Day 4: Climbing Hut
17 November 2013
We are staying in a small climbers hut at roughly 14,000' where various groups stage and acclimatize for their Orizaba climbs. With so many groups on different schedules, there is constant activity. Last night, a large group woke up, cooked breakfast, then left for high camp at 2 am.
Snuggled deep inside my sleeping bag, I heard a few noises but was soon fast asleep again. Ryan, unfortunately, was not able to go back to sleep and spent the rest of the night needlessly translating Spanish conversations of climbers looking for their gear in the dark.
If I have one super power its that I can sleep anywhere with anything going on around me.
At 7 am, the sun was shining and the sky was clear blue above Orizaba. We ate a quick breakfast and prepared our gear for a haul to high camp - tents, crampons, shovel, freeze-dried meals, etc. For my part, I also added 2 gallons of water should our camp fall beneath the snow line. I'm not a huge fan of hauling 15 extra pounds up past 15,000' but I chalked it up to training for the north pole, tighten the hip strap on my Granite Gear pack and headed up.
It's been a while since I've been involved in the slow back breaking process of gear hauls. 'Moving piles,' Ryan calls it. In no time however I was immersed in the steady rhythm of moving upwards: step, pole plant, strain, step, breath... Ad infinitum. I like traveling by my own power even if it is slow and painful most of the time. But it is at this pace that helps me understand the scale of this place.
Gearwise, I have been pleased with all my choices - although what we are doing right now is hardly severe enough to put any sort of real strain on my equipment. An easy stand out however are my MSR Deploy poles. I've used more than my fair share of trekking poles in my day and these are by far my favorites.
In a few hours we reached high camp, set up one of our tents, stashed our gear (and the water I carried) and headed back down.