Some of you may be asking yourselves, "Is Ryan even IN Patagonia? He just posts pictures of himself climbing in great weather, with no snow, often in T-shirts!" Well I wasn´t too sure myself until now...
I am now (and for the rest of my trip) in El Chalten, a dusty frontier town which serves the springboard for all the major climbing expeditions to the Cerro Terro and Fitz Roy groups. With the free camping no longer available in town, most climbers are no forced to rent apartments or long-term rooms to serve a their base camp in town, while keeping a stash of gear and/or a high camp up at either Niponio or Paso Superior for when the weather looks promising. Luckily I ran into a friend of mine from WWU, Blake Herrington, so I am sharing a room (the Cave) with 3 other dirty climbers and a Rodesian ridgeback named Obie.
Since arriving on the Nightmare Dust Bus from Bariloche, roughly 8 days ago, I managed to hike up to Camp Niponino to learn the approach (it is a very circuitous 7 hour glacier approach), and watch a pretty nasty storm blow in and cover everything with ice.
There wa also the Festival de Boulders a few days ago, which has become an anual event held a tthe beginning of February to commemorate the first ascent of Fitz Roy. I competed in the bouldering competition, which was much more of a large gathering of pysched climbers ust out having fun for the day, and it all ended with a huge party.
So far so good, I am still waiting for my partner to materialize- with Amir back in the states I forgot what a drag it is to be in a climbing area without a partner when the weather is good!