Brief Orizaba Trip ReportOn February 28th, 2008 I finished my Guatemala / Mexico Climbing Adventure by with the successful summit of nine volcanoes in the two countries. It was a great trip the culminated at 18,500 feet, the top of Pico de Orizaba. The climbs were all excellent, and provided a great way to see the countries.
While I always stress the importance of proper planning for any climb, sometimes people get too caught up in the details. When climbing, especially in foreign countries, you can never be in control every detail. Therefore, as opposed to posting a trip report about the physical climbing details, I will write the bulk of this email about something far more interesting, poo. I just want to remind everyone, you never know where the surprises will come from.
Unfortunately, during the early morning hours of the Orizaba climb (1:31 A.M. - see photo ¨Loo with a view¨), I was struck with a serious bout of diarrhea (this is coming from a guy who spent 2 ½ years living with a Mayan family in Guatemala and never got sick). It made the climb considerably more difficult as several times during the climb (6 to be exact) my body would warn me approximately 49 seconds before… well, you know. This was incredibly challenging, especially on the steeper sections of the Jamapa Glacier. Have you ever tried squatting on a 40 degree ice slope, pulling off 3 layers of pants, and going to the bathroom within 34 feet of four people you just met, the entire time keeping in mind that if you slip you will plummet thousands of icy feet to your death? Well if not, I recommend trying it, as it is a good test to one´s mental and physical abilities. All poo aside, our entire team (3 great Polish climbers, a Mexican guide and I) made the summit.
Beautiful weather allowed for us to spend a long time on the summit, enjoying views from the third highest peak in North America. I also learned an interesting bit of cultural information during the climb: the word "Zig Zag" exists in English, Spanish, and Polish! Who would have thought?
Just after returning to our 4X4 vehicle at the base of Orizaba, and therefore the safety of the modern world, Peter, a Polish climber in my group turned to me and said:
¨Bryan, my friend. Today you set two personal record. Highest you evar been and most shit in one day!¨
Peter´s impeccable timing practically made me fall to the ground laughing my ass off. If the comment had been made at any time during the climb I probably would have been upset, but it was the perfect way to end our Orizaba adventure.