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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Patagonia Vertical, the book

    By Kelly Cordes

    Patagonia_Vertical_256

    Guidebooks come in all forms. The kind that I like the most are more than mere guidebooks; they have bits of history, interesting information and stunning photos. They inspire me. By necessity, they can only be written by a true expert. They don’t hold my hand, but they have the essential info, the things you need to know, while giving you the credit of assuming that – in the case of alpine climbing, anyway – you already possess a basic level of competence. Which, seems to me, is fair enough for an alpine climbing destination like the Chaltén Massif in southern Patagonia, Argentina.

    The massif is home to so many stories, so many legends, so much vision from such great climbers from around the globe; some from previous eras, some still active, some just getting started.

    One of Patagonia’s greats is Rolando Garibotti, who grew up in Bariloche, Argentina. He first visited the Chaltén Massif in the mid-80s – back then, El Chaltén had a single house. Garibotti was 15 years old, and he and a friend climbed Aguja Guillaumet. His passion had been ignited, and it’s been burning ever since.

    [Above: One of the last pitches of Cerro Fitz Roy’s Supercanaleta. The summit can be seen in the upper left. Photo: Rolando Garibotti]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia - La Via Funhogs

    By Colin Haley

    01

    My good friend Dylan Johnson has managed to briefly escape his responsibilities as a new father and self-employed architect to come down to El Chalten for some alpine adventure. Since he is only here for a whopping two weeks, and since he arrived exactly at the end of the enormous, two-week weather window, he was understandably a bit stressed as to whether or not he would get to go alpine climbing while here. Given these circumstances, we have been watching the weather forecasts like hawks, looking for every possible opportunity to do something in the mountains. Last week we hiked into the mountains to try something off the Glaciar Fitz Roy Norte, but with very high winds when the 3am alarm went off, it ended up being just another hike with heavy packs.

    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

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    After looking at the weather forecasts on Friday morning we wrote off alpine climbing for the weekend, and figured we'd go bouldering in the afternoon. However, while eating our pre-bouldering empanadas, we watched the skies getting clearer, and rationalized that perhaps the weather forecast was good enough for alpine climbing after all. So, it wasn't until 3pm that we made plans to try Fitz Roy the next day, and not until 6:30pm that we finally started hiking towards Laguna de los Tres. We reached our bivy at Laguna de los Tres at dusk, and lay down for a few hours of sleep.

    [Above: Colin harnessing up at the bergschrund below La Brecha de los Italianos, with an awesome sunrise over Lago Viedma. Photo: Dylan Johnson]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – What We Carry

    By Kelly Cordes

    Kelly_1

    I don’t know how Brittany does it. Or, if she’s being honest – and I think she is – how she enjoys it. I look at the scattered pile of junk in our El Chalten cabaña, and think back to her post. I’m suspicious. You’ve got to watch out for those wayward gypsy women, you know.

    I hate packing. It stresses me out. I think it through, write it down, rethink, this shirt vs. that, these mountains vs. those, the conditions and ambitions, the projections of what we’ll climb. And not climb. For this trip to Argentine Patagonia, I had a goal: be ready ahead of time. Like chilled-out, not stressed, spend time with the lil’ woman (a.k.a. special lady friend, SLF) – that sort of ready – and enjoy the week before leaving. Check.


    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

    Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Tumblr  Pinterest_logo


    The climbing gear entails minor tweaking, but important tweaking. If you’re without a crucial piece of gear, it can mean no send. Equally important, though: You have to enjoy your non-climbing life. It’s essential for sending psyche. No psyche, no ruta, no cumbre.

    [Above: Pre-trip packing hurricane, from casa de Cordes. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Mate, Porro, y Todo con mi Dama

    By Colin Haley

    11_Colin

    My girlfriend, Sarah Hart, is joining me for some of this season in Chalten, and arrived on the same day that Jon took off. We had a week of bouldering in relatively stormy weather, and then yet another weather window descended upon Chalten - this time an extended one. Although Sarah's only two previous ascents in the Chalten massif were Aguja Innominata and Cerro Solo, we decided that we had to try to profit from such a long weather window, and headed to the biggest objective we had planned to try together: the Goretta Pillar of Fitz Roy.


    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

    Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Tumblr  Pinterest_logo


    We decided to try the route, "Mate, Porro, y Todo lo Demas," which was climbed to the top of the Goretta Pillar in 2008 by Rolando Garibotti and Bean Bowers, and finished to the summit in 2011 by Matjaz Dusic and Lovro Vrsnik. Since then it has had a handful of subsequent ascents. Sarah, gracious and generous as always, agreed to a plan to let me do all the leading. Although our rock climbing abilities are very similar, we figured that all my experience climbing in the range would make us climb a bit faster with this strategy. Additionally, since I have already climbed Fitz Roy via the Goretta Pillar two times before, trying to lead everything myself would make it still an exciting challenge for myself. However, to make the experience still enjoyable and exciting for Sarah, we opted not to take jumars, which undoubtably is a less efficient strategy, and more challenge yet!

