SURFING AND MOUNTAINSI got back to Huaraz to try to climb a few more mountains after my first week at the beach, but the season was clearly over for me (and for many people as well, very bad weather and lots of precipitation). Aside from visiting Chavin, I did some rock climbing, but didn´t want to do the whole partner search again, I just wanted to be with real friends and was pretty tired of socializing with just anyone. I couldn´t do my running (therapy) because I didn´t have my trainers with me, so I decided to head down to the beach again for another two weeks to give my body some time to recover while still exercising. I even got both my shoulders slightly lesioned from so much paddling.
|On the way to Chavin I saw this beauty, Pucaraju. Apparently it has amazing mixed lines. It´s in the list for next season!|
|This was taken in one of the last days of July. Weather was like this on most afternoons by late July and many days in August. Frustrating!|
|Not super clear here, but the Shield route on Huascaran has literally collapsed in the end of August due to the amount of snow. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. Call this a bad season!|
|Little paradise in Huanchaco with amazing company: I couldn´t help but come back.|
|Lovely days in the Pacific. I think I can call myself a wannabe surfer by now.|
Surfing lifestyle is very relaxed though: wake up late, eat long breakfasts, grab your board, get in the water, get waves, come out, go home, take a shower, relax, repeat... life goes on day by day in the same way. When you get a good wave you are so stoked, it makes you wanna go back to the point break and surf again even if you´re dead tired. I really enjoyed it and really wanna work in my surfing skills, and travel to some places to surf and nothing else. But as rest. Overall surfing just made me wanna climb even more. Rock, alpine, hard routes, big mountains. The contrast between activities and lifestyle is so huge and latent that it sort of killed my end-of-season frustration and made me even hungrier to climb. So, thank you surfing: you just made it even more clear to me that my ass belongs to the mountains, and that right now, climbing is all that matters and what steers my life.
HATUN MACHAY, YET AGAINAt the last week of July I received a visit from my rock climbing partner and good friend from Brazil, Priscila. We did the Laguna 69 trek to (re) acclimatize, which was great because it put me face to face with Chacraraju and gave me the opportunity to study the Jaeger route and have some ideas... What a mountain! WHAT A MOUNTAIN!
|That´s the Jaeger route on the right. Hawt! Are you thinking what I´m thinking?|
Then we headed to Hatun Machay for some sport climbing and bouldering. Nobody famous there this time though. We ripped off our skin in just a few days but had lots of fun and I got some good training for some upcoming scheduled climbs in Rio. And this was the last climbing related activity of these last four months in Peru. Sorry, no fancy summits.
|Resting in between attempts at a V8 in Hatun Machay.|
NOW ON TO SOME NOTES AND JOKES!
COOLEST NEW PEOPLES: THE SPANISH, AND ESPECIALLY, THE CATALAN AND BASQUE CLIMBERSI had never met Basque people before. I hardly knew anything about them except for what Zarela had been telling me, that they are awesome and fun people, always amicable, in a good mood, and great climbers. From the first week I started meeting them and during the entire season I was always eager to meet the new Basques that would be coming into the hostel, and I was sad every time they left. I branded them the Brazilians of Europe, because you meet them and it´s as if you´ve known each other and been best friends since kinder garden. Also, they seem very respectful of women - especially female climbers. There´s not one Basque I met that wasn´t a very nice person. And on top of that, they´re stylish, their language is pretty and their country is near the Pyrenees aside from having good surfing... Catalunya or Basque Country are serious contenders to be the next place I call home!
BEST PARTNERS: AMERICANS, MASTERS OF TEAMWORKBesides my partners in Huamash, I have to say these folks rock. Maybe because I´ve lived and trained in the US, and speak their language, I have ease of going with these people. But it´s undeniable that yankees (as the Spanish, Catalans and Basques call them) are good at pretty much anything they do, and better off, they are great team players, and even better off, they´re usually pretty laid back and humble about all of this. Say what you want about their country - and they´re not perfect and so isn´t Brazil or anywhere else - but these guys have/had Mark Twight, Alex and Jeff Lowe, Steve House, Fred Beckey, Sue Nott (and I could name another hundred) and that says a lot about their climbing, especially in the style I identify with the most. I met tons of Americans the entire season, and hang out and climbed a lot with, and I gotta take my hat off to them. I could write ten paragraphs about this and kiss ass a lot, but the title of this note is pretty self explanatory.
BEST CLIMBS: A TIE BETWEEN HUAMASHRAJU AND QUITARAJUNeither are famous, glamourous mountains, or my favorites, but I consider these the two best climbs of the season because in Huamashraju the granite wall and the crack systems were stunning and the company was great, and in Quitaraju because we took the chance to head out after a night of bad weather and, again, the company was great, and we had the mountain to ourselves. I wish every climb from now on was like that.
|The Huamashraju crew: me, Kepa, Aitzol and Nacho. Near perfect days in the mountains!|
BY THE WAY...THE OTHER BRAZILIANSAs usual, where are they? Huayna Potosi maybe? On the end of July I met one by chance at California Cafe but our schedules wouldn´t match for climbing, but it would definitely be fun to have a Brazilian team in any mountain.
