Cold then Windy; Kieners in the winter

When I first got into winter mountaineering Kiener’s route, on Longs Peak was the first route I really remember. It was considered an ultra-classic with a long history. First climbed in the winter of 1925 by Walter Kiener and Agnes W Vaille. It cost Vaille her life and Keiners his fingers and toes. Though extremely well-traveled today in the winter it still posed a significant challenge in an amazing setting. Yet for some reason or another, though it has been at the top of our list, we put if off till this year.

Kieners Route Pic

Red line is the way up Kiener’s. Blue Line is the descent route.

Spoiler alert: I’ve summited Longs via the key hole, the north face, the notch couloir, and the diamond, but still not via Kiener’s. But I did try, twice this winter.

Our first attempt took place on a cold weekend on Longs Peak. We went expecting to climb in -10 degree temperatures. We got what we expected.

We ( Jay, Brock and myself) left boulder at 2pm as soon as Jay got off work. We would have liked to have gotten out earlier but that wasn’t possible. We skinned up the trail in good time but had to ditch our skies a little ways above tree line when the snow became sparse.

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Chasm Lake the next morning, doesn’t look frozen but it sure is.

An hour and a half later we were scrambling frozen rocks in the near dark to make our way up and across a frozen Chasm Lake.

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Panoramic of Longs Peak just before it was fully dark out

It was GORGEOUS up there, in the middle of a frozen mountain lake, at night, with a near full moon and Longs Peak looming over us in the dark, the diamonds outline and face distinct and huge. I love Longs!!!!

I had never gotten to the other side of Chasm so quick and easily. We headed up the boulder field on the other side and found our bivy site filled with snow head high. Brock and I got to digging it out, building up a wind barrier and creating a level sleeping platform.

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Setting up camp after we dug out all the snow

We were all stoked to have our packs off and be so close to sleep.

As we dug Jay continued to puke his guts out, an activity he had begun about an hour earlier. We determined he was super dehydrated based on his puking, splitting headache and neon rank pee. We hit the sack.

At 3 am our alarms all went off simultaneously. No one moved. Jay informed us he had been sick all night and that he wasn’t going to be able to go. At that point I didn’t want to either. -10 degrees and wind didn’t seem like fun from my cozy bag.  After about 40 minutes we were dressed in our bags and a little after 4 we were packing out Deuter Guide 45+ packs in the dark by headlamp.

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Brock Breaking trail with his Deuter Guide 45+ Pack

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Brock 2/3 way up Lamb Slide

By the time we were taking off Brock and I were warm and excitement was growing. We basically ran up the rest of the hill and hit the base of lambs slide in 20 minutes. We dug a snow pit at the base to test the avalanche conditions which the CAIC had listed as considerable for the area and aspect we would be on. It was perfect, Brock ran up it breaking trail the whole way.

(Quick note about Brock; He moved to Colorado 5 months ago from Georgia. He had never touched snow before or climbed on ropes. On his third day here I took him up the Notch Couloir just before the snow melted out. He crushed it, super athletic, super confident)

After lamb slide we climbed up some loose rock and snow to arrive on the start of Broadway.

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Scrambling up to start of Broadway from Lamb Slide

As soon as we hit Broadway the snow was waist deep and the going got slow and cold. My right foot was already numb. I had been on Broadway before but never in the winter and it was basically unrecognizable. Everything was steeper and the snow was not super stable. We were moving too slowly.

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Crossing Broadway!!!!

We simul-climbed most of Broadway with one anchor at a sketchier spot. Finally we reached within 100 meters of the Couloir where the climb turned more fun and technical. We had to make a choice, continue and possibly have to finish the climb in the dark or turn back. With our unfamiliarity of the route and my toes frozen it wasn’t much of a choice, we turned back disappointed but sure in our decision.

