Posts

The summit of Mexico's Pico de Orizaba from base camp

And that’s a wrap on the Mexico Volcanoes with 100% success on both the Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba volcanoes!  Our expedition team leader Terray Sylvester recaps the day:

Hello, this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition. It is Monday, October 25th. This morning we climbed up to the summit of el Pico de Orizaba (5636m/18,491ft), the highest volcano in North America and the third highest mountain on the continent.

We left camp at about 1:00am under starry skies and had really good  climbing conditions. Some fresh snow had fallen on the mountain the day before, which made footing a little bit more challenging than usual but at least we didn’t have the icy conditions that can sometimes be present on the upper mountain. We topped out right around 9:30am and took a few summit photos up there in the sun and were back down in camp by noon.

Now we’re back in Mexico City. We had a few celebratory beers along the way. The team is getting ready to fly home out of Mexico City tomorrow. So all in all, it was a great expedition! We had 100% success on our two main objectives Iztaccihuatl and Orizaba and it was great to be down here in Mexico.

Climbers Josh and David on the summit of Mexico's el Pico de Orizaba

Climbers Josh and David on the summit of Mexico’s el Pico de Orizaba

On the upper mountain of Pico de Orizaba

On the upper mountain of Pico de Orizaba

Approaching the summit of Orizaba with the mountain’s shadow to the west

Approaching the summit of Orizaba with the mountain’s shadow to the west

Acclimatizating in Mexico near Pico de Orizaba

Acclimatizating in Mexico near Pico de Orizaba


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

At high camp on Pico de Orizaba, our Ecuador Volcanoes team is preparing for the summit push!

Today we did a good acclimatization hike and refreshed climbing skills we’ll need for our ascent of el Pico de Orizaba. Now the team is in bed in our camp at the foot of the mountain. We’ll get an alpine start tonight, and hopefully be on the summit not long after sunrise!

Elevation: 13,789.37 ft.
Lat: 19.05996 Lon: -97.271254

Central Puebla, Mexico

With a rest day in Puebla, our Mexico Volcanoes expedition team had a chance to explore the historic town.  Terry Sylvester, expedition leader, checks in with today’s dispatch:

Hello, this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition.  It’s Friday, October 22nd.

Today we had a rest day in Puebla.  We had all day to visit museums, get some good meals, and visit some of the historic cathedrals and other churches in this beautiful city.  The weather was great – a little afternoon thundershowers – but otherwise beautiful weather for exploring these historic streets.

Tomorrow we will drive up to San Miguel Zoapan which is the little town where our lodge is located at the base of  el Pico de Orizaba.  We’ll have lunch and then get into 4WD vehicles and make our way up to our base camp at about 14,000 ft. right at the base of the climbing route.  We’ll spend the next day, Sunday, acclimatizing.  Then we will go to bed early, wake up around midnight, and if all goes according to plan, we’ll be on the summit of Orizaba early Monday morning.

So I’ll be in touch with updates as that climb processes.

The beautiful architecture of Puebla, Mexico

The beautiful architecture of Puebla, Mexico

Central Puebla, Mexico

Central Puebla, Mexico

Chalupas with mole poblano for breakfast in Puebla, Mexico

Chalupas with mole poblano for breakfast in Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, Mexico's historic cathedral. Construction started in 1575.

Puebla, Mexico’s historic cathedral. Construction started in 1575.


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

Happy climbers, David and Josh on the Iztaccihuatl Summit

Congrats to our Mexico Volcanoes team as they reached the summit of the first of the two major objectives of the expedition, Iztaccihuatl (5230m/17,160ft).  Here’s expedition leader, Terray Sylvester with the recap of the summit day:

Hello, this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition. It’s Thursday, October 21st.  Today we had a great climb to the summit of Iztaccihuatl, the third highest volcano in Mexico, and the third highest volcano in North America. The summit is 17,160 ft.

We had beautiful weather, we topped out at about 8:00am, so just a half an hour after the sun rose. As we climbed, we had great views of Popocatépetl to the south and the lights of Puebla over to the east. That capped off a good three days on Iztaccihuatl, we were acclimatizing, moving loads over to our high camp and then eventually moved into our high camp at 15,400 ft. before heading for the summit.

