Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iztaccihuatl - Climbing a Volcano with Friends

Last weekend, I joined 10 friends from Guadalajara and Mexico City for a 2-day climb of Iztaccihuatl, Mexico’s third highest mountain.  Almost 16 years ago, a few of us had climbed the nearby Popocatapetl volcano before it became active again.  We said back then that some day we also wanted to climb Iztaccihuatl.

Izta is also known as the Mujer Dormida, or sleeping woman because its shape looks like a woman lying on her back with at least 4 main peaks sticking up out of the mountain:  her head, her breast, her knees and her feet.  Our guides took us up towards the “rodillas”, which is the 2nd highest of the peaks at 5048 meters or 16,561 feet above sea level.  What an experience! 

After spending Friday night in Mexico City at the Pink House, the group of us from Guadalajara met up with the others and made our way to El Paso de Cortez at the base of the mountain.  We took the cars a little further to La Joya (3940 meters), got our gear organized (35 lb packs each) and began the climb at 1:30 pm.  Within an hour it began to snow (my friend Lad from Colorado called it “corn snow”).  For about 5 hours we made our way up through beautiful and rugged country—through snow storms, wind, rocks.  The temperature dropped dramatically.  About 6:30 pm we arrived at a rustic shelter called the refugio—a small shed with wood bunks for 24 people.  The altitude here was 4870 meters or 15,600 feet.  We were wiped out…most all of us suffering at some level from altitude sickness—nausea, extreme fatigue, headaches, etc. 

We ate and rested there until our guide woke us a little after 3:00 am on Sunday morning.  Visibility was severely limited by a fog and snow, so we postponed our final push.  But by about 5:30 am, after having eaten and dressed for the ascent, we formed teams of 3 and 4, harnessed ourselves together, and left the shelter.  We used snow axes and crampons to climb the remaining 961 feet to the “las rodillas” peak.  We arrived after about 2 hours of climbing at 7:30 am.

It would have been cool to go further and see la panza and reach el pecho of Izta.  But because of the snow storm and danger of lightning later in the day, we followed our guide’s advice and considered our mission accomplished.  By about 1:00 pm, we were back at La Joya, eating the best quesadillas and soup I’d ever tasted and celebrating our victory.  

It was cool to test our physical and emotional limits against the mountain.  It was super cool to do that together with such good and strong men.  

My friend, James Henderson, made this great video of our experience together: 

Posted via email from Schroeder's Posterous

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Virgin Came By Our House Yesterday

Yesterday afternoon we watched as several thousand people paraded past our house with the Virgin of Zapopan.  It seems that this time of year the small statue is taken from her special cathedral in the center of Zapopan (one of the cities that make up the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara) to make a pilgrimage to all the Catholic temples in and around Guadalajara.  She (her statue) spends the night in each temple--then is carried with much celebration through the neighborhood streets to the next temple--where she spends the next night, and the process continues.  Folks believe that her presence brings blessing and protection to the neighborhood.

Yesterday was our neighborhood's turn.  Everyone started preparing the streets with decoration the day before--sweeping the street, laying a carpet of alfalfa leaves and hanging flags and balloons—excitement in the air. 

Then about 5:00 yesterday afternoon, as the video clip shows, the procession made its way down our street passing a few feet from the door of our house.  I was impressed to see so many people out on the streets to participate with the virgin.  I wondered what moved them to do this.  I wondered if the next generation will do the same. 

The Virgin of Zapopan on Vimeo

Posted via email from Schroeder's Posterous

Last Week in Mexico City

I spent several days in Mexico City last week—went over on Tuesday and spent the time hanging out with old friends and coworkers—and enjoying the “flavor” of Mexico City.  Although the time went fast and I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted, it was a great week and good for my heart to connect with so many friends who are trying to follow Jesus and incarnate Him in and around that huge city.  It was good to listen in on some of their stories of life there.  

I got to stay in the home of my good friends James and Erin Henderson and enjoy their hospitality.  From Tuesday thru Friday, I got to hang out with, eat meals with and drink coffee with the Holcomb and Jenkins families in Cuernavaca, Rodrigo and Rosi Mendieta in Yautapec, Morelos, the Brednich family in Tlalpan, the Torres family in Cuajimalpa, Filadelfo Monterrey in Santa Ursula, Abel Perez in Cuajimalpa, Pedro MarĂ­n in the center of Mexico City, Israel and Nelly Molina in Tlalpan, Ryan and Amanda Gray in Benito Juarez, and Jorge and Hilda Ortega in Tlalpan. 

As always, I was impressed with the enormity of Mexico City—nothing I know compares with it.  As I moved through the transportation system and walked the streets, I felt the pounding of its heartbeat—looked into the faces of the multitudes caught up in its chaos.  

And, as always, I was impressed with the faithfulness of my friends; their desire to participate with God and God’s mission there.  I saw lots of evidence of their perseverance. 

I felt proud that they are my friends.  

Posted via email from In the Middle

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Morgan and Natali Ran a 5K Race

This morning our 16-year old daughters Morgan and Natali ran their first 5K race.  They ran with a crowd of other women in a Mother’s Day Race at a park near our house.  They had lots of fun.  I was super proud. 

We started training for this race in March using a run/walk plan with the idea of running it together.  It was fun training together—watching them grow in confidence and arrive at being able to run the 3.1 miles without stopping.  

But then I found out that this race was only for women.  

I would have liked to have run with them.  But it was fun watching them run! 

Posted via email from The Schroeder's Posterous