Friday, October 22, 2010

Fin del Mundo

Gear is being sorted, bags are being filled and weighed, and carry-ons are being stuffed full of the heaviest items. This can only mean one thing: another season in Patagonia. I leave in a few short days for the Southern Hemisphere, my third trip in as many years. I would have thought that my lesson had been learned by now, but apparently not. There is something seductive and captivating about this land and the people who inhabit it.

So what is going down this year? I leave early to take some Spanish lessons and do some cragging with old friends in Bariloche, waiting for my partner Josh to finish up his relief work in Haiti and join me. Josh and I have some unfinished business with the Central Tower, which shut us down last season. After spending a month in Torres del Paine, hoping for a weather window during that time, we will travel back up north to the bustling little ski town of Bariloche, Argentina which will be our base-camp for the following months. Our plan is to ascend into the Rio Turbio drainage near the Chilean border, spend about one month attempting new routes in the Upper Turbio, and decend back down to civilization using lightweight pack rafts.

We may be spreading ourselves thin with such a varied itinerary, switching objectives so dramatically, but I think that by staying focused on the immediate, we will be rewarded with success. Either way, we can only do so much; we must still be granted passage by the God of Wind in Patagonia, Mwono.

Until the next one... Ryan

The objects of our obsession.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Zodiac Pictorial

Despite our best efforts not to document our early summer ascent of Zodiac (VI 5.8 A3) on El Capitan by not bringing cameras with functional batteries, Tom Evans stepped up and hooked me up with a bunch of really high-quality telephoto shots taken during the climb. Here are some of the best ones.

"Yo Josh! Did you bring your swimsuit?" Waterfall early on the route.

As I said before, and will continue to preach, this route is AMAZING. The line, the exposure, the quality (and cleanliness) of the pitches- it all adds up to make one of the best routes I have ever climbed.

The spectacular Nipple.

Josh tackles the Mark of Zorro pitch.

BEST top-out on El Cap.