMI Guide Grayson Swingle

On The Map

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The trail dogs will show ya the way! Be sure to hold your pole bag when setting up tents at high camp

Posted by: Whit on 1/20/2020 at 8:42 pm

Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Stretch Their Legs on La Malinche

Greetings from La Malinche! Today the team moved from the busy streets of Mexico City up to our cabanas at 10,000 feet. From here, we went for a hike up to 13,500 feet to stretch our lungs and our legs. The day started off a bit cloudy for us which mostly obscured our view of the higher peaks but we did see Pico de Orizaba towering above the clouds for a brief moment. A little rain chased us off of of the mountain this afternoon leaving us eager for a hot shower and another delicious meal.

The weather looks like it is improving throughout the week which should set us up for success on the bigger peaks to come! Tomorrow we will head to the base of Ixta. Now it is time to crawl into our beds for some well deserved rest. 

RMI Guide Grayson Swingle

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Grayson & Alan,
Have a great trip on Ixta & Orizaba!  I’m so thankful to have had you guys on our trip last year!  Be careful on that labrynth!  :O)

Posted by: Ron Seib on 1/20/2020 at 10:30 am

Mexico Volcanoes: Davis & Team Arrive in Mexico City

Holà de Mexico!

Checking in from the lively Zona Rosa in Mexico City. All of our climbers and bags are accounted for. After a savory dinner of authentic Mexican fare we are retiring to get some rest in preparation for our next leg. Stay tuned for more updates along the way!

RMI Guide Alan Davis

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Schmitt and Team Leave Mountains, Begin Journey Home

Well our trip has come to a close! We are all loaded up for one last bus ride back to Mexico City. The mountain is looming behind us, standing above golden fields of fall corn, looking crisp and fresh in the morning air. Everyone got one last look at Orizaba on our way out of town. It has been a great trip with incredible food, company and climbing. All climbers are excited to get back to their families to share stories of their Mexico Volcanoes Expedition! Enjoy a few pictures of our climb yesterday. RMI Guides JT Schmitt and Grayson Swingle
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