Hasta la vista Winter..heading south as far as we can on a new Rad-icle Edventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by flyingdutchman177, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

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    Baja is good
    Cliffhanger alert. :) I love your posts. That hot pool would have been great with an extra 50 kilos....the trip to the top, not so much.

    Keep 'um coming. TIA.
  2. flyingdutchman177

    flyingdutchman177 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Here is a little teaser.....
    It is the second most prominent volcanic peak in the world, just behind Mt Kilimanjaro. It soars to 18,500 feet. At the summit, the oxygen levels are less than half of what they are at sea level. It is the highest mountain in Mexico and the 3rd highest in North America. Most everyone that tries to get to the top seems to hire a guide. It is not a hike......it is a climb. There is no trail to follow only paths. It gets progressively steeper at the top and you need to use not only your legs but your arms to pull yourself up. Take the wrong path and you're fucked!
    This is Pico de Orizaba. It can be seen from just about everywhere in Puebla and Veracruz states.
    I went last week and got close but was not prepared. Wisely, I didn't try.
    But this mountain and the challenge were calling to me so I had to return. I don't like putting off things just because I can or it is convenient.
    To be honest, I was a bit frightened and I am not sure why. I had done much more difficult hikes (like the one in Nepal that I don't think anyone had ever done before alone and unsupported). I knew it would be tough and i knew it was going to be painful.
    So why do it i kept asking myself????
    I honestly can't answer that question. I guess i enjoy the challenge. And i know i don't like to fail.
    So here goes.... on my way back to conquer Orizaba!!!! Screenshot_20210327-120321_Gallery.jpg
  3. AirDrive

    AirDrive Terminal No0b

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    Getting your bike back on it's wheels at near 14,000 ft., would be..........challenging?
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  4. flyingdutchman177

    flyingdutchman177 Adventurer

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    This mountain is F'ing huge!!!
    Riding around it takes half a day.
    And look at that glacier!!
    It is very intimidating to look at.
    It even makes it's own clouds and weather
    Screenshot_20210324-203325_Gallery.jpg
    Some very beautiful crater lakes to see long the way.
    Screenshot_20210324-203350_Gallery.jpg
    20210324_122312.jpg
    I returned to the saddle between Sierra Negra and Orizaba. I parked my bike at the shelter there at 4000 meters. It was afternoon. I carried everything I would need with me for the next day and that night.......food, water, warm clothes, sleeping bag.......only what was absolutely essential. I hoped my bike would still be there the next day.
    20210324_160458.jpg
    Then I walked up 2+ hours up the road and trail that was too rocky and sandy for my GS towards the refugio at 4600 meters to spend the night carrying everything with me. The whole time, the mountain was staring back at me.
    20210324_161959.jpg
    I got up to the refugio before sunset. I had my Camelback with water and everything else that I needed for the night in a grocery bag. It was the best I could do. I was going light
    20210324_181445.jpg
    Literally when the sun went down, I was freezing. Before it got dark, I was already in my sleeping bag to try and stay warm. I didn't even eat much that evening.
    You have to understand, at 4600 meters, over 15,000 feet in elevation, you don't feel good. You don't feel hungry. And just breathing is difficult just lying there. Just sitting up or taking a few steps and you are out of breath. And trying to sleep when your lungs are fighting for oxygen, is difficult. And then, trying to keep from freezing because I don't have the right equipment for 4600 meters all makes for a long night. Also, I think I was dehydrated. And my head began to throb because of the lack oxygen........tell me again why I am doing this???????
    20210324_181445.jpg
    Some other guys from Puebla came up in the night to sleep in the refugio as well. Their plan was to wake up at 3 am to attack the mountain. They had a guide with them to show them the way. I asked why so early and they didn't have a good answer. They said it would take between 4 to 6 hours to reach the summit and because the weather can change quickly at 18,500 feet, it is best to get off the mountain early. I guess that is a good reason.
    I was confident that I could get up quicker. Plus I didn't want to get up that early. I didn't want to be hiking in the dark when I didn't really know my way up the mountain. And I didn't want to be out there in the darkness in sub freezing temperatures.
    So I set my alarm at 5:20 am and tried to get some sleep.
  5. Bgunn

    Bgunn Posible mañana

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    Rockford.Wa - Yuma.Az
    Not sure either.....but we enjoy the hell out of it!
    poppawheelie, BarryB, #1Fan and 2 others like this.
  6. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows

