Please bear with me, this was a big trip. I learned a lot so this is going to be a long blog post! If its boring for you, just look at the pictures :)
Dec 26-27th - Travel
|Pico de Orizaba, Western aspect. Viewed from a acclimatization hike|
We drove up to LA the night before and caught a rather painless flight to Mexico city the next morning.
|Easy travel. What else could we ask for?|
|Driving through Mexico city.|
We arrived fairly late at the Servimont climbers hostel, and I was immediately impressed with our choice of outfitter. The facility was over 200 years old, and the owners have been serving climbers for three generations. The hostel was originally a soap factory that had been converted into climber accommodations. They had hot, delicious food waiting for us when we arrived. Talk about service!
|In the dining hall on our first night|
|Servimont climber's hostel|
The next few days were acclimatization days, getting our bodies ready for high altitude. You can't rush acclimation, and I am really glad we followed the plan laid out by the owner of Servimont, Dr. Rheys.
We got to sleep in, then proceeded to our first acclimatization hike.
On the way we passed through the Mexican country side and a very tiny village. It was a bit surreal. There were chickens and stray dogs everywhere, farm animals tethered to the front of people's houses. We even saw a horse drawn plough working the fields.
The poverty was a bit staggering
|Typical scene in the Mexican country side.|
We were drive to about 11,000' where we met our local guide, Horhay who brought us up to about 13,500' below the west glacier of the mountain. The guide had 2 very friendly dogs (named cappuccino and coffee) who's company we really enjoyed. Two other Californians joined us (Andrew and Sean), both affable, friendly guys. For me one of the great parts of this trip was all the interesting and friendly climbers we met along the way.
|Admiring the view|
|Coffee takes a break!|
|Our guide, Jorge, takes a moment to himself.|
|Teresa enjoys the waterfall|
After our hike, we headed back to the village of Tlachichuca and explored for the afternoon. Its a cute little village, cobblestone streets, very old buildings, and a central square and church which make up the heart of the village. The church had some very interesting decorations. There were a series of mosiacs on the outside made from corn and other seeds!
|Church in the Square|
|Seed and corn mosaic on the Tlachichuca church|
Perhaps like small villages in Europe, Tlachichuca has a very informal economy. Really small shops, no corporate influence at all. There is daily market where you can buy everything from your groceries, to shoes, to lingerie!
The following day was a bit chaotic as all the groups prepared to head out for their various objectives. It really felt like expedition climbing watching everyone sort out there gear, and plan out how the outfitter was going to transport everything.
Unlike most of the groups who were going straight to the hut at 14,000', we were going to do another acclimation day, hiking to a camp at 12,000', then hiking again to the hut at 14,000'. The cool thing is that the outfitter was going to ferry our loads, so we did not have to carry all our gear. How lazy!
Everyone loaded up the 4x4 truck, and off we went.
|Climbers getting ready to go.|
|Temporary road block|
|Michael - like a sleeping baby|
|Who said mountain climbing was hard?|
|Troy - camp chef extraordinaire!|
As the day went on, the weather improved, so my optimism slowly grew throughout the afternoon.
|The hut at 14,000'|
|Michael is happy at camp with his huge mitts|
|Views from the tent|
|Things start to clear as the sun sets|
Dec 31 - Summit Day