Thursday, December 16, 2010

Old Town Outfitters Annual Christmas Party

Yesterday we celebrated our annual Christmas party with a trip out to the local hotsprings then a big ole southern BBQ.


Welber working the grill. All smiles as normal

We had more meat than should be allowed and the litros of gallo seemed to be limitless.


It's always a great time when you get the crew together for food drinks and a massive cornhole tourney!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Northern Traverse Part II

After some R&R at Lake Atitlan we loaded up the team bus and headed out to the mountains.


We dropped into the town of Todos Santos and then climbed our way back out to the plateau at 3300 mts.



This part of Guatemala has some of my favorite riding. It's rocky, craggy, steep and punishing. The northern traverse takes us pretty far out there through towns no tourists ever really get to experience. Except us of course.



We stopped in for the night in the tiny village of 7 Pinos where we stayed in a traditional community hostel. It was an amazing experience living with a family and eating at the table with them.
We even learned how to pat out tortillas!


The views are huge out here.


A 10km grinder up centuries old original Mayan highway.

A few big and bumpy climbs separate valleys and villages each new climb leads to a new downhill and different Mayan group.




One of the last big descents as we continue moving to the east down to the Rio Chixoy.

With 12 days of riding and more than 600 kilometers of Guatemalan soil under the tires, this is no doubt the best way to see ye country.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

KE Adventures "La Ruta Maya"

The KE Guatemala bike season has started! A group of 12 riders landed the 20th of November and we've started making our push across this beautiful country


We start with a couple rides in the Antigua valley. First tackling the Agua volcano ride, then grinding our way up into the mountains on the north side of the valley. Check out acatenango and fuego from the trails up above earth lodge.


After climbing out of the Antigua valley we start a 2 night 3 day push tirades lake atitlan. It's a mix of amazing terrain as we cross the hills and ravines that separate Antigua from atitlan.


One of the highlights is this turn of the century flour mill converted to a B&B. It's a super cool place to overnight on the way to the lake. A throw back to American homestead life.


Talking about throw backs! The trails take us into parts of guate that are like the living pages of a National Geographic Magazine.


We finally made it down to the lake after a few days of sweet riding. The famed "Santa Cat" trail is one of the crown jewels of the atitlan riding experience.



With 5 days of riding under the tires, this is the view from my hammock on our very much needed rest day at atitlan. Stay tuned for the second half of the ride blog.
Mateo


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Sacred Ride




We've been out on the road now for about a week with the guys at Sacred Rides. We started in Huehuetenango and climbed up to the roof of Guatemala and then worked our way down to Todos Santos.



The trail drop is pretty amazing passing through beautiful valleys and sheep pasture land. What comes down must unfortunately also come back up.



Here we are on the climb back out of the Todos Santos valley. The peaks above us are Central Americas highest non volcanic mountains.




Back on top of the plateau the trails are rocky and super technical, just our kind of zoo.




We spent two days up in the altiplano riding at 11,000ft. The rides are super fun and punishing at the same time. It's the kind of place that you better ring your "A" game to come and ride.



The sunsets up on top of the mountains are amazing. It's time for a couple of cold beers and a look out over the horizon at tomorrows ride.

If you need a dose of arse kickin riding get in touch with us at Old Town Outfitters and well get ya out on the trail!
See ya soon

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

GVI Volcano bash Charity


Every year we help GVI (Global Vision International) with their annual Volcano Climbing Charity trip where they raise funds for various educational projects across Guatemala and other Central American countries.


The trip summits 4 volcanoes in just one week! A pretty tall order. Volunteers, past and present get together with other staff members and good folks like you to raise money while out having a great time in the Guatemalan backcountry.

Get involved! Come down to Guatemala and participate int eh fun or just be a donor. Check out the GVI Charity Climb's website

Hope to see you on the trail!
-Mateo

Monday, August 23, 2010



This is the new mtb trail system out at El Zur. Rex and I had hoped that the weather would hold out but it didnt!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Acatenango Overnight

Is it supposed to this nice during the rainy season?


I was on top of Acatenango Volcano the other day guiding a group up the mountain to spend the night. We ran into another one of our groups on their way down who had spent the morning hiking up the big ole beast only to get views of fog.

We had much better luck with stellar weather, crystal clear skies and an amazing sunset. It was one of those days of legend, and oddly enough it came smack dab in the middle of one of the rainiest rainy seasons I can remember.
We camped in "the Pines" expecting the worst.

However, by about 530pm with a cup of hot tea in hand I realized we were about to witness a pretty stellar sunset and view back out to the west overlooking about 10 volcanoes all the way out to the Mexican Border.
It was a pretty great trip. Great friends, good food and weather that couldnt be beat. Hope you guys come by the shop and sign up to drag yourselves up this big old bitch, and I hope you have as great a trip as we just did!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pacaya is now open again and we're excited to get back out to one of our favorite places. We are donating $10 for every tourist that we take to the mountain to help the locals there rebuild after huge eruptions left many homes in the area completely destroyed.



