I recently teamed up with Jonathan Thesenga, Brittany Griffith and Kate Rutherford for 3 weeks of jungle adventure down in the Gran Sabana of Venezuela. We set our sights on the overhanging east face of Acopan Tepui, a formation that has been climbed a few times but still has plenty of potential. The trip couldn’t of been more successful! After 9 days of effort we were able to establish a ground up, grade V free climb that went free at 5.12c. And to my surprise we were able to do the route without any lead bolts, though we placed 5 bolts at belays to facilitate the rappel route. Definitely one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever been on.
For a more in depth report check out Patagonia’s Cleanestline blog.
My good buddy James Lucas wrote a short piece in the newest Rock and Ice magazine about the route I put up on Middle Cathedral last year in Yosemite. You can read the whole story online here: http://www.rockandice.com/inthemag.php?id=67&type=news
After almost two months of being gone Kate and I have made it back to the States. We had a great time while gone, with ok success. We pretty much got skunked in Patagonia this year but still managed to have a good time. Venezuela was the real highlight of the trip. We had a great time and even managed to do a first ascent, which you will hear more about very soon.
But for now it feels good to be back home and not living out of a duffle bag!
More pics and stories to come real soon.
Sadly after only one month of being in El Chalten Kate and I had to leave. We sure didn’t climb much this trip due to the poor weather but that just makes us that much more hungry for the next trip!
And we can’t be to sad that we left because it means we are off to another great adventure in Venezuela. We’ve got a month planned here of climbing on the Tepuis located in the Grand Savannah. No updates from this trip as we will be completely out of touch will gone. But I’ll be sure and post some pics once we return.
Till then here is a link to a really hi resolution (25mb) version of the pic above. Check it out! It’s way cool.
After waiting in El Chalten for close to a month for good climbing weather Kate and I were finally able to make it up to the mountains. We didn’t set our sights to high given the last month of poor weather thus the poor route conditions. We choose one of the smaller mountains in the Fitzroy range, Aguja de la ‘S’, but it turned out to be just the right amount of mountain for us. Here are some pics from the climb.
What can I say but it really sucks down here in Patagonia. Of course that is only the weather I’m talking about! Everything else about Chalten is great. Plenty of good people to hangout with, good climbing in town and no lack of food to eat. We’ve only been here ten days but it seams like much longer, it also feels like we have to leave in no time at all (though we really have till the 6th of Feb).
I spend a lot of my time staring at my computer looking at every different available weather forecast on the internet, hoping that one of them is going to show good weather. Right now they all show bad weather. In a recent NatGeo Magazine article by Kenneth Brower I came across of very fitting quote describing the weather down here.
“…for these far southern latitudes circumscribe the entire globe almost without interruption by land. Low pressure areas are free to chase one another eastward around the bottom of the planet like a howling dog in pursuit of its own tail.”
The above quote is entirely true but occasionally the dog does get dizzy enough that he can’t find his tail and there is a moment of calm weather. Here are some of the charts we look at to figure exactly when that is going to happen:
The bags are packed and passports are in hand… and we are stoked.
Sitting in the LAX international terminal waiting for our 1:35am flight outta here. We’ve got a brutal schedule ahead of us is the next few days but every hour sitting in the airplane , dealing with security and checking in is going to be worth it. No US soil for Kate and I for two months.
We’ve lined up a pretty sweet schedule, one month in El Chalten trying to climb the granite needles of Patagonia and then one month in Venezuela bushwhacking through the jungle to try and climb an unclimbed sandstone tower out in the middle of nowhere. I can hardly wait!
After a few days of work Kate was able to redpoint the long and burly Indian Creek testpiece, The Optimator. It was a proud send. She clipped the anchors just as the skies let loose a torrential down pour of rain.
Here are some photos we made post-send.