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Entries By joe hoch

Mt. Baker Ski: Hoch & Team reach 7,500ft

RMI Guides Joe Hoch, Sam Marjerison & Tom Skoog led a team of skiers and climbers to 7,500' on Mt. Baker.  Although the snow conditions were good, poor visibility with whiteout conditions prevented the team from going any higher.  They were able to do some additional skills training and enjoyed the days spent on the mountain and skied really fun powder back to camp.

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Mexicos Volcanoes: Hoch & Team Turned Back on Orizaba, Conclude Trip

After two successful summits of La Malinche and Ixta, team Mexico Volcanoes took our show back on the road to the small town of Tlachachuca to prepare for our climb of 18,500' Pico de Orizaba. 

Our perfect sunny weather continued as we gear exploded and sorted on the lawn of our Mexican outfitter Servimont. After a quick lunch we loaded into the 4x4 trucks and 1964 Dodge Powerwagon that take us to our basecamp. A couple bouncy hours later, we unloaded, dusted off and set up the tents for a quick sleep. 

11:30pm dawned calm and star-lit, and we made quick work of the lower part of Orizaba. As we neared 17,000 feet, the sun came up and gave us the spectacular and classic pyramidal mountain shadow that Orizaba is famous for. 

As we climbed higher, it became clear that rumors of a very icy summit section were true. We watched as multiple teams above us on the steep summit headwall found more of the bullet-hard ice we’d found lower on the glacier, and winds strong enough to put them down on that ice multiple times. 

We had a chat as a group and concluded that our 18,000 foot high point (highest for all but the guides!) was certainly the best spot to turn around. It was a hard decision as Orizaba was our biggest goal. But ultimately we all agreed that safety on this huge exotic mountain was number one. 

We descended into a hot sunny afternoon and enjoyed our final evening with a delicious dinner, then made our way to the airport in the morning to some fond farewells. 

Until next time Orizaba!

Thanks to the team for a great trip and way too many memories to list here! 

RMI Guides Joe Hoch & Sam Hoffman

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Mexicos Volcanoes: Hoch & Team Enjoy Rest Day, Ready for Orizaba

A needed rest, headed to Orizaba!

After our success on Ixta, Team Mexico Volcanoes settled into a very well deserved couple of nights and a day of rest in beautiful Puebla, Mexico. 

Everyone got some sleep, washed off the mountain, and checked out the colonial buildings and many cathedrals and artisan markets. 

After a great team dinner and another night of rest we got up early and hit the road to Tlachichuca, and our final and largest mountain, 18,500’ Pico de Orizaba

Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Joe Hoch

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Mexicos Volcanoes: Hoch & Entire Team Reach Ixta Summit

100% Summit on Ixta!

After welcoming us to La Joya basecamp with a lovely warm sunset and delicious dinner from our Mexican host company, 17,160’ Ixtaccihuatl showed us that she is still a huge wild mountain. Out of the calm starry night sky, winds suddenly gusting 40-50mph forced us out of our sleeping bags and we scrambled to move our tents in the dark to the shelter of the old basecamp refugio. But our crew laughed it off as ‘adventure!’ And the next two days on the mountain showed everyone what a Mexican wilderness alpine experience can be. Complete with a spectacular high camp, billowing ash from our volcanic neighbor Popocatéptl, and the best sunset some of us have ever seen. 

On summit morning the crew climbed strong and right before sunrise, 100% of the team stood on Ixta’s summit. A new high point for the majority of the team!

We’re headed now to the colorful colonial city of Puebla, where we’ll enjoy a well earned rest day and prepare for 18,500’ Orizaba. 

RMI Guide Joe Hoch

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

This is so cool! Great job Clay and team, impressed and proud of you!

Posted by: Stephanie Colton on 2/8/2024 at 1:28 pm

So proud of you Christopher! We love you!!

Posted by: Leslie on 2/7/2024 at 6:23 pm

Mexicos Volcanoes: Hoch & Team Reach Summit of La Malinche for Acclimatization

A La Malinche summit!

Yesterday team Mexico Volcanos got up early and left Mexico City, hoping for an early departure from the trailhead for our first volcano, 14500 foot La Malinche. 

Recently, the Policía de Montaña, some of whom carry inappropriately large machine guns(tough to argue with), have been quite strict about turning all climbers around at 2pm, no matter your location or fancy technical outerwear. They mean well, as many folks attempt this very large mountain in jeans and street shoes, and seemingly no water or food. With our drive from Mexico City, it would be a push to make it, but the team was willing.

We left the park entrance with 4,500 feet to cover at around 11:30am. The team understood that it would be a little faster pace than normal to make it happen and evade la Policía, but they were up for it. 

At 3 pm, 3.5 hours and 4,500 feet later, we scrambled to the rocky summit of La Malinche with a beautiful view and not a cloud in the sky. There stood a single Policía de Montaña, who said simply, “Bajo por favor, ahora! (Down please, now!).”