BRICHEROS(AS)As usual, fuck them.
DEATHI wrote a lot about this on the previous posts. This theme was ever present in July. As Tomas remarks, "mountains are real". Makes you think.
MY EXPERIENCE - WHAT I´VE GAINED FROM THIS SEASONThis was a very "alpine" season, which collaborated for me being so tired in the end, and next year I´ll probably come back for a little less than 2 months. I feel I didn´t really do any true hard climbs as I wished - that would have been Piramide - and I ended the season still hungry for climbing. No particular climb was a big challenge but overall climbing so intensely at altitude for so long was a challenge in itself. It seems as if every possible event one can experience in a mountain, good and bad, has happened this season, especially in July. Lots of learning, lots of growing.
Also I´ve realized that not only I need to consolidate my skills for the range of routes I climb, but also, if I wanna move forward, I need to work a lot on more technical skills of water ice and mixed climbing. And that I cannot do in Brazil. I already have plans for that though.
PICTURESI don´t have a habit of taking pictures because I don´t have a good camera, I don´t take good pictures, and I´m usually having too much fun climbing to remember to take them or too lazy to even take it out of the backpack or even bringing it with me on summit days. Besides I usually climb in parties of two and I refuse to take pictures while belaying/being belayed. Sorry folks, that´s why my pictures suck. Here´s some funny/interesting images I had to share though:
|I finally managed to pack "light" and stuff 2 nights days worth of camping and food plus equipment on a 42L backpack.|
This is one of those times, in our attempt at Ranrapalca.
|One of the frenchies gave me this awesome t-shirt from his sponsor, Blue Ice. I´ve worn it non stop, thanks Fred!|
|Dinner at Alpamayo base camp in case you get fed up with noodles. Tons of protein and fat for an upcoming climb.|
|So... a british guy that was in the dorm forgot this in the bathroom. WTacutalF???|
|Some people seem to send postcards like this. Totally awesome idea especially for people like me who never know what to say aside from "it´s all good, miss you" types of messages.|
|I got bitten by a mad Peruvian dog on my first day in Huanchaco, and that rendered me a month worth of rabbies shots and a week on two different antibiotics.|
|My birthday cake! Everyone knew I was turning 33 and the question mark candle is more like a "what should I do with my life next" type of thing.|
|Sex Burger in Huaraz, Sex Wax in Huanchaco. What´s with Peru and Sex brands?|
|My second attempt at making spanish tortilla went quite well. I´m all ready to take over Euskal Herria!|
PARTYINGI did a little too much partying in the beginning of the season, but then I came to the conclusion that the strongest climbers I know are all drunks and that must mean something. So I kept on partying, bar hopping, playing endless jenga games, having fake birthdays, or drinking a few beers even if it was sometimes just me, the bartender and the drunk New Zealand guy watching climbing movies at Extreme on a Tuesday night.
WHAT´S NEXTLucky me that what was to be a season of climbing became the first leg of a trip. The events in Paron made me take the decision to head home for some family time before heading off to debut in the Himalayas for post monsoon season. Hopefully then I will satiate my appetite for technical, hard climbing (although organizing the logistics myself is already proving to be a royal pain in the butt). In any case, Nacho´s philosophy once again fits well here: if you succeed, you drink, if you fail, you drink as well! In the end it´s all good and as someone else said, "we forget about the bad parts anyway".
|This is next. Photo by SP member Andrzej Gibasiewicz.|
|And then this: mixed and ice climbing galore in the Pyrenees. Photo from www.pyrenees-mountains.com|
THANK YOUS, GRACIAS, ESKERRIK ASKO, OBRIGADO, MERCI, GRAZIE, DANK JE WEL!Thanks to Zarela for all the support and friendship. Being surrounded by men in this climbing environment all the time really makes me value the friendship of a like minded women at times, especially the "girl talk". Special thanks to Casa de Zarela for logistics support for this entire four month period.
Thanks to my partners in this season: Nacho, Victor and especially Craig, and the other climbing teams that accompanied us, Aitzol, Kepa, Tomas and Vicente. The respect, partnership and teamwork we built in each of our climbs has been almost utopian. Special thanks to Nacho and the wise words on our last night in Huaraz, they mean a lot.
I´d like to have been able to dedicate the summit of Arteson, as I have tried last year, to my friend Parofes who fought like crazy against leukemia but perished right after I arrived in Huaraz. Parofes was one of the most accomplished and admirable mountaineers in our country. No fancy ass expeditions, no shameless self promotion, just plain honest pure climbs and explorations. On top of it, a true supporter of my adventures away from the most common path taken by my fellow contrymen, and that has always meant a lot to me. Arteson was one of his favorite mountains. I therefore dedicate this season to his memory, and will keep trying to write his name on that summit.
Thank you readers, I hope there´s something useful in my ramblings. The world is still spinning and it is time to move on to new mountains. Over and out for some time cuz I am freaking tired of writing by now... until the next rad climb!