Posts for Mexico

Climber Scott Anderson Recaps March’s Mexico’s Volcanoes Climb

Posted by: | May 14, 2015
Categories: *Mexico

The RMI family and the mountaineering community are quite something to witness and to be a part of, if only for a trip here and there. The Mexico volcano trip this last March was exactly what I had hoped it would be, and as usual it turned out to be infinitely more. My two previous Rainier summits with RMI had made a believer out of me. Telling my family that I would be in the absolute best hands while in Mexico wasn’t some shading of the truth. With the mythical creatures known as guides — Jake, Christina and Alfredo — watching out for us, we set out on a most excellent adventure to climb Ixtaccihuatl and El Pico de Orizaba.

The money, the time and the physical preparation to get the privilege of attempting to summit these glorious peaks seemed to be my primary focus prior to leaving but that was not my greatest takeaway from this adventure. The very best part of this trip, for so many of us, was the friendships that were formed as we came together as a team. From a train engineer to pilots and financial analysts to company presidents, everyone came together to embrace the experience. There aren’t many venues these days where people of such different backgrounds and ages are put together to achieve a difficult goal like mountaineering.  The immediate concern for one another was astounding. All of us trading what small bits of information we had that might help a teammate, sharing best practices or a piece of gear, and acts of kindness that you never see coming were happening from our first meeting in Mexico City. On Orizaba, our only summit possibility, when one of the team was going to turn back with just the guide another member offered to keep him company. What an act of selfless kindness.

The fantastic cultural experience was also something I hadn’t really thought about until my arrival. Throughout our travels in Mexico we were met with tremendous hospitality.  Dr. Reyes’ staff at the historic climbing hostel Servimont in Tlachichuca provided us with incredible food, entertainment and service. It was a unique experience to be welcomed into that legendary place. The city of Puebla is a real gem. The architecture, the restaurants, the people; I could have spent a week entertaining myself there. To experience this place with my fellow climbers was truly a lot of fun.

Oh yes, the mountain part. Sketchy weather was stalking us the whole trip with an early arrival of Spring. The guides got us prepped and in position but no one doubted the decision to retreat off Ixta after a night at 15,400 feet. It was a night to be nice and cozy. Orizaba had wicked winds and a good snowfall prior to our arrival. Our train engineer offered his four wheeling skills and whipped that beast of a vehicle up the mountain road shaving hours off our hike to the Piedra Grande Hut. What a hoot! Of course it was a classic challenging RMI mission; methodical, focused, safe. We didn’t have the best visibility until our descent but summiting was another incredible event to share with my new climbing family! The experience was a thing of beauty; the mountain, but more so the excitement and spiritual moment for each of us being up there. A huge thanks to RMI, my fellow climbers, our guides, and all the folks who supported us. I will continue to practice my rest stepping in Kentucky and very much look forward to my next adventure.

Nearing the summit of Orizaba.   Photo: courtesy Chris Villar

Mexico: RMI Guide Jake Beren Recaps The Team’s Orizaba Summit

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 18,701'

Well it sure has been an action packed few days for our team here in Mexico. After a wonderful rest day (I’ll let everyone share their own tales when they return) where the crew scattered about the city causing mayhem and generally having a ball, we launched for Tlachichuca. We’d all been nervously watching the weather after our trouncing on Ixta and the forecast was unclear, on all fronts. We had seen everything from the apocalypse to passable, but there really is never any substitute for the nowcast. Upon arrival at the base of the mountain, in our old friend Dr. Reyes’ climbers compound, we learned that no one had summited in days and that getting to the hut would require a few hours of walking. Snow had overtaken the road and trucks couldn’t reach the hut. No one had ever seen such a low snow level, let alone heard of a vehicle making through drifts feet thick in spots. We were in for it if we were going to even make it to the hut.

We decided to go see how far we could get anyway and started climbing up the steep, muddy road towards the hut. The higher we drove, the more snow there was on the road. Eventually the trucks couldn’t climb much higher and it looked like the walk was going to be epically long. But then, an ace up our sleeve saved the day and a teammate who probably doubles as a stunt driver for the winter chase scenes in James Bond movies stepped to the plate. Voila, we took hours off our approach, making it much further. In the end we walked for under an hour before laying claim to a deserted hut.

