February 10, 2009

Argentine Action

Paul in front (yellow) and Andrew on right (green) in Patagonia, 2007.

Since 1999, I have spent part of almost every winter in South America. Sadly, I will not be joining the southern brothers on this year's tour. In hopes of minimizing the effects of Latin America withdrawal, I will be living vicariously through some friends for the next few months. Paul Mcsorely, Andrew Querner and Will Stanhope are on a climbing trip to the Turbio Valley near Bariloche, Argentina. If you haven't heard of this place, don't worry - no one has. Paul has a special talent for stringing words together and he has been kind enough to share some stories about the team's progress. Enjoy.

Just a week has passed since the three of us met in Bariloche Argentina, and as any seasoned Latin American traveler knows, a week can feel more like a month. Within 48 hours of being on Argentine soil, our young ropegun Will Stanhope, was keeled over on all fours, emptying the precious contents of his belly onto this sacred ground. Though we had planned to head up for a climbing warm up in the nearby Cerro Cathedral/Refugio Frey area the following morning, the day was spent nursing young Will. When Will's condition didn't improve, Andrew Querner and I, in an unprecedented display of teamsmanship, headed up without him. As we set off up the trail some 500m from the parking lot, I too was reduced to my knees and added a rich fertiliser to the arid Agentine soil. We doubled home, karmic account finally in check. The culprit: street meat; Hamburgesas and Chorizo con Pan. After a good night's sleep, we all stumbled up the trail to the Frey hut and enjoyed a couple of sensational days on the legendary stone of Cathedral. Andrew and I managed an ascent of the Campanille Esloveno (Slovenian Tower), which sports views across the glaciated volcanoes of the border region and the fabled valleys of Cochamo, Chile. The stone is a combo of Chamonix and City of Rocks, replete with golden splitters and ubiquitous patina holds. When he finally emerged from the recovery room, Will freed an old aid line noted as A2 in the Guidebook. 12+ spicy for the young Gringo.

Our next challenge is getting supplies for our mission into the unknown Rio Turbio. We will take horses up the Valley and after a few weeks amongst the granite peaks, rafts (Canadian Tire quality) will help us return the 42 KM back to civilization. Right now we are sitting on a fat stack of goodies such as 2kg of Pig fat (for making tortas friatas), multiple litros of the vino tinto and enough salami and cheese to stop my heart right now...Stay tuned

Paul in Patagonia, 2007.

Will in Patagonia, 2007.

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