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From the top of Lamb Slide

We simul-climbed back making much better time following our tracks down hill. We glissaded down lambs slide in about 5 minutes

and made it back to camp where Jay was feeling better and having watched our slow progress and eventual bail had boiling water waiting. I got into jays sleeping bag and warmed my feet with a hot Deuter pouch of water while jay and Brock broke down the rest of camp.

We got to our skis in an hr as it got dark. From there it took 20 minutes to ski to the trail head where we had some food and whisky waiting. And that was that. Our first winter attempt on Kieners had come to an end.

Two weeks later, after a trip out to the Ouray Ice Fest

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Jay @ Ouray Ice Fest

Brock and I were back at the Longs Peak trail head.

This time we decided to leave our skis and snow shoes and boot pack it. We got a much earlier start leaving the trailhead at 2pm. We hoped to get to the bivy site by 6 pm so we could be sleeping by 7pm and up by 1:30am. Ahahahahha, that didn’t happen.

We made ok time up the trail. Snow was deep in places due to the much needed dumping we had gotten that week. The sky was super overcast and we could hear winds howling from higher on the mountain.

We hit tree line around 5pm. A few hundred meters later things got awesome! Suddenly it was like we turned a corner into a wind tunnel. We lost all visibility as 90 MPH winds blew constant throwing snow in our faces. We hunkered down behind some rocks and got our goggles on and made sure not a speck of skin was exposed before we continued up. Or kind of continued.

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Jesse coming up fighting the wind

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Each step was a huge effort, the wind was amazing. Each time we lifted a foot for a step we would get knocked back. A few times we were literally lifted up and thrown down hard on the rocky ground. I had never seen or experienced anything like it.

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The pictures don’t do the wind or lack of visibility justice

After 30 minutes of pushing slowly forward without a single lull we realized it was impossible. At this rate we would get to camp later than before if at all and tomorrow was calling for more wind.

We turned back but walking down was just as hard going. Trying to control our downward momentum as the wind not so gently urged us to run blindly.

As soon as we hit tree line the wind died and we had a relaxed hike back to the car. Though not a success the hike was very nice and the wind was awesome.  We will be back again I am sure.

Life at Indian Creek, what a place!!!

WOW! been at the creek (Indian Creek, UT) for over 2 weeks now, climbing more than i should resting less than I need, but what a time! This is only my second trip here and I have to say it is very special. Not only because of the climbing, the amazing setting, the views and landscape though they surly help.

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But the community is really one of the most special aspects of it all.

So many people from all walks of life, climbers traveling from area to area chasing warm weather, people in between jobs, folks out for a week vacation, many internationals.

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Toby from the UK and Matt the fireman from California who tough us the hot coals under your seat trick, so nice/warm)

Ages varied greatly from 20s to 60s. But climbing and this life seems to erase age barriers, the younger people seem more mature/experienced and the older people seem still very young. Everyone clearly shares a similar understanding and appreciation for life and the outdoors. It makes for good easy conversations and joking around the fire at night or in line for the bathroom in the morning.

Within a week of my arrival many of the campsites had turned over and within a day a neighborhood seemed to form. People eating meals together at different sites, sharing fires at night, drinking into the evening, retiring to our vans, trucks or tents not till the late hour of 9pm.

Day after day we followed the same routine. We woke up at 8am, made breakfast, fed our dogs, stood in line at the outhouse and then packed our bag (my go to bag on this trip has been my Deuter Guide 45+) with our necessary gear for the day: huge rack, rope, water, lunch, dog bowl, headlamp (a must). We piled into the car of whosoever turn it was to drive and headed to the chosen crag of the day.

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Me hiking with My Deuter pack full of gear to a craig.

The climbing here is ridiculous. Everyday I cant believe the setting. The routes are super long and stout and make you work for it.

I thought I was relatively strong but had a rude awakening. Lead 6 routes in a day here and in my book you’re killing it. The climbing takes it out of you. But a few weeks definitely allows time for improvement.