Now we’re back in Puebla.  We’ll spend two nights here resting before we head over to Pico de Orizaba, which is the next major objective on our trip.  That is the highest volcano in North America.

So, we’ll stay in touch.

Acclimatizing on Iztaccihuatl. Climbers Josh in the foreground and David behind.

Acclimatizing on Iztaccihuatl. Climbers Josh in the foreground and David behind.

Just below the Iztaccihuati summit. The smoking Popocatepetl in the background.

Just below the Iztaccihuati summit. The smoking Popocatepetl in the background.

Climbers Josh and David at Iztaccihuati high camp after dinner

Climbers Josh and David at Iztaccihuati high camp after dinner

Climber Josh approaching the summit of Iztaccihuati

Climber Josh approaching the summit of Iztaccihuati


In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

 

Now at high camp on Izta, our Ecuador Volcanoes team is preparing for the summit push!

Hello from high camp on Izta! We made good time here this morning and enjoyed a lunch of ramen and carnitas (seasoned pork). Now we’ll rest until dinner.

We’ll do an alpine start tomorrow morning and hopefully be on the summit not long after sunrise. Everyone is feeling good and we’re stoked for the climb.

Elevation: 15,398.69 ft.
Lat: 19.154008 Lon: -98.637506

 

Our Ecuador Volcanoes team is continuing their acclimatizing on Izta and will be moving up to high camp before the coming summit push:

Hi from La Joya camp! We’ll spend a second night here before moving to high camp mañana. Today we took a scenic acclimatization hike to 15,400′. All is well.

Elevation: 12,952.72 ft.
Lat: 19.133538 Lon: -98.652183

 

A quick inReach message from our Ecuador Volcanoes team:

We are in La Joya camp at the base of Iztaccihuatl and all is well. Tomorrow we’ll do our first acclimatization hike.

Elevation: 13,020.67 ft.
Lat: 19.133560 Lon: -98.652226

 

Terray, Josh, and David enjoying the Teotihuacan pyramids. of Mexico

Our second Mexico Volcanoes expedition this month kicked off yesterday in Mexico City.  Here’s expedition leader, Terray Sylvester, with coverage of today’s activities and what’s next:

Hello, it’s October 18th and this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition!  Yesterday our trip started with a visit to the Teotihuacan pyramids on the outskirts of Mexico City.  Those pyramids are the most visited ancient pyramids in the Americas and they’re home to the third biggest pyramid in the world, the Pyramid of the Sun.  Actually the biggest pyramid in the world is also in Mexico.  It’s over in the town of Cholula just a little ways to the east.

We had lunch there and then we had a welcome dinner here in Mexico City, as well.  Great food, saw some Mariachis, and dancing.  It’s pretty festive here in Mexico City right now as the country gears up for the Day of the Dead, which is in about a week.

Today we are getting ready to head off to Iztaccihuatl, which is our first objective of the trip.  We’ll drive to Amecameca today where we will have lunch and then we’ll drive up to Paso de Cortés at about 12,500 ft. which is the pass that Hernán Cortés came over on his way to Mexico City when the Spaniards came into Mexico.

Over the next few days, we will climb Izta!  All right, I’ll be in touch!

Living large and eating well in Mexico!

Living large and eating well in Mexico!

Checking out Mexico's Teotihuacan pyramids.

Checking out Mexico’s Teotihuacan pyramids.

Authentic Mexican cuisine. The real deal!

Authentic Mexican cuisine. The real deal!

Pre-climb Mexican pyramid exploration

Pre-climb Mexican pyramid exploration

Welcome dinner in Mexico City!

Welcome dinner in Mexico City!

Josh admiring the Pyramid of the Sun.

Josh admiring the Pyramid of the Sun.

In addition to these expedition dispatches, you can also follow our teams as they make their attempts on the world’s most formidable mountains on:

Amazon Alexa devices with the Madison Mountaineering Flash Briefing skill:

  • Enable the skill and add to your flash briefing to hear daily audio expedition updates on select expeditions.  Just say, “Alexa, play my Madison Mountaineering flash briefing.

