Cybercasts

Concluding Cybercast

Friends, family, loved ones, Stuart here from the Mexico Volcanoes Trip. It seems that my last cybercast did not go through, so just wanted to give you all a recap of events and conclude the cybercasts for this expedition. I’m sure now all the climbers are safely back in the United States and Canada, albeit a little tired from our adventures and travels.

Yesterday, I’m pleased to report 11 members of the team summited Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak and third highest peak in North America (18,405 feet). The bulk of our team left our base camp just a little below the Piedra Grande hut (which is just a little under 14,000 feet) just before 3am in the morning and we worked our way up, steadily and conservatively, through a series of gullies at the base of the eastern cliffs of the Sarcophago to the base of the Jamapa Glacier. Here we roped up and donned some crampons. We were able to ascend fairly directly, occasionally switching back towards El Espolon de Oro, the Ridge of the Gold. This was to make the climbing a little bit easier but also to avoid some wind-scoured, icy snow patches, which has unfortunately been the scene of some recent accidents. After about six hours, we reached the Aguja de Hielo, the Ice Needle, it’s a prominent landmark up by the summit crater and from here we worked our way up the crater rim to the summit.
It was beautiful up there! We were rewarded with fantastic views of Popocatapetl, Iztaccihuatl, our first objective and La Malinchi to the west. And to the east, we had the sea of clouds coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, couldn’t see the Gulf itself but some beautiful clouds. The strongest impression I got from the summit and climbing the mountain in general was one of isolation, solitude. When looking down on the plains below us; there was very little sign of man’s influence on the environment, which was completely different character to Itza, our first objective, which of course lies between two of Mexico’s largest urban conurbations, Pueblo and Mexico City itself.
After summiting, we descended back down, met up with our 4×4 Jeeps which took us back down to Zoapan and Osos lodge where we had a welcome celebration dinner.
Just want to give a special mention here to Herb and Michael, our two team members who did not summit Izta. Herb with a little help from Julio, one of my local guides made the summit in good style. He set off in front of the main group and joined us on top. Well done. Michael prudently elected to stay in camp this time around feeling a little under the weather We all missed you up there Michael and the whole team without fear of contradiction knows you gave it your all on both mountains.

Lastly, I just want to say, as ever, I found the Mexicans that we interacted with to be honest, hardworking, more than hospitable and eager to make us at home and see their culture. Everywhere that we traveled was safe, and this trip is a fantastic trip for anyone who has perhaps climbed Rainier or Baker or done a mountaineering skills course with us, and is looking for new challenges. You get up to climb at high altitude (above 18,400 feet) with a minimum of expense and time, and you get a glimpse of a fascinating culture while you’re here. Again a great trip down here, good success on each mountain, success not just in terms of the summit but being part of a safe, environmentally sound expedition and having a fun experience.

Thanks everybody for tuning in. It’s been a pleasure to guide down here once again and wish Dylan all my best on his upcoming trip at the end of the year

Concluding Cybercast

Friends, family, loved ones, Stuart here from Mexico Volcanoes trip. It seems that my last cybercast did not go through, so just wanted to give you all a recap of events and conclude the cybercasts for this expedition. When I get a chance I will sort through some of our climbers photos and post a few. I’m sure now most of the climbers are safely back in the United States and Canada albeit a little tired from our adventures and travels.

Yesterday, I’m pleased to report 11 members of the team summited Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest peak and third highest peak in North America (18,405 feet). The bulk of our team left our base camp just a little below the Piedra Grande hut (which is just a little under 14,000 feet) just before 3am in the morning and we worked our way up, steadily and conservatively, through a series of gullies at the base of the eastern cliffs of the Sarcophago to the base of the Jamapa Glacier. Here we roped up and donned some crampons. We were able to ascend fairly directly, occasionally switching back towards El Espolon de Oro, the Ridge of the Gold. This was to make the climbing a little bit easier but also to avoid some wind-scoured, icy snow patches, which has unfortunately been the scene of some recent accidents. After about six hours, we reached the Aguja de Hielo, the Ice Needle, it’s a prominent landmark up by the summit crater and from here we worked our way up the crater rim to the summit.
It was beautiful up there! We were rewarded with fantastic views of Popocatapetl, Iztaccihuatl, our first objective and La Malinchi to the west. And to the east, we had the sea of clouds coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, couldn’t see the Gulf itself but some beautiful clouds. The strongest impression I got from the summit and climbing the mountain in general was one of isolation, solitude. When looking down on the plains below us; there was very little sign of man’s influence on the environment, which was completely different character to Itza, our first objective, which of course lies between two of Mexico’s largest urban conurbations, Pueblo and Mexico City itself.
After summiting, we descended back down, where our 4×4 Jeeps awaited us to take us back down to Zoapan and Osos lodge where we had a welcome celebration dinner.
Just want to give a special mention here to Michael one of our team members who prudently elected to stay in camp after struggling a little more than most on Izta. We all missed you up there and I know you gave it your best on both mountains.

Lastly, I just want to say, as ever, I found the Mexicans that we interacted with to be honest, hardworking, more than hospitable and eager to make us at home and see their culture. Everywhere that we traveled was safe, and this trip is a fantastic trip for anyone who has perhaps climbed Rainier or Baker or done a mountaineering skills course with us, and is looking for new challenges. You get up to climb at high altitude (above 18,400 feet) with a minimum of expense and time, and you get a glimpse of a fascinating culture while you’re here. Again a great trip down here, good success on each mountain, success not just in terms of the summit but being part of a safe, environmentally sound expedition and having a fun experience.

Thanks everybody for tuning in. It’s been a pleasure to guide down here once again and wish Dylan all my best on his upcoming trip at the end of the year

Audio Post

Audio Post

15 November, 2019 17:04

As ever with an AAI trip, it was highly professional and client-centric and successful.

High camp on Izta at the Otis Mcallister hut
Final push on the summit ridge of Orizaba
Looking over the Valley of Mexico and Mexico City from high camp on Izta
Alpine Ascents Mexico Volcanoes
Photo: Mario Simoes
Alpine Ascents Mexico Volcanoes
Photo: Mario Simoes
Summit ridge of Izta
Street artist in Cholula, Mexico
The Aztec calendar on display at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City
Climbers on a day hike to acclimate near Izta
High camp on Izta at the Otis Mcallister hut
Summit ridge on Izta with Popo in the background
Early morning sunrise with Orizaba castings its shadow
Looking down the summit ridge of Orizaba
Architecture in Mexico City
Mesoamerica artifacts at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City

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