Hand Jamming Away

Started on 5.10 hand cracks and have since gotten on some scary 5.11- off widths (Serrator Crack) and some tight hands/finger cracks. Definitely figure out your jams because you are going to use them (hands, fists , ring locks, ringer stacks, hand fist stacks, butterfly stacks, foot stacks, and variations)

Gordo is the best! Traveling, climbing, eating, sleeping with him makes me so happy. He loves it here. Playing all day with other climbers, dogs, hiking, getting tons of attention. When people tell me that he’s a good dog my climbing partners who I just met here quickly jump in and let them know that in fact he is the best dog in the world. I like this!!

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My first rest day was not to restful. I was supposed to drive us to town but found my battery was dead. Took a while to get it charged but finally we got it going and left camp only to find a few miles away that I had a flat. Adventures continue but morale stays hi.

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Brian & Andrew enjoying our flat tire!

I’ll be leaving here in a few days, heading to New Mexico to my parents for thanksgiving. Sad to leave but at the same time I’m getting tired and some family time, rest and good food will be a good change of pace. Though I’m thinking if I still don’t have a job afterwards why not head up to Rocky Mountain National Park and climb ice for a couple weeks!!

Until then, life is good, enjoy it! MWA to the world!

A dog, a van and Indian Creek

So after a month of job searching and having applied for just about every job that I would enjoy doing in my area I found myself sitting in front of the computer searching aimlessly. All my other friends have 9-to-5s currently so I have nobody to climb with during the week. I was getting bored and out of shape.

That’s when it came to me “what the hell are you doing” I don’t have a job. But I do have a van and a dog, let’s go to the creek (Indian Creek, Utah).

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So that’s what we did. Three days later I packed all my gear into three Deuter packs threw em in the van and we headed down to Utah. Hoping there’s a good crew of climbers cuz we’re looking to have some fun.

Supplies: 3 Deuter packs full of all my climbing equipment, 3 coolers filled with food and drink, slack line set up, Sierra Designs sleeping bag and tent, a kitchen from Sea to Summit, 16 gallons of water, and quite a bit more.
I’ll be posting more about the trip and climbs as soon as I have some days under my belt. Be back by thanksgiving-ish!

We’re moving on! (North)

Chalten with Fitz Roy Range in the back

So our time in Chalten has come to an end. It was an adventure. We met great people, learned a ton about climbing in this area (not an easy task), have frozen our asses off, and put in some good work. But the weather has turned, Jesse has been limping around for days recovering from our last climb, Jay got a tonsil infection, and Vaughn left back for Boulder and his job. We could wait around for another weather window that may never come or we could go climb beautiful spires for 10 days in more moderate weather conditions (El Frey). Sounds like an easy decision but in fact it is not.

Sun covered climbs in El Frey vs. Snow/cloud/wind covered climbs in Chalten

We have opted for the Frey. We are sad to go but the Fitz will remain and we are stoked to go climb some big towers with our shirts off for a bit!

Waking up in El Frey vs Waking up in Chalten

Belaying in a T-Shirt vs Belaying in layers, a big pack, boots, and booties!

We still have to take another shot at La Principal and some other famous climbs in that area.

We will let you know more as things unfold. For now we have the pleasure of packing up our sweet ass Sierra Design tent and the rest of our camp in high winds and heavy rain, followed by a nice 27 hour bus ride late tonight!

Vaughn we miss you already! MWA!

Scared, Cold and Hungry (Adventure!)

The adventures continue here in Patagonia.  We returned late last night from a grueling 3 day epic. We arrived in camp after 23 miles of hiking through some of the most difficult terrain imaginable. We looked and felt like we were about to collapse, our feet were (are) destroyed and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast which consisted of a handful of tortellini and oatmeal.

Saint Exupery from base of the mountain
Closer look at Saint Exupery

The climb was the Kearney-Harrington route up Saint Exupery. It was terrifying, with loose rock, run out pitches, and horrible protection (hence the lack of climbing pictures in this post. We were too distracted by fear and climbing).

