Thursday, January 17, 2008

El Orizaba Cuatro!

Or to the Spanish challenged (myself included) - the Orizaba Four! Our intrepid team leaves for Mexico City in a little over 3 days and I thought it good to introduce you to the team. Essentially, we're a team of many things. We are weekend warriors, friends, father's, big mountaineer's, homebrewers, ultra marathoner's, engineer's, instructor's, retired(?), and men with a climbing addiction.

In the photo on the far left is Scott Olmer - ultra marathoner extraordinaire. I've known Scott for nearly 10 years and over that time, we've backpacked and/or hiked 14ers in Colorado, gone on too many hut trips to count, enjoy a good cigar from time to time, and enjoy the finer Colorado micro brews weekly at the Southern Sun Brewpub in Boulder. Scott is a natural athlete and excels in 50/100 mile races a couple times of year - crazy!

In the next photo is the remainder of the team. From left to right is Robert ("The Goat") LeClair, Patrick ("The Navigator") Vall, and Alan ("Big Pappy") Arnette.

I first met Patrick on our Rainier trip in July 2004 and got to know him well over the years on numerous 14er hikes. Patrick owns his own veterinarian practice in Woodland Park, CO, has a wonderful family of 4 children, a very understanding wife (Shannon), and a slight obsession with THE University of Ohio State - this presents a problem at times when he sees a "University of Meeechigan" hiker on some of our summit attempts. Patrick is a very strong yet smart hiker and provides his GPS expertise to our group during the summer climbing seasons. He has written numerous trip reports on SummitPost ( and is a great friend.

Alan, "Big Pappy", Arnette is our hiking/climbing guru. I first met Alan back in 2001/02 through my former spouse and our mutual interest in mountains lead to many hikes in the Colorado high country. Alan has traveled the world in search of mountain peaks to climb, breathed the rarefied air above 25,000', and was the instigator of the 2004 Rainier trip. He provides a wealth of information about mountaineering to both Patrick and I - we're constantly learning more about the topic through his patience and guidance. Orizaba is the final preparatory climb for Alan - he's planning to return to Mt. Everest in April/May 2008 as part of his "Memories are Everything" campaign to raise awareness and donations for the Cure Alzheimers Fund.

So there you have it - the "client" team for Orizaba 2008. I look forward to challenge of Orizaba as well as sharing the summit with some very good friends - it will be an experience! Climb On!

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