Entries By mike king
We are back at Senior Reyes’ historic soap factory turned climbers hostel. The Mexican music and loud fireworks are going off like we had some remote control. The roosters and dogs are going berserk. But all the local acoustic entertainment is just part of climbing and traveling in Mexico. We are wrapping up a great 10 days with a fun group of guys. We climbed and stood on top of three volcanoes, ate amazing food, sampled many of the local libations and enjoyed some of the clearest views of this area anyone in recent past has ever seen. This trip isn’t so much of an expedition as it’s a fun Mexican vacation where we climb high altitude volcanoes instead of sitting on the beach. If you need to test your mind, body and spirit at altitude this is a good choice. We will be getting an early start towards the airport tomorrow. Thanks for following along.
Thanks for the updates and fantastic pictures. Looks like everyone had a good and safe
Posted by: Karen Knight on 2/24/2019 at 9:14 am
Awesome Mike!! Thank you for your posts. I am super torked up for next week with Eric and Jenny.
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 2/24/2019 at 2:17 am
February 23, 2019
Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to climb the 3rd highest peak in North America! The entire Team is here, feeling a little worked but with smiles on their faces. Warm, clear night to start and a slight breeze once up in the glacier. We have a lot of smoke obscuring the views to the East and clear skies our to the West with Ixta, Popo and La Malinche. We have a long descent ahead of us and we will check in once back at Sr. Reye’s hostel. Drew, we missed you up here, hope the flight went well!
Wow! Amazing pictures! Glad you all made it safe and sound.
Posted by: Jean Wittmier on 2/24/2019 at 6:49 pm
The last two days have been a whirlwind. We had a long drive to Puebla after climbing Ixta. The team rallied out that night for a much needed meal and then hit the racks for some well deserved sleep. The Hotel Colonial in Puebla was built in 1865 and is located on the historic square among several massive cathedrals.
We spent the day off exploring historic Puebla. Some of the group got massages while others wandered the various markets and narrow streets lined with colorful buildings. We are recharged and ready to head towards Orizaba this morning. The ride to Senior Reye’s climbing hostel takes us hours hours East towards the Gulf of Mexico. From there we will pack our mountain gear and head up in 4x4 trucks through the dry grassy slopes and dense pine forests that cover the lower flanks of Orizaba. Once at the Piedra Grande hut we’ll get a walk in to stretch our legs and get some rest for the main objective, Orizaba’s 18,400’ summit.
The group is doing well and surprised how fast the trip has gone.
On The Map
February 20, 2019
This is Mike, we topped out on Ixtaccihuatl around 7:50 am with a stiff wind for the entire climb. The air temperature was warm and we had a beautiful full moon. The combination of moon light and wind made for a crystal clear climb and amazing sunrise. We are in our descent now and will check in once we are back down at the bus.
RMI Guide Mike King
On The Map
February 19, 2019
This is Mike checking in from 15,300’ on Ixta. We got a casual start to the day with a big breakfast and final packing of our equipment. It’s always a bummer to have 40ish pounds of stuff for just one night out. The trail ascends a ridge with a series of weaknesses that allow for a moderate elevation gain. We enjoyed clear views of Orizaba and La Malinche. From camp you could even pick out the glimmer of glass on the high rise building of Mexico City.
The traditional high camp where the Refugio sits is currently occupied by a 50+ member unit of the Mexican Army. We opted for the camp that is slightly lower to have a quiet evening. The wind is currently shaking the tents and depositing grit on our teeth. We’ll have some dinner and get our packs ready for tomorrow’s summit bid. The weather looks good, so fingers crossed for clear skies and no electrics storms.
February 18, 2019
It took six attempts but finally the weather cooperated for a successful acclimatization hike to the top of La Malinche, 14,501’. A new high point for some of our Team. The ‘day hike’ is the equivalent of a Rainier summit day from Camp Muir in elevation gain. The Team did well despite having just arrived sea level more or less.
This morning we are in route to Ixta, a quick stop for breakfast and coffee then a travel day to the Altzomani Hut. There, we will pack for our hike to high camp and enjoy a nice dinner and spectacular sunset. Thanks for following along.
February 17, 2019
This is Mike checking in for the Mexico Volcanoes team. Everyone arrived with bags in tow yesterday. We will head out in a few minutes for a day hike on La Malinche. The goal today is to stretch the legs and lungs a bit and sleep at 10,000’ tonight. Our drive today takes us out of Mexico City and into the surrounding countryside for three scenic hours before climbing the lower slopes of the mountain. we’ll spend the night in little cabanas after our acclimatization hike. We’ll check in each day, thanks for following along.