Of course we didn’t know that when we chose it. We had heard a good review on the route, collected all the beta available, and after taking an extra rest day to recover from our previous climb we headed out on Wednesday with only 3 hours of sleep the night before. We had heard the hike in was tough but we were not fully prepared for what was to come.

Our first view Cerro Torre
Nearing Cerro Torre & the treachery

 

 

 

The total hike from camp to our bivy at the base of the climb was about 11 miles. The first third of the approach was a nice easy path with great views of Cerro Torre and had us all in good spirits.

 

 

 

Then the path ends abruptly and a sign says:                  “Danger, do not pass”.

Moraine forever

 

 

The next 1.5 miles is a 40 degree slop we had to traverse and descend covered completely in loose rocks from pebble size to large boulders (a moraine for those who know the term). Very scary. Everything is moving, constant rock fall, a true ankle breaker. By the end of it we were exhausted and relived to have made it in one piece.

Boulder Field

 

 

 

We still had 3 miles of boulder hopping,

Glacier Pic 1

 

 

 

 

a glacier to cross

Glacier Pic 2
Glacier Pic 3
Nearing the main bivy site
Pic from Main Bivy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and more scree and boulders before we got to our bivy.

 

 

We finally had to choose to bivy at the main location known as “Niponino” as the advanced bivy was still too far and dark was near. This meant an earlier wake up time. We ate dinner and hit the sack by 10:30pm.

Cerro Torre @ sunrise, approch

 

 

The next morning we woke up at 1 am (2.5 hrs = 5.5hrs in the last 2 days). It was freezing. We broke down camp, scarfed down some oatmeal and chocolate and started our search for the gully that would lead us to the climb. The approach was super steep involving some serious scrambling.

The base of our climb

 

 

We made it to the base of the climb, a 3,000 foot gain in 5 hours. We were already tired, cold and a little pissy. We looked up at the climb and it looked awesome but our enthusiasm was low (2.5 hours of sleep with many miles of hiking and cold will do that to you).

Jay leading the 5th pitch

 

Vaughn led the first pitch, a moderate start, with lots of suspect protection.

The second and third pitches were led by Jesse and were terrifying! 50% of the holds passed on route were huge loose blocks that you couldn’t touch or they would likely pull off onto Jay and Vaughn below. In addition it was run out and the placements that did exist were behind hollowed out flakes. It was scary and slow going as every hold had to be tested carefully. We continued to climb scary pitches covered in loose rock and sketchy placements. We were cold and the fear of loose rock was mentally draining. We did this for a while, still freezing and tired.

First ledge first sun!!!
First ledge other direction

 

Finally the sun came over the mountain tops as we reached a good ledge to rest. We were able to stop shivering and relax a little bit. Our fingers and toes ached as they thawed but it was much needed relief.

 

 

 

After taking in some sun Jay lead the next pitch. Vaughn went second. As Jesse began to climb third suddenly Vaughn yelled “ROCK!!!!.” The rope had pulled a loose block off the face of the wall. Jesse climbing below sucked in close to the wall as a bowling ball sized rock went whizzing by him.

Jesse not feeling to playful

 

 

 

Arriving at the next belay both Jesse and Vaughn were clearly shaken.

Core shot to the rope

 

 

 

 

Vaughn then informed the group that the rock that fell had hit and damaged the rope. It was a core shot and bad enough that we felt that the rope couldn’t be used any longer.

We now faced a difficult decision. Continue climbing this poor quality rock, with 3 people on the 1 remaining rope or bail. We sat in silence for a while. And then we said, screw it, let’s go for it! We started free soloing the rest of the climb, no ropes, nothing. Just kidding, we bailed. We had had enough. The rock was crap, we were tired and cold and now with only 1 rope.