We negotiated quickly for, “Solo una foto?(Just one photo?).” He was grumpy but willing, and as we took one picture of the team on the summit, the views were incredible of Volcan Iztaccihautl and Orizaba, our next two volcanos. 

Once we left the strict gaze of our friendly Policía on the summit, we were able to take some well earned relaxing breaks on our descent and enjoy the company of our new mountain dog friends, who showed us a thing or two about negotiating the loose boulder fields. 

A customary feast of barbecued steak and cactus tacos awaited us at our cabins in the forest below La Malinche, and it was an early bedtime!

The crew is super excited for our successful summit, and ready to hit the road and head to our next adventure, 17,159' Volcan Iztaccihautl!

RMI Guide Joe Hoch

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Way to go Connor and Aleeza! Props to Aleeza for representing for the ladies!!

Posted by: Amy Lewis on 2/5/2024 at 9:53 am

Mexico Volcanoes: Hoch & Team Meet Up in Mexico City

And we're off!

The Mexico Volcanos crew arrived last night to the Hotel Geneve in Mexico City. After some introductions, we made our way to a local taco spot and chatted about our upcoming trip. 

This morning the crew was up early and ready to head to our first volcano, La Malinche. 

Many more tacos and mountains await!

RMI Guide Joe Hoch

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Mexicos Volcanoes: King & Team Reach Summit of Pico de Orizaba

The team stood on top of Pico de Orizaba at 7:30 this morning. We had calm air and partly clear skies to begin our hike up the steep moraine trail. Once in the labyrinth the trail was covered in firm snow & ice, which was unexpected based on how dry the surrounding area was. The team was moving up the glacier around 5 am. Once on the summit the pyramid shadow cast by the rising sun greeted everyone and was a highlight of the trip. The descent is always hard on toes and knees but we got back to Piedra Grande hut and packed up for the bumpy ride down in the trucks. 

We are back in Sr. Reyes’ hostel and packed for flights tomorrow afternoon. This has been a great trip with a stellar group of climbers, especially since we had summits on Ixta via a forgotten route and a classic Orizaba summit day. Thanks for following along.  

RMI Guide Mike King


Photo credit: Mike Greene

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hey Mike!
That is Awesome!! Brings back Great memories!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 1/22/2024 at 7:15 am

Our son Matt was in your group enjoyed the update and pictures. Thanks for the great job as a guide and keeping everyone safe

Posted by: Barb Coble on 1/20/2024 at 5:22 pm

Mexico Volcanoes: King & Team Enjoy Day in Puebla

We had a nice relaxed day off in Puebla yesterday. The team struck out in some smaller groups to walk around Puebla. Seems like good  food, drink and site seeing was had. Today we head to Tlachichuca for a quick stop at Servimont’s historic soap factory turned climbers hostel to repack for our last summit attempt, Pico de Orizaba 18,491’. The remainder of the day will be spent taking trucks up a long and windy road to the Piedra Grande hut. Once there we will go for a short hike uphill to see the rocky and circuitous trail we will begin our climb on. We’ll check in hopefully from the summit tomorrow morning with a more detailed report once back down to the hostel. Thanks for following along. 

RMI Guide Mike King

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Mexicos Volcanoes: King & Team Recap Ixta Summit Day

We had some new information about the steep snow slope on the “knees” route upon arrival at La Joya. The slope had not got any new snow and was a firm ice sheet. Having been there last fall I decided that we should come up with a new plan to acclimate our group in preparation for Orizaba. Our local guide Alan had mentioned that climbers had been descending the Ayoloco route. For context the Ayoloco glacier was declared “dead” in 2018. Our guides had used this route to climb Ixta until 2011ish. We decided that if the Ayoloco was descendable then it must be ascendable.  

We set off yesterday into a dry and tall grassland filled with large sporadic pine trees, small lizards currying underfoot at 13000’. We picked our way up a “trail” not frequently used. Our high camp was 1000’ lower than the Refugio on the “knees” route but more pristine. We had a running water source nearby which doesn’t exist higher up. 

Our team wound its way across Ixta’s middle slopes at midnight with the night lights of Mexico City showing the way.   After a circuitous climb of the area formally known as the Ayoloco, we were on the summit at 5 am. Taking in the dawn colors before dropping into the once bountiful Ayoloco valley the team rallied like they have all trip. 

The descent to La Joya aggrieved knees and toes but there’s no motivation like a hot shower, cold drink and rest day. We are in Puebla for a rest day and will repack for our Pico de Orizaba attempt on Saturday. Thanks for following along. 

RMI Guide Mike King

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Mexicos Volcanoes: King & Team Reach Summit of Ixta

January 17, 2024 - 5:50 am PT

Our team reached the summit of Ixta via Ayoloco route. We are descending to high camp and will post a full update once in Puebla.

RMI Guide Mike King

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