As we walked to the hut, Orizaba loomed over our heads. It sure looked nasty up high, dark clouds whipping over the summit and most of the glacier fully obscured. No one was really mentioning what we all were thinking, but some sure would have to change if we were going to get very high on this one. After a quick review of some climbing techniques, we feasted and turned in for the night. We woke very early and could see a few stars!!  Dios mio!  As we readied ourselves, the wind came out and it began to lightly snow the higher we climbed. Since we were the only climbers in days, the team broke trail through the night and as the storm built turning back was on everyone’s mind.  Each break we reached we reassessed the merits of continuing and we kept reaching the same conclusion, “one more stretch.”  When we reached the top of the Labyrinth (a rocky maze broken by snowy, usually ice, gullies), the wind and snow were peaking. Everyone was dealing so well with the weather that we decided we would climb for a half an hour on the glacier and turn back if it didn’t improve. As we kicked steps up the glacier, the skies lightened slightly in the morning sun and the wind lessened a knot or two.
  “One more stretch?”
  “Por que no?” we concluded and repeated the question for the next few hours, constantly aware of our conditions and strengths. Continually assessing progress and our teammates, eventually it looked like it was going to be a fight, but that we just might stand on the cumbre!  No summit is worth an injury, so the minute things looked like they COULD be sub ideal, we were ready to head back knowing we gave it our best. Orizaba respected the effort and graciously offered our team of intrepid explorers a glimpse of the top and happily we accepted the invitation. What a treat!  Standing on top was a real achievement, and as the only crew on the whole mountain we had the whole hill to ourselves. Amazing day in the mountains.

The weather cleared a bit for the descent and our team did a great job handling the hardest part of the climb, the descent. A truck was even able to make it to the hut and happily saved us an hour of tired walking through the mud at the end of a long day. When we got back to Tlachichuca, hot showers and a marimba band made dinner even that much better.

Quite an adventure down here in Mexico, can’t wait to see everyone back home!

RMI Guide Jake Beren

An RMI Team on the summit of Orizaba, Mexico. Photo: Chris Villar El Pico de Orizaba above Tlachichuca, Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts

2

EPIC!!! Great job!

read more

Posted by: Dan Judy on 3/23/2015 at 4:19 am

I had an absolute ball on this trip.  The whole crew was so welcoming and it was nice to be able to come out of my shell quite a bit. … read more

Posted by: Eric Uncapher on 3/17/2015 at 12:06 pm


Mexico: Beren & Team Reach the Orizaba Summit!

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 18,701'

First off a big thanks to everybody and their good weather vibes for us down in Mexico. We were able to sneak one in on Orizaba today as the only climbers to stand on top.  Beautiful day we were climbing in a very volatile weather situation, but we were able to move around and get to where we needed to be at just the right time, and were able to go stand on top.  It was a wonderful day with a great crew.  Thanks so much for sharing everybody with us and we look forward to seeing you all in the next day or two when we get home. Thanks so much.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

View while on the Orizaba summit day. Photo: Zeb Blais Descending from the toe of the Jampa Glacier on Orizaba. Photo: RMI Collection El Pico de Orizaba, stands 18,701' in Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Jake Beren calls in after the team's successful Orizaba summit.

On The Map

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts

1

Congrats everyone!! Excelsior John. So happy for each of you. You were all in my thoughts all weekend. Jake, Christina, Alfredo sounds like you where champs finding a way through… read more

Posted by: Dom on 3/15/2015 at 3:50 am


Mexico: Beren & Team’s Weather Wasn’t in Their Favor

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico

Buenas Dias de Puebla!  The team is relaxing with some well earned hot showers after a big 24 hours in the mountains. Unfortunately, the weather deities did not smile upon us for our attempt on Ixta. After a great job getting to camp at around 15,300 feet above the sea, we weren’t tucked in our sleeping bags for more than a few hours before an exquisite storm rolled in and sat on us for the remained of the night. Our 2 am wake up turned into 3 am, then 4,5,6 and 7 before we finally threw in the towel. Lightning and steady snow can sure make a call easy, but with such a strong crew, I’m sure we could have made a solid bid for the top if the weather cooperated. Everyone did great work weathering the storm and are about to enjoy a fun rest day in Puebla tomorrow. Keep those fingers crossed for a break in the case, weather wise.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

The Mexico team climbing to Ixta High Camp. Photo: Christina Von Mertens The Mexico team all smiles on a rest break climbing Ixtaccihuatl. Photo: Christina Von Mertens Overlooking the historic streets of Puebla. Photo: RMI Collection

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts


Mexico: Beren & Team Check in from the Altzomoni Hut

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 12,000'

Buenes noches from the Altzomoni Hut. The team is doing great. We had a wonderful acclimatization walk, a big meal and we’re just turning in for bed before heading up to our high camp on Ixta tomorrow morning. The team is in wonderful spirits and everybody is doing quite well on our perch on the hill above Puebla in between Popo and Ixta. It’s a beautiful night and the weather seems to be improving, which is great for us tomorrow to start our climb of Ixta. We’ll check in tomorrow. Thank you for all the good wishes and we’ll talk to you soon.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Popo seen from the flanks of Ixta, Mexico. Photo: JJ Justman


RMI Guide Jake Beren checks in from Ixta's High Camp.