The adventure however was far from over.  We now faced the task of rappelling back down and hiking back to Niponino.  With the night fast approaching, we began the rappels.  Luckily we got through the worst of the loose and jagged rock without getting our rope stuck.  Dark was now upon us and we still had about 3 rappels to go before the steep gully below which we would continue to rappel down.  Freezing again, and tired we pushed on thinking only of climbing into our -20 degree Sierra Design sleeping bags.  Finally around midnight we reached the point where we could pack up the ropes and begin hiking.

Two and a half hours later, we were still way high on the mountainside and we made the decision to stop there and sleep, still hours from Niponino (the main bivy site).  We had our bivy sacks as we had planned to potentially sleep on the wall, but no sleeping bags or pads.  We donned every last bit of clothing we had with us: multiple base layers, two down jackets, a shell jacket, gloves, hats, down booties, and 3 pairs of pants each and crawled into our bivy sacks.  It was not enough.  We were FREEZING!  Shivering our way through the night we waited for daybreak.

Finally, around 7am we got up and resumed the hike back to Niponino.  Once there, we ate the remainder of our food (a meager meal of tortellini and oatmeal) re-packed our bags, and pushed on toward Chalten.  With 11 miles to go, sleep deprived, hungry, and with the miserable traverse across the moraine looming over us, we were not feeling super stoked.  Hour after hour we trudged onward.

Jesse at the end of moraine

 

 

Reaching the main trail after the moraine was a huge milestone and provided a little lift in our spirits.

 

 

We practically sprinted the remaining miles back to Chalten arriving there around 8pm.  FINALLY! We treated ourselves to a roasted lamb dinner and wine at a nice restaurant and got some much needed rest.  Jesse slept in the`street (you’ll have to ask him for the full story).

What an adventure!

We have reached nearly 9,000 vertical feet climbed and raised nearly $12,000 in donations for Ubuntu Africa. Life is good! We appreciate all the support and miss everyone! XOXOXOXOXOXO!

We Summited!!!

We summited a sweet peak on the Fitz Roy Range!  It was a long 4 day process. We are all sore and beat up, but we did it! Highlights: We climbed just under a mile of vertical in just the approach. We achieved 1,150 vertical feet of technical climbing on amazing cracks. But that is all jumping ahead.

Pre Climb Gear Sort

After waiting for a weather window for nearly 3 weeks we finally saw one coming. All of Chalten came to attention. Everywhere you looked, climbers had bags and bags of gear out and were sorting and organizing, preparing to depart at the perfect possible moment.

We had planned to attempt Fitz Roy via the Mate Porro route. However for us this required a 3 day window and we only had a 2 day window. So we decided to attempt Fitz Roy via an alternate route (Franco-Argentine). The only problem was that we had stashed our gear on the west side of the Fitz Roy range which is the correct side for Mate but the wrong site for the Franco.

Some of the crevasses

We would now have to get to our gear, climb over the range and down and across a glacier on the other side through steep snow fields and crevasses. We had heard it wasn’t too hard. WRONG!!!!!

Vaughn confirming our route

 

On Thursday along with many others we woke up at sunrise and began the trek to Piedra Negra where we and many others have stashed gear.  Somehow with all our gear up there, we still ended up carrying full and heavy packs. Vaughn led our charge leaving Jay and Jesse in the dust. It was an unspoken race between teams to see who would get to the bivy area in time to claim the best camping spots (hidden from the wind, near a water source, with a view!)

When Jay and I reached the bivy area Vaughn had claimed a good spot and had all our gear laid out on slabs or rocks drying in the sun. Turns out someone moved our bag from its shelter, left it out and all our gear was soaked. Thankfully it all dried out before dark.

Boulder Field

 

We woke up early the next morning and scrambled our way up to Paso Guillamet (the route we had learned was best for getting onto the other side of the range) some 2,000 vertical feet of loose boulders and scree.

Coming through the pass west to east

 

 

We climbed through the pass and descended a 45 degree hard packed snow field on the other side.

 

 

 

After which we reached the flatter crevasse littered glacier. We did this without issue and began our trek across the glacier zig zagging between crevasses all the while.

