Aconcagua Cybercasts

Aconcagua 2020 – Team Dances with Mules Arrives at Basecamp

Aconcagua 2020 – Happy Thanksgiving from Team Dances with Mules!

COTOPAX STORMS STOPS THE ‘DESPACITO’ ATTEMPT….

After a determined start team Despacito was forced to turn back after a storm pushed through the Andes on Wednesday morning. The team had awoke to lighter winds at the Tambopaxi lodge, and after ‘breakfast’ made their way to the base to start the attempt based on a good forecast. Immediately after reaching the parking lot they knew were in for a long night with the team having to start the initial approach to the refuge battling 30-40mph winds. Strong precipitation, along with freezing conditions, started to take its toll on the climbing gear but the team battled on and by the time they reached the third stop the team was hoping that Cotopaxi / ‘Mamacita’ would relinquish and give them a gap in the storm and allow them to pass. Along with Ecuador’s ‘secret weapon’ (Nicolas Miranda) the team continued to push and as other climbing teams turned back the team struggled on wanting to see if things would ease at higher altitudes. Ultimately the storm proved too dangerous and team made the decision to turn back. After a tricky a decent, in worsening conditions, the team arrived back to lodge. With equal disappointment AND excitement having experienced a great mountaineering test. The team remains in good spirits and will move on to Chimborazo to assess the summit bid later this week.

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Aconcagua 2020 Team Dances with Mules hits the Trail!

Aconcagua 2020 Season Begins! Welcome Team “Dances with Mules”

TEAM DESPACITO REVIEWS SKILLS AT 17,000 FEET

Fueled by “quimbolitos” (the Ecuadorian sweet corn cake), the team climbed to 17,000 feet given them a taste of what Cotopaxi has in store for them. Mountaineering skills were reviewed, confidence was built and the Team Despacito continued to acclimatize. Following that the team returned to the Tambopaxi lodge to enjoy a well deserved hot meal with views of the mountain in front of them. They say thank you to their family and friends for checking in. Quimbo, Coto and Poncho signing out for now. More soon!

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TEAM “DESPACITO” REACHES THE SUMMIT OF PICHINCHA VOLCANO

Hi everyone! Taking advantage of a spectacular morning in the Andes of Ecuador, team members: Jack (A.K.A. Poncho) Oscar (A.K.A. Quimbo) and Shane (A.K.A. Coto) summited Pichincha volcano (15,413 feet) today. By doing so, they all set up a new personal altitude record!!! Big congrats Team Despacito!!! By the way, “Despacito” means “Slowly” in Spanish. The team celebrated by having delicious hamburgers at Chios Restaurant back in Quito. They are all doing well and happy to have enjoyed a fantastic view of the Ecuadorian mountains this morning (including Cotopaxi). They say “hi” to family and friends! Thanks for following! More soon!

 

 

 

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Team “Despacito” Gets Started!

Hello family and friends! Jack, Oscar and Shane have arrived to the highlands of Ecuador. They are “Team Despacito”. Today, they hiked to the summit of an old volcanoe called Pasochoa 4,190 m/13,746 ft to start their acclimation proccess. They are going to try toclimb Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Wishing them a great time in Ecuador!!! Best to you all

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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

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