On The Map

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts

6

Great to follow you on this climb. Can’t wait to hear all the details when you return.
Stay Safe!

read more

Posted by: Diana Boyce on 3/12/2015 at 10:12 am

Dom,
We hope you are safe and having a great climb to the summit!! Can’t wait to see pics and hear the stories ! We know you are taking… read more

Posted by: Ron , Peachy, IZ & RD on 3/11/2015 at 1:55 pm


Mexico: Beren & Team Moving Toward Ixtaccihuatl

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico

Today we are headed out from our post in Malintzi and moving on towards Ixta. Luckily we will get a chance to do some sight seeing on route. Traveling to another country is about so much more than just trying to stand on top of a mountain. It is often the spaces in between the summits that you remember years after the summits fade. Here’s to the waterfalls and markets, the small town zocalos (town squares) and random Christmas tree farms in the foothills on the way to the climbs. And we hope everyone back home is enjoying the in-between time too.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Vibrant market in Amecameca, Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts

1

Good luck team. Be respectful of the Sleeping Princess (Ixta) as the Angry Warrior (Popo) will be keeping a keen eye on you.

Excelsior !!

read more

Posted by: Tom Buckley on 3/10/2015 at 6:57 am


Mexico: Beren & Team Acclimate on La Malinche

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 14,636'

A great evening of meeting the team included the necessary briefing, but more importantly a solid dinner. The next morning we loaded up our equipment from the hotel and started our drive into the mountains.

Our first stop is the Mexican Olympian trainatorium,La Malintzi. Our team of wanna be altitude aficionados showed great promise on our first foray. Everyone shook off some jet lag and travel weariness and performed admirably. We made our way through giant ponderosa pine forests, eventually leaving the trees behind and gaining the ridge ofLa Malinche, an extinct volcano and our first chance to work up high. The collective wrist-mounted technology consensus put our team at 13,800 feet above the sea. Not a bad first day. With a start like this I’d say we’ve got a great shot at some good times in the mountains. Stay tuned as we push on through this adventure!

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Views from the La Malinche trail in Mexico. Photo: Zeb Blais Views from the rocky summit of La Malinche. Photo: RMI Collection


Jake Beren calls in from Mexico.

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts


Mexico: Waterfall & Team Celebrating Their Successful Expedition

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Chase Nelson | February 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico

A big thanks to everyone back home! All your wishes for good climbing weather were answered! We woke up at midnight after a deafening storm of rain and hail to perfectly clear skies and calm winds.

The ascent took us just over eight hours and we spent over 45 minutes on the summit enjoying some of the warmest, calmest, conditions I’ve experienced at 18,600’! After taking photos and celebrating, we descended in just over three hours.  We are all now safely back in town enjoying showers, cervesas, and awaiting a delicious dinner at the Reyes Compound.

Tonight we are looking forward to a well deserved rest and then heading home tomorrow!

Thanks for following along,

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall

February 21, 2015- RMI team on the Orizaba summit. Photo: Solveig Waterfall

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts


Mexico: Waterfall & Team Summit Orizaba!

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Chase Nelson | February 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 18,701'

Summit!

Solveig called from the top of El Pico de Orizaba. It was just after 9:00 am Mexico time. The weather was nice with calm winds.

They were going to head back down to Piedra Grande Hut and will check after their descent.

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall

The shadow cast by Pico de Orizaba at sunrise. Photo: Solveig Waterfall The Mexico Team making the final steps to the summit of Orizaba. Photo: Solveig Waterfall Chase Nelson and his rope team cresting the Orizaba summit. Photo: Solveig Waterfall

On The Map

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts


Mexico Volcanoes: Solveig & Team at Piedra Grande Hut

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Chase Nelson | February 20, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 14,000'

Good Evening!

We are all doing great here at the Piedra Grande Hut at the base of El Pico de Orizaba. After a bumpy and dusty 4x4 drive, we arrived today around 3:30.  Up next was setting up tents and getting our gear together so we could all settle in and enjoy a delicious pasta and garlic bread dinner before tucking in for the night.

It’s cold here at 14,000’, and everyone is settled in for the night. We had beautiful weather on our climb of Ixta and also on our rest day, but here at camp we are in the clouds and we’ve been receiving mixed precipitation types of rain, snow, graupel, and hail. Cross your fingers this system moves out and allows us a shot at the summit!

RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and the Team

Approaching the foot of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection Orizaba on the drive to Piedra Grande Hut. Photo: RMI Collection

On The Map

Sign Up For Mexico 2015 Email Alerts


More Entries