Instagram:

– our Garmin inReach Mini powered real-time tracking map:

100% team summit success on Izataccihuatl in Mexico

Lead guide, Terray Sylvester, provides this detailed recap of our very successful Mexico Volcanoes expedition – the first of two this month!

Hello, this is Terray calling in for the Madison Mountaineering Mexico Volcanoes expedition that is just ending today, October 12th. Over the last 10 days we had a great trip!

It started out with a day in Mexico City. We visited the Teotihuacan pyramids on the outskirts of town – those are the biggest pyramids in Latin America.  And then we drove to Iztaccihuatl, which is the third highest volcano in Mexico and the third highest volcano in North America – it’s 17,160 ft. tall.  We spent three days climbing that and on our summit day, we had absolutely beautiful weather.  Right now the rainy season is starting to taper off, so weather can be a little wet but we had sunny skies all day and we also had fantastic views of Popocatépetl erupting just to the south.  Some of the eruptions were big enough that they made the local news.

From Izta we traveled down to Puebla where we spent two nights and took a rest day.  Puebla is a beautiful, historic city so we had time to visit museums and enjoy some great food.  And then we drove to the little town of San Miguel Zoapan, which is where our lodge is located at the base of el Pico de Orizaba, which is the third highest peak in North America and the highest volcano on the continent.

We piled all of our gear into 4WD vehicles and then we drove up the rough dirt roads to our base camp at about 14,000 ft., spent the next day acclimatizing, and then we climbed to the summit of Orizaba the following day.  Yet again we had just perfect weather – beautiful sunny, cool, fall day.  The mountain had recently recieved some snow, so climbing conditions were about as good as they get on Orizaba – not too icy, excellent path all the way to the top.  At the top, you look down into a circular, deep, dramatic, summit crater.  You can look out toward the Gulf of Mexico to the east.  While you are climbing, you see the lights of Puebla down to the west and lights of Vera Cruz and smaller towns near that city, also down to the east.  There’s also a big telescope array on Sierra Negra, which is a smaller volcano just to the south.

After the climb we were back down in our lodge in Zoapan by about 2 PM.  We had a steak lunch and then we drove back to Mexico City.  And now, today, our guests have time to visit museums – we’re going to the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City and the Frida Kahlo Museum.  We’ll have a farewell dinner this evening and then everyone will head home.

We have another Mexico Volcanoes itinerary starting on October 17th, so check back here – we’ll post regular updates as that trip progresses.

Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico

Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico

Our climbers watching Popocatépetl erupt while climbing to the summit of Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Our climbers watching Popocatépetl erupt while climbing to the summit of Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Sunrise on Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Sunrise on Iztaccihuatl in Mexico

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Success on Pico de Orizaba! Our Mexico Volcanoes climbers topped out on the third highest peak in North America in great weather

Pico de Orizaba summit

Congratulations to our Mexico Volcanoes team that went two for two by submitting Pico de Orizaba today!  Lead guide, Terray Sylvester, has this recap of their summit day:

We enjoyed a great climb to the top of Pico de Orizaba today, with good route conditions, excellent weather and all team members reaching the summit!

 

We left our private base camp near the popular Piedra Grande Refuge at 1 a.m., then picked our way up scree slopes to the toe of the Jamapa Glacier at about 16,500 feet with the lights of Tlachichuca twinkling below us. The bottom of the glacier was icy, so we swung to the right to join the Espolón de Oró (Ridge of Gold), a variation on the standard Jamapa Glacier Route that approaches the summit via somewhat lower angle slopes. As we ascended, route conditions improved until we were climbing efficiently up a well-established track in good styrofoam snow. We stepped onto the top of the third highest peak in North America at about 8 a.m., an hour earlier than we had expected.

 

With cold temperatures in the forecast, we had braced for a chilly, short stay on the summit. Instead, the weather was ideal — relatively warm and no wind. We took our time, snapping photos and enjoying views of Orizaba’s precipitous summit crater and plumes of smoke rising from Popocatépetl to the west. Then we descended back to camp and transferred via 4WD back to our lodge in Zoapan for a late lunch.

Orizaba mountain shadow