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    Jan 24, 2008
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    Base of Mt Princeton
    You’re really screwing with the Starbucks image the big GS has. Keep it up!
    You are also a couple of thousand feet above my max altitude without O2. Tough hombre that you are.
  7. flyingdutchman177

    flyingdutchman177 Adventurer

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    I started out about 5:40 am.
    I couldn't sleep any more anyway.
    I actually stayed somewhat warm that night once my body warmed up my sleeping bag. I had a t shirt, jacket and down vest on inside my bag.
    But I was out of breath just lying there in the shelter at over 15,000 feet.
    Plus my mind was going......I just wanted to get it done.
    It was completely dark out when I set out. The nearly full moon had set so it was very dark but I could still see the mountain in front of me. Guided by my headlamp, I started working my way up the mountain. The day before, I studied my route up. The goal is to stay on the rock outcroppings and off the loose sand and gravel. The first part was easy actually and I knew I could do it in the dark. Within about 15 minutes, I could see the first light on the horizon. Some how this gave me confidence like there was somehow a possibility of the sun not coming up that day. Within an hour, the sun broke the horizon but was behind the mountain most of the morning. The temperature remained below freezing the entire time up. I could tell because my Camelback drink tube would freeze up. But there was not much wind so I never got really cold because I was moving and working hard. Fortunately I made a good plan and judgement leaving when I did, because when it became more technical and difficult to follow my intended route, it was light out enough that I could plan ahead my way up. In some ways, it wasn't difficult because as long as I was going up, then i was i going the right way. But the trick was to stay on a path so you didnt wind up leaving the rocks and trying to climb on pure sand and gravel. The gravel was slippery and exhausting to make progress.
    After an hour i was super pumped because I thought I had made good progress. I thought I am gonna do this mountain in 2 hours....... And then after another hour, I realized that I had barely made much progress. I looked back and then looked up. Maybe I was half way up, but I had the hardest and steepest stuff coming up. Think of the shape of a classic volcano.......the top part is nearly vertical.......right? Yep, that is what I was up against. From the bottom, it is hard to tell, but when you get half way up, you say.......holy FUCK, this is a bitch.
    20210325_064504.jpg
    Pardon my language but it is the only way to try and describe it. The air is so thin that you can only take a few steps and then you have to stop and rest. I was gasping for air, trying to take in as much of the 50% O2 in to my lungs
    I saw the guys coming down that started at 3 am. I asked them how much further I had. They said 2 more hours. I had already been going for 2 1/2. I was shocked because the summit looked to be close. But that was the crazy thing....i had gone for 2 hours and the summit still looked like it was the same distance away from me. At that point i realized, this is not going to be easy but at no point did i ever want to give up. I just thought this is going to take longer than i had expected. On my side was the weather.....light winds and not a cloud in the sky.......let's keep moving.
    Having a guide would have been a big advantage. I often found myself going a bad way up and then had to correct a little which cost me time but more importantly, energy. I had a limited amount of time but even more limited energy. And my energy was being drained fast by the altitude and the lack of oxygen.
    When I got to the steepest part toward the end, I made my first big mistake. I found myself at the end of a rock outcropping and on to pure gravel. I needed to get to more rocks which meant having to cross the gravel. At this point, the mountain is at about a 45 degree angle but seems more like 70. I felt like I was literally flying in the air. Making the crossing in the gravel was scary because I was so high up in the air, I needed to keep from slipping thousands of feet down the side of the volcano and I only had a finite amount of energy to keep from sliding down. Long story short, naturally I made it because I am here to tell the story. But i was exhausted. I could see the top of the volcano just ahead of me.....the rim of the crater. It was right there but literally took 30 minutes to get there.
    At the top was the wreckage of an airplane that had crashed at some point. I don't know the history but it looked relatively fresh. It was badly crumpled but largely intact.
    It was also at this point I realized that what I thought to be the top wasn't really the top. I still had another 20 to 30 minutes to go to reach the rim of the crater. And I am getting my ass kicked. But I was almost there.
    20210325_095056.jpg
    The final few feet still took me 5 minutes as I had to rest every 20 steps. My last push I made 45 steps without a rest. And then success!!!!! The summit.
    18,490 feet up. A personal record. That was more than I've been in India, Nepal or Bolivia. It is actually higher than Everest Base Camp to give you an idea just how high this is.
    And OMG, what a view at the top
    Look at how small Sierra Negra mountain looks in that last photo.....it is 4600 meters or over 15,000 feet. It is the mountain with the big telescope at the top that I hiked up the week prior
    20210325_102148.jpg
    What really surprised me was the enormous crater that was 1000 feet deep literally straight down. I ain't going near that thing.
    Screenshot_20210327-172505_Gallery.jpg Screenshot_20210327-172521_Gallery.jpg
    I did a video at the top. I will post it on IG soon. But literally I couldn't talk......I think because of the lack on oxygen to my brain.
    I couldn't stay at the summit long....I felt literally the clock was ticking. I had to get down to some thicker air before I get sick. I felt like I was going to Barf and felt a mighty headache developing. I think I was only at the top for 15 minutes, maybe 20 max and started my way down. It was sort of sad because of all my effort I made, I couldn't spend time to enjoy it. But I was the only one there and surely, no one else was coming up that day.....maybe all week. I couldn't afford to get sick. I needed to go down.
    There was some ice at the top and on the north side a giant glacier covered the side of the volcano.
    Screenshot_20210327-172452_Gallery.jpg
    Going down was almost as hard as going up. I was exhausted. I took one of the gravel shoots and slid 90% of the way down, falling occasionally too. It took me 3 1/2 to go up and a little over an hour to get down because of all my sliding. Easy to twist an ankle but nevertheless, the fastest way down the mountain, literally skiing on gravel in my now torn up boots.
    So 5 hours from the refugio to the top and back down in 5 hours.....I think that is pretty fast. But still it was much much tougher than I had thought.
    I was still feeling sick. I was still at over 15,000 feet and had to get back to my bike at 13,000 feet, which meant another 2 hours of walking. I literally was walking like a zombie the rest of the way down. And then I got to my bike, I still had only about 60 percent of the oxygen so I needed to get down further
    I packed up my bike and rode 3 hours down the mountain to the town of Coscomatepec, got a hotel room, took a long hot shower, the first in a week, got some food, breathed nice thick air and fell asleep with the lights on and on top of the covers. I didn't wake up until the roosters started their songs in the morning.
    Winning!!!!!
    Hell ya!!!!! Or as they say here in these parts.......a huevo!!!!!
  8. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    Wow what an accomplishment! Congratulations Ed
    flyingdutchman177 likes this.
  9. Burro driver