There have been lots of changes to the area with all the recent volcanic activity. Its looks like it snowed a half a foot of volcanic sand out there blanketing everything. All the leaves have been burned off the trees leaving an eerie desolate feeling on the mountain.




Come by Old Town Outfitters to sign up today to climb Pacaya.



See ya on the trail

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Old Town on the Cover of July's BIKE magazine!!!



We made the Cover of July's BIKE magazine.....pretty Cool!!

Check out the article and sign up for one of 3 dates to pioneer this new route at www.adventureguatemala.com

Monday, June 7, 2010

The relief effort continues

As the donations have continued to roll in we have been working very hard out in the communities. We are sending our vehicles to and from San Miguel Escobar 3 times a day to ensure that volunteers can continue to stay involved in the clean up.

Over the weekend your donation dollars at work:

Q2000 - 20 wheelbarrows
Q1000 - various vaccines for the medical clinic
Q1300 - 55 gallons of Diesel for the heavy machinery

Other than these cash donations the Old Town Outfitters office has received local donations from the good folks here in the valley. We have distributed clothing and food to the communities of San Francisco Sales on the slopes of Pacaya Volcano, San Miguel, and La soledad on the slopes of Acatenango volcano.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us out and made donations! Although much head way has been made with the clean up efforts, there is much still to do.
Get in touch with us here in the office to find out how to get involved.
Thanks,

Donations continue to come in which is great.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Money Received and Spent to Date

Thank you to all whom have donated in any way. We are trying our hardest to keep track of all the wonderful donations to make sure they are focused to the families and support the most in need.

Money and donations received to Date through OldTown Outfitters:
-Q 15,607.91
-Medicines
-Diesel
-Clothing
-Food
-Shuttles
-Trucks
-Volunteers!!! *Awesome!!!


Money spent:
200 pounds of Corn Q 300.00
100 pounds of Beans Q 470.00
15 pounds of Sugar Q 50.00
Q 400.00 worth of Diesel
Medical Masks Q 300.00
Gloves Q 300.00
5 pickaxes Q 240.00
5 Hoes Q 250.00
6 Pry-bars Q360.00









Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Volunteers Needed

First of all, the volunteers that have been on site, You Are Awesome! The help you are giving is very necessary and appreciated. Please continue your efforts.

We are still in need of more Volunteers.

Schedule of Volunteers

Date: Mon trough Sunday
Leaving Time: 9am - 1pm
Leaving From: Y Tu PiƱa Tambien (1era Avenida Sur No. 11, Antigua, Guatemala)

What to bring?

- Rubber boots, rubber gloves
- Hat
- Shovel
- Bottle water
- Long pants (no shorts!)
- Sunblock
- Cell phone
- Tifoidea shot (be sure to get one)
- Lots of energy!!!

For more information and donations please contact us via FB or call Blake at: 4298-8159 ; Pablo at: 5876-7355 or Emilio at: 4768-1433

Items that are needed to support a sustainable recovery:
Please donate money for items that cannot be donated. $$$$$
NEEDED IMMEDIATELY:
-Diesel fuel
-Anti-Bacterial soap
-Brooms/ cleaning supplies
-Medical Masks
-Bedding
-Large Pry bars
-Buckets


***Please bring your donations by OldTown Outfitters. (5 Ave Sur #12C)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha



I am sure you have heard of the recent volcanic eruption near Guatemala City,
but we have been affected more by recent Tropical Storm Agatha battering
us here in Guatemala dumping an unprecedented amount rain in 4 days.
Water saturated soil has prevented the constant rain from
being absorbed, thus the entire country has been inundated with water.
Rivers have jumped their banks, bridges have been taken out, and mudslides from flash floods have buried villages and made roads impassable leaving many communities completely cut off from the outside world.




When the worst of the flooding happened a few days ago, we shut our doors
and began collecting food, water, and clothing to distribute to the most
heavily hit areas around the Antigua valley. We were absolutely shocked to
travel just 5 short kilometers down the road from Antigua to find
neighboring villages covered in some places by as much as 9 feet of mud.
For those of you who are familiar with San Miguel Escobar and Ciudad Vieja (towns along our famous “Valley Ride”) route, a massive landslide has completely destroyed 44 homes, partially destroyed countless others and displaced over 200 families. We have since gone there as well with shovels and food to help the people dig themselves out.



Many villages are completely covered in mud and the villagers are left with
nothing. Their houses and belongings completely covered or washed away.
We carried hot food, canned and dried food, and clothing to try and reach
as many people as possible.



