Hi, this is Stuart checking in for the Alpine Ascents Mexico Volcanoes trip. Our first trip of three this season. I am pleased to report all of our climbers on the team, with the exception of one, consisting of Steven, Matthew, Samuel, Duane, Alaine and Jeffrey have arrived here safely today or yesterday with all their bags. We are still waiting on Thomas who was delayed a little with work but we are looking forward to seeing him in the morning.
This afternoon we all met up in our hotel gardens, the Maria Cristina in the heart of Mexico City for a quick gear check, orientation and team introductions. The gear check this year was uneventful unlike this time last year when an Earthquake took place during it. We then went out a few blocks away to a great Argentine steak restaurant Quebracho for some steaks washed down with a little Malbec. I have used it for the welcome dinner for the past 7 or 8 years and have always found it to be excellent and again it did not disappoint this time around.
Everybody is doing well, some a little tired from the travel, but looking forward to the trip ahead. It’s a nice cool, clear fall evening here in Mexico City. We had fairly heavy rain a couple of days ago in Mexico City but that seemed to clear up the mugginess and improve air quality. These systems are moreover bringing some needed snow to the mountains and by all reports it seems we are going to get some good conditions underfoot. Tomorrow, after a quick visit to the National Museum of Anthropology and the The Zócalo which is the main square in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City, we will leave the city and head east to the mountains. En route we will stop off at Amecameca for lunch and to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, bottled water, and some other last minute purchases at the local market
Our first objective is Iztaccíhuatl, a 5,230 m (17,160 ft) mountain. It is the nation’s third highest, after Pico de Orizaba 5,636 m (18,491 ft) and Popocatépetl 5,426 m (17,802 ft). The name “Iztaccíhuatl” is Nahuatl for “white woman”, reflecting the four individual snow-capped peaks which depict the head, chest, knees and feet of a sleeping female when seen from east.
I am greatly looking forward to piecing together a successful expedition, success not solely based on whether we summit or not, but having a safe, fun time down here. I will try and cybercast each day but no news is always good news and no need to worry, your family and friends are in good hands. It seems in the past few years in particular satellite reception on Izta is somewhat spotty and it all too frequently cuts out. Again, all is well here and thanks for tuning in.
The Team is enjoying a well deserved rest today in the beautiful city of Puebla after our success on Iztaccihuatl yesterday. We are staying in the historic center which deservedly is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We are all greatly looking forward to our next objective El Pico De Orizaba tomorrow.
We awoke yesterday at our high camp hut, the Otis Macallister, at the base of the Ayoloco Glacier in the early hours to a beautiful night. Earlier in the evening, we were rewarded with spectacular views of the lights of Amecameca, Tlalmanalco, and Mexico City. Myself, Carlos, and Fernando our local guides, and 7 of our 8 climbers made the summit in good style just after the sun was rising. Each team member at some point had to dig deep and their success is testament to the tenacity, fitness, and perseverance they all exhibited. The going was far from easy due to continuing glacial recession compounded by an exceptionally low snow year this season thus far. We were all however amply rewarded for our efforts with spectacular views on what was a beautiful, clear sunny day. I want to give a shout out to Ben our climber who unfortunately did not make it. He woke up with a bad cough and quickly we realized it was not to be his day. Ben had to work harder than any of us yesterday. Ben got down under his own steam from 15,200ft and he accomplished this in style. My hat off to you sir. After we all descended down to the La Joya trail head we were meet by Arnoldo, our driver and tour guide, who had kindly prepared a lunch for us and had our welcome change of clean clothes. The team spent today on a tour with Arnoldo, sightseeing in the historic old town of Puebla, Cholula and relaxing in our beautiful boutique hotel the El Sueno. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I have included some here to give you a glimpse of our trip so far. Everyone says “hello” and sends their love and we are all looking forward to future successes on Orizaba in the coming few days.
Thanks for tuning in.