RMI Guides Mike King & Dustin Wittmier
Have a safe journey
Posted by: Dick and Kay Seubert on 2/18/2019 at 1:12 pm
Have a great climb, and post lots of pictures!!
Posted by: Ray Wittmier on 2/17/2019 at 7:14 pm
January 28, 2019
Enough about Lenas and the delicious asado dinner, it’s wonderful and it’s been played out. The truth is that after 17 miles of walking through a high desert over softball sized rocks stacked on top of descending from 19,600’ with heavy packs stacked on top of a long and difficult summit day, an average hamburger would be a shimmering oasis. The magic of Lenas is cemented in the idea of being rewarded after a job well done, ya the meat is amazing, the beer is warm and still some how the best you’ve had and the smoke will bring back fond memories for years to come. It’s the belief that trying difficult objectives over easily accomplished tasks will always make the smallest aspects of life more enjoyable. Anyone can go to Myrtle Beach and get an airbrushed tank top to commemorate their average vacation but to spend a tough 2 1/2 weeks in the high Andes and wrap up that experience looking into the seemingly three dimensional Milky Way after a communal dinner cooked by Argentinian cowboys and ate with one’s own hands is a memory like none other.
We head to the road tomorrow and the comforts of Mendoza. Your loved ones will be within internet range and thanks again for supporting them on this adventure and for following along.
Thanks for your daily updates and keeping everyone safe. You have no idea how much we all appreciate it.
Posted by: Mike Rapach on 1/28/2019 at 6:35 pm
January 27, 2019
It’s strange how things turn out in retrospect. What was supposed to be a nicer day on the summit turned into an extremely difficult one. We listened to the teams rig up for their summit attempt this morning. The tents hardly rippled and the skies were clear, that is until they weren’t. By the time we started packing up camp, a lenticular cloud had formed over the the upper mountain. This cloud formation is accompanied by winds and cold temperatures. While we had some cold and consistent wind the day before, we had sunlight and a clear day. As we descended to Camp 2 we were not envious of the teams struggling across the grand traverse. We collected our caches at the camps and made our way into a warm and inviting base camp for some well deserved sandwiches and beverages. Tomorrow we head for Las Lenas and then Mendoza on the 29th. The Team is in high spirits and eager to get cleaned up and headed for home. This has been a great expedition and everyone has learned a lot about being in the high mountains during the last 2 1/2 weeks. Thanks for following along.
January 26, 2019
January 26, 2019 - 11:09 am PT
Polar opposite weather for the summit team’s return to Colera. At this point yesterday we were in a ground blizzard and wondering if we’d get an opportunity to climb. The guides got up at 1:00 am to see clear skies but strong wind. We wouldn’t start then anyway, too cold. At 3:00 the skies were still clear and the winds had calmed. We set off from Camp with a mix of snow and scree. The forecasted 30 mph winds out of the west were present and account for the entire climb.
The route switchbacks for a while and then you arrive at the defunct storm shelter, Independencia Hut at 21,000’. From the hut, the climb ascends a moderate snow slope and then transitions into a long ascending traverse. We had about 60% frozen scree and 40% snow. After feeling like you’ve walked forever without gaining much ground the climbers arrive at “the cave”, it’s not a cave. From the cave the climb is a steep ribbon of winter snow in a feature called the Candeleta. After crossover stepping for what seems like enough time for someone to recite an epic poem you hit the Guanacos Ridge. This ridge goes up, down and never flat; however, towards the end you get a spectacular view of the South face of Aconcagua. Just 10-15 minutes more and your standing on top of the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.
We are back in camp and will begin the process of heading to Mendoza tomorrow morning. Starting with a down carry of our gear and remaining food to Plaza Argentina. From base camp, mules take our equipment to Penitentes while we stop for one last Argentine asado (Cookout) at Pampa Las Lenas. The following morning after a night of meatmares and red wine to celebrate, we will return to Mendoza for a wine tour or some much needed pool time. Thanks for following along!
January 26, 2019 - 7:25 am PT
This is Mike, we reached the summit of Aconcagua just a few minutes ago. The storm blew out around midnight and we hit the trail at 3:45am. I’ll write more once we are back in camp safely, we have a long descent ahead of us.
On The Map
Congratulations Team!! Job well done!
Posted by: Doug Sherwood on 1/26/2019 at 1:13 pm
Way to go team!! I couldn’t be more proud.
Posted by: Randy Salo on 1/26/2019 at 12:50 pm