Thursday, February 18, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting spanked

Just how old do I need to be to stop trying to be someone who I am not? When do I stop reading about other people´s rad adventures thinking that I could pull off the same effort in the same style with the same gear? Just because Roman Dial hiked 1000 kilometers across the Brooks Range eating crushed Pringles and gummy bears doesn't mean that I can. Hubris seems to make a fool of me far too often.

Five days ago I had myself fully convinced that I could embark on a ten day backpack of the Grande Curcuito in the Torres del Paine wearing little more than what I´d take for a day of cragging on the East Side of the Sierra. Those softshell pants that have dried in minutes after a minor bum-slide down the U-Notch and Snowpatch Col were no match for the incessant, horizontal, bone-chilling rain of Patagonia. The crew -- Z plus two friends from Oakland -- were plagued by other issues as well: blisters, old injuries, a fair distribution of hypothermia. To put it lightly, we got served.

With bruised egos and dry shoes we´ve headed further south to hang with a colony of pinguinos and gather some psych for the next attempt. The Banff Film Fest is in town and I´ve run into a few climbers that I know from back home and online. If our suerte improves and the capricious weather gods smile upon us we´ll take another crack at the Torres.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sendero al Fitz Roy

Crossing Rio Torre via tyrolean traverse

Today marks one full month in South America. We´ve been able to cook for ourselves more than on the first leg of the trip and, thankfully, there´s plenty of quality produce and potable water here, a luxury we missed sorely in India and Southeast Asia. Four months without a salad is just plain wrong!

Poincenot-Fitz Roy reflections from Lago de los tres

Anyhow, I´ve been dreaming about Patagonia since I was little. I had pictures of Torres del Paine* up on my wall and read everything I could get my hands on to learn about the area. I wanted to know the terrain and mind-state needed to cope in a place at so intensely beautiful and at the same time foreboding.

In 1968 a group of ´fun hogs´ loaded up their Econoline van and surfed their way down the length of Chile. Then they put up a new route on Fitz Roy. They suffered through a soggy month in a snow cave and their clothing -- state of the art wool and leather -- basically eroded off of them. The suffer-fest continued and they summitted, not that anyone was around to congratulate them. For climbers, that adventure has become the archetypal Patagonia experience.

Below are some images from the land of gargantuan sky, unfathomably strong wind, and really really cute guanacos.

Mighty Cerro Torre with Torre Egger and Standhardt to the right

Madres de los desaparecidos graffiti

Cuevas de las manos

Along with 500 km of this...

...comes a bit of this

The choique (right) looks amazingly calm

If you lived here, you´d be home now

Aloha! (Z--being from Hawi´i--isn´t amused by the cold)

Undeniable radness

Who knew my hair was so delicious?

*Despite what I've heard, Torres del Paine does not translate as Towers of Pain. That'd be just too much truth in advertising.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Howard Zinn: 1922-2010

Heroes aren´t something people my age seem to have anymore. Maybe it´s because, up close, the dents in the armor cut the person down to something less than what we´ve created in our heads. Zinn´s writing and life story, though, made him different.

I don´t know what to say, but the world is a little colder with his passing.

He probably had no idea about Masshysteri, but I have a feeling that he´d have appreciated the message of this film:

Masshysteri - Tvivel from vanskrot on Vimeo.