Supplies are starting to trickle in from abroad and make it out to the areas
most in need. However, this is going to be a long rebuilding period and
many will be left without. In efforts to provide more long term support to
folks, we are trying to raise money for the following projects:

1. Rebuild homes.
2. Provide basic necessities [food, water, diapers, toilet paper, etc.]
3. Building supplies for reconstruction.
4. Long term aid for folks who lost their entire crop for the year.
5. Vaccines for disease from standing water and thick mud.



We are seeking any amount of donation to help in these efforts. The US dollar goes a long way down here, so any assistance is greatly appreciated. Old Town Outfitters as well as other concerned citizens, business owners and NGO’s are working with a 501c(3) Non-Profit organization from the affected area to channel the funds to those affected. Please request a receipt if needed (only donations over $500 please).

**************************************************************

Please see below for 2 options on how to make a cash donation. Note any deposit should be flagged with “Agatha relief”.

OPTION #1 BANK DEPOSIT

Deposit Info:
Citibank
NY 111, World Trade St., N.Y. 10043
ABA 021000089 or SWIFT CITIUS33
TO BE DEOSITED TO ACCOUNT: 36236584
I/N/O BANCO REFORMADOR, S.A. - GUATEMALA
For Further Credit Account # 4761000494
I/N/O Matthew Ryan Hartell


OPTION #2 PAYPAL.com

Follow this link which will take you through the steps to pay with any major credit card online to our account here in Guatemala. Please label any deposit with “Agatha relief”

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q95PGBVM9BLZE

A Paypal account is not needed, just a Credit Card or Bank Account.

Please look for the Continue without signing in link if you do not
wish to use a Paypal account.


Thanks,
Old Town Outfitters team

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pan American games

This weekend Guatemala hosted the mountain bike portion of the Pan Am games. Our young buck guide and star old town race team captain Pancho was leading the charge of the Guatemalan hopefuls.


Pancho warming up pre race

The racing was fierce with several top US and Canadian riders in the field. Guate was clearly out gunned but still showing up and taking care of business



Todd Wells holding on to the #1 spot up the climb. The hill of pain was a move making spot where a strong rider could make a critical pass as the weaker riders were pushed off their bikes by roots and off cambered steep sand.



Young gunner Pancho manages to keep both wheels turning on the climbs which helped him roll onto a 13th spot finish in the Sub 23 group.



At just over 18 years old Panchito is gonna be a force to be reckoned with at next years games. Thad right a 13th spot finish in his first major competition and barely old enough to compete.
Watch out gringos Pancho will be on the
Move next year!
Congrats on a great race Panchito and the rest of Team Guatemala.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BIKE Magazine Sneak Preview

A few months back the good lads at BIKE MAGAZINE sent a team down to Guatemala to check out the mountain biking scene here. Needless to say we made sure to show them a good time. Jordan Manley took some stellar images of our trip. Having seen his images I thought maybe he had shot in some other location. Damn does he have a good eye. Keep an eye out for his stuff in BIKE and most every SKI publications.

-taking in the sunset in the Cuchumantanes-

A few of the photos from the trip that will soon grace the pages of this summers BIKE magazine telling the story have been leaked to us here at the shop. I figured I would go ahead and post ya a few of these jewels.

-Atitlan Singletrack at sunset-
We greased the trails at Atitlan for a few days making sure to hit all the favorites and a couple stealh new trails as well. We had amazing weather and I think Jordans images can attest to that.

-Mateo roundin it out on a new ride "Ladies Choice"-
Not sure how he can make these images so bad ass, but they're pretty stellar.

-Luisa Getting nasty on the Santa Cat-
For more images go to Jordan's website and hold tight for the images to come out this summer.
-Traffic jam on Volcan de Agua-

Friday, February 26, 2010

Western Highlands Mayan Trail

One of my favorite trips that we do here at Old Town Outfitters is the 3 day trek across the ancient Mayan trade routes that once connected the Maya cities of the lake atitlan area to those of Xela.


The trails wind their way through farms and fields where the locals are going about life in much the same as the generations before them. We camp the first night just outside a traditional Mayan settlemet that has been abandoned after Hurricane Stan came through in Oct. '05. The government has yet to rebuild the road that was washed away forcing the locals there to move up on the ridge


From up on the ridge we traverse the mountain tops at just about 3,300 mts. The mountains cut a ridge that seperates the Xela valley below on one side and the lake titlan caldera on the other. It is a spectacular place to camp.


But the weather can roll in at any moment and close out the view. It always breaks though giving up huge vistas over the pacific ring of fire and the atitlan basin.


It's a stunning view back to the east over looking the lake all the way back to the volcanoes outside Antigua.
The walk continues on the ridge before dropping down some 3,000ft through lush bamboo thickets and dense cloud forest


It's a tough walk, certainly not for the faint hearted, but such amazing areas are worth the effort. Here are a couple more shots from the trip.