 

 

Almost suddenly our path turned into a super steep slope of icy snow. Jesse made a nail biting roped traverse across this slope

 

 

and then onto a vertical rock face on the other side on which one slip would have meant a huge, potentially life threatening fall. This turned out to be quite difficult, scary, and time consuming. We made the difficult decision to back down and return to Paso Guillamet in order to salvage the second day of the weather window.

We spent the night there at the top of the pass right at the start of the “Brenner” route up Aguja Guillamet.  Our Sierra Designs -20F sleeping bags kept us warm through a very chilly night and allowed us a solid night of rest before the climb. 

 

 

We awoke before sunrise and had a hasty breakfast before beginning the climb.

Jesse climbing the Crux pitch

 

 

 

What a classic climb! The rock was of excellent quality and it was absolutely fantastic climbing.  Jesse tackled the crux pitch climbing a very aesthetic offwidth and hand crack leading an entire 70 meters to the start of the next difficult pitch.

Vaughn up high on the open book

 

 

 

This next pitch was Vaughn’s duty.

 

 

 

 

It was a perfectly classic dihedral with a beautiful hand crack right up the center, also a 70 meter pitch. 

 

 

Jay took on the next pitch, leading to the top of the first false summit.  All the while we were surrounded by the most amazing views. There is a constant feeling of everything moving out here. It’s a big ice cap. All day you hear huge avalanches going off, glaciers shifting, rocks sliding. Pitch after pitch we climbed gorgeous rock.

View of Cerro Torre from the climb
View of ice field from the climb

Vaughn belaying Jesse (we just like this pic)
Jesse scrambling to the summit

 

And then, after many hours it happened. We summited a mountain in the Fitz Roy Massif in Patagonia!

We snapped some photos,

Yeah Deuter!!!
And of course Sea to Summit

 

 

 

Gave high fives!

 

 

 

 

And represented our sponsors flags (Deuter, Sierra Designs, Sea to summit, We love and owe you for helping make this trip and fundraising event possible.)

We then turned to the task of getting down as it started to get dark. Some 10 rappels later we found ourselves on the glacier at the bottom which we slipped and slid down to get back to our bivy site at the top of Paso Guillamet. It was a couple of hastily made sandwiches each for dinner and straight to sleep again at the top of the pass.

woke up to snow and wind

The next morning we awoke to a light blanket of snow covering everything and frigid temperatures (pic).  Thankfully only light winds!  At this point we had run out of food so it was “GU” packets (syrup) and tang for breakfast.

Scary Descent

We packed our bags and slogged our way back down the pass toward Piedra Negra.  This was no trivial task with snow and ice everywhere and we had to be extra cautious not to fall and injure ourselves.  As we dragged ourselves into Piedra Negra we were extremely pleased and thankful to find our American friends Emory (From Boulder!) and Ryan (California) waiting with hot tea.  We rested for a bit, ate more sandwiches from the supplies we had stashed there, then collected all of our gear (including the stashed gear) and began the arduous journey back to Chalten.  With 80lb packs each, the descent was rather exhausting.  We finally rolled into town around 9pm and celebrated with some hard earned steak and cervesas.

We are currently in Chalten resting up with another weather window already upon us.  We are planning to hike back in tomorrow morning to climb Saint-Exupéry. This is as longer, more difficult, 2 day climb with a bivy night on the wall. We’ll post another update once we return from this next push!  Wish us luck! Lots of Love from Patagonia!!!

Weather, High Camp, & Waiting

We have been in Chalten (southern Patagonia) for 8 days now. Chalten is a little town, seemingly existing strictly to host trekkers and climbers. The entire town is surrounded by mountains. There is rock climbing in every direction minutes from where we camp. And with a 10 mile hike you can find yourself on glaciers cowering below enormous white capped peaks, the most intimidating and awesome being Cerro Fitz Roy.