    Burro driver dba John

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    Montrose, Colorado.
    Good job!!
  10. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows

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    Base of Mt Princeton
    Getting your ass kicked, but kicking ass and Winning! :rilla
  11. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy Supporter

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    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    You definitely have some Grande huevos! Congrats.
  12. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

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    Nicely done!!!
  13. NAVIGATOR

    NAVIGATOR Wanderer

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    SOUTH OF THE USA BORDER(friendlier Mexico)
    lucky that the weather was on your side, specially in winter and spring that mountain can be sunny and bright and in minutes change to a heavy blizzard or storm with high winds, snow and hail.
    It´s so dangerous that there are bodies of climbers that are buried in the snowy area (north) a few years back they found three climbers that were lost there since 1959, (with global warming the glacier has melted).
    https://www.google.com.mx/url?sa=t&...-mexico.html&usg=AOvVaw33b2r2tA2_fN5LXw1zOMO5

    You Sir took a big gamble and won congrats!!!!!:clap:photog
    ChadADV, mart´n, Scribe and 3 others like this.
  14. cycle rider

    cycle rider scooter

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    May 14, 2006
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    cali beach
    So Cool- THANKS
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  15. Motoman66

    Motoman66 Green Rider

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    Houston
    Hi Ed, congrats for the summit. On my bucket list ! Popocatépetl done already back in the 90's on Snowboard. Crazy times. :photogGlad you enjoy Mexico so much. Find a local Unicorn and then your Spanish will make great progress !
  16. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

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    Congrats, Ed! Freaking awesome!
    flyingdutchman177 likes this.
  17. Vrode

    Vrode Still learning.... Supporter

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    Amazing Ed! Kudos for sticking with it. I was getting lightheaded just thinking about walking at that altitude.
    flyingdutchman177 likes this.
  18. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    north vancouver bc
    Yikes! Well done!
    flyingdutchman177 likes this.
  19. JMforPres

    JMforPres Long timer Supporter

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    Amazing! Thanks for documenting your story so well.
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  20. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Long timer

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    Great story!!! Great pictures!!!
    flyingdutchman177 likes this.