Mexico Volcanoes: Hello from Mexico City

Hi, this is Stuart checking in for the Alpine Ascents Mexico Volcanoes trip . Our last trip of three this season down here. After prudently cancelling trips last season due to the worldwide COVID pandemic we have worked hard this year to make this happen safely. I am pleased to report all but one of our climbers on the team consisting of Victor, Mark, Brett, Zane, Keith, Waco and Kent have arrived here safely today or in the past couple of days with all their bags. Katelyn’s flight was delayed and she will, I am sure, be with us a little later this evening. All are repeat Alpine climbers which is great to see and the Mexico volcanoes will be a valuable progression as they take climbing a little further and higher

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 went smooth which is a testament to the individuals’ preparedness and attention to detail. We then went out a few blocks away to a great Argentine steak restaurant Quebracho for some steaks washed down with a little Malbec, Pino Noir and some cactus drink. I have used it for the welcome dinner for the past 10 or 11 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, overcast 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. Today was mostly sunny and pleasantly warm. Hopefully these systems are bringing some needed snow to the mountains as well, there have been a few too many low snow seasons down here in the recent past. Mexico City is particularly vibrant this time of year with Valentines day coming up. This trip already touches on the senses and the holiday just adds to it

Tomorrow we will be joined by Arnoldo and his son who do our driving and tour guiding. Arnoldo is the best of the best, you don’t get any better. We normally do 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. Unfortunately the former is closed with the COVID pandemic so we will likely just 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 almost 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.

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