Here is a picture of the town of Chalten with Fitz Roy range in the Background. We took this on a climb we did the other day

This is truly Patagonia. Every way you look is a postcard shot of wild mountains, glacier and rivers. The weather is serious and even when walking around town you often get knocked of your feet by winds that come from every direction. Fitz Roy is always visible (except when hidden by the clouds) popping its head over everything, seeming impossibly large.

View from our campsite:

Patagonia!!!

Fitz checking us our from behind some mountains:

Fitz Roy peaking over

Jay meeting some of the locals:

This was taken next to our tent

The last 8 days has been a matter of preparation and now waiting.

Days 1-3: We spent talking to people and tuning our itinerary. We figured out what we wanted to climb, how to approach them, in what order to climb them, how to gear up for them, and how long each should take.  We also climbed some of the local sport routes which are quite enjoyable and plenty difficult.

Day 4: We hiked 10 miles to bring over 100 lbs of gear up in (filling all three of our Deuter Guide 45+ packs) near the climb where we established a high camp.

Vaughn with his Deuter pack full of gear

We left this gear there so that when we have a weather window we can quickly hike back in and all our gear is ready and waiting. We wanted to get pictures of the exact route but we didn’t get there in time so we headed back to town and agreed to go back in a few days to study the climb more and move the camp a bit higher.

Jason and Jesse on the first leg of the hike:

Some Kind of Woodpecker we encountered on the trail:Aguja Guillamet (left/our first climb) and Fitz Roy (tallest/our second climb):

Day 5-6: We climbed around town starting at about 5pm when the rain and wind finally died down (I think we mentioned that its light till about 11:30pm).

Day 7: We hiked back to the high camp and moved it a bit further up and closer to the base of the route. 

We left it at a well-known bivy site called “Piedra Negra” (Black Rock).

Here is a picture of Jay and Vaughn next to the black rock with with our first climb Guillamet looming behind them.

We are now fully prepared for the first big climb of the trip: Aguja Guillamet.   All we need is a full day of light winds and rain and we’ll go for it!  The route we are planning, “Disfrute La Vida,” is a 1,300ft vertical climb on the west face of Aguja Guillamet

West face of Guillamet with Disfrute La Vida at its center

We plan to sleep right at the base the night before and get started climbing as soon as we have daylight (approx. 5:30am).  If all goes according to plan, we should summit the 13 pitch route before 6:30 pm which gives us more than 4 hours of daylight to rappel back down the route to our bivy site (we’ll probably be rappelling in the dark).

Day 8: Still waiting for that elusive weather window, we decided to try putting up a first ascent on a crag we spotted from the road to our base camp.  We bushwhacked our way up to the wall through thorn bushes and picker weeds (kinda like having thumbtacks clinging to your pants and socks).  The rock turned out to be a lot chossier (loose and crumbly) than it appeared from a distance but we picked out two routes we thought were solid enough.

Jesse putting up Dirty D-mouth

After bailing on the first one due to excessive loose rock, Jesse led a very dirty crack with bushes and weeds growing out of it. Grunting and groaning his way up the crack, clearing our brush as he went, he finally topped it out naming the route “Dirty D-mouth” (we all live on Dartmouth Ave).  By the end he was covered in dirt and moss, had swallowed a stick, cut up his hands and had a smile ear to ear.

 

Jay climbing the first option before bailing:

It is certainly frustrating waiting around town for the necessary weather window, but we remain very hopeful and are ready to go as soon as it comes.  We have made lots of friends around town and already we can’t walk down the street without running into someone we know.  Pretty much everyone here is extremely friendly which makes Chalten quite an enjoyable place to be.  While we wait for the weather to clear, we plan to climb more of the local crags, go fishing, do some trekking, and perhaps climb a more moderate mountain involving some glacier travel.  In the meantime, if anyone knows a weather dance or has some kind of climate controlling mechanism, we could use your help!

Thanks for reading.  Until next time…PEACE!

(Total Vertical Climbed: 2,090 Feet / 637 Meters)