    [Above: High quality rock climbing. Photo: Sarah Hart]

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    Climbing Season in Patagonia – Season Goals

    By Kelly Cordes

    Scariot - guillaumet_-1000637.jpg

    I came here with one goal. A New Year’s goal, despite my avowed no-resolution resolution of a year ago: Don’t un-send the Torre.

    My prolific spray about the single climb I’d done in Patagonia, a link-up on Cerro Torre with Colin Haley in 2007, might lend the illusion that I’ve climbed a lot here. Nope. I’ve just been meaning to climb a lot here. Anyway, now I’m here and I ain’t touching the Torre because a guy like me needs to protect those memories, not undo them.


    Every year, Patagonia ambassadors, along with climbers from around the world, visit the small town of El Chalten in Argentina. Their goal: climb huge granite peaks in the Patagonia region, some of the most challenging in the world. Follow the updates from our ambassadors and friends on these Patagonia channels and #vidapatagonia:

    Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Tumblr  Pinterest_logo

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     So Craig Scariot (formerly known as CFS) and I rolled into town with a ton-minus-one of possible objectives. We promptly ran into my good friends Chris and Justin. They’re animals, motivated, and had returned a few hours earlier from climbing Poincenot. Chris, aka The Chief, is one of my longest-running climbing partners, from back in the Missoula days (sordid story of me and The Chief here). Justin and I climb together back home in Estes Park, and he and his wife own Ed’s Cantina, my favorite local margarita eatery.

    [Above: Justin, The Chief, and Kelly at Piedra del Fraile. Photo: Crampon Craig Scariot]

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    Taking the Oars

    By Bridget Crocker

    Bridget_Crocker_Zambezi_River

    Sometimes a woman has to paddle against the current.

    When I’d first met Doreen, last season, she was a highsider – a porter and training guide who helped weight the rafts through the Zambezi’s high-volume hydraulics. She was barely five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds, but as a highsider, Doreen carried heavy coolers, oars, and rafts in and out of the steep Batoka gorge, matching the men load for load. The other highsiders, all male, started complaining that she was taking more than her share, making it harder for them to provide for their families. Doreen didn’t have a family of her own, they argued, so she didn’t need the money like they did.
     
    It was decided that Doreen must quit being a highsider and become the manager’s “house girl” – and so she came to work for us, doing the washing, ironing, and floor polishing.

    [Above: Bridget Crocker and crew take on Rapid #8 (aka Midnight Diner). Zambezi River, Zambia. Photo: Greg Findley/Detour Destinations]

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    Dirtbag Diaries: The Magic of Serendipity – The Year of Big Ideas 2013

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Dbd_YOBI_2012You might remember a story about climbers in the Magic Kingdom. It sounded like a dream job- climbing, secret lairs and cutting to the front of the roller coaster line. Our inbox flooded with emails about how to apply. But the program was canceled in 2005. Until last year. In an audition room filled with sponsored climbers and underground crushers, Susanica Tam felt her resume paled in comparison. Could climbing a mini-Matterhorn change Susanica's outlook on climbing?

    Today, we present our annual Year of Big Ideas. We went out into our community and listened to what you want to do in 2013. Here's to saying yes to new opportunities, stretching ourselves, and embracing a little spontaneity.


    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Magic of Serendipity"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)


    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "The Year of Big Ideas 2013" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]


    Long Treks China – Skateboarding Through Tibet (Xining to Chengdu)

    Words, photos and videos by Adam Colton

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    My name is Adam Richard Colton and on August 30th, 2012 I set out on a solo self-supported journey to see what the outskirts of Tibet had to offer. I did not speak any Mandarin, I did not speak Tibetan but I am an expert at facial expressions and hand signals. Below is a bit of a recap of the trip. And videos after the jump. --Ed.

    [Above: Skating at 15,000' and stoked, just over the big pass.]

    I hit the ground running after a 25-hour flight from LAX to XINING, CHINA, elevation 7,000 feet. I felt like a wreck (hahah) and I knew this was going to be a hard trip. It was like waking up from a horrible sleep and rushing outside to run a marathon with no training or warm up. First day, right off the plane, I started skating. I was already being bombarded by big trucks, nasty smoke, and mountains to climb. Towards the end of the day I was so exhausted, I found shelter from all the stares and people in a gutter on the side of the road. When you are tired, gutters are comfortable.

    Continue reading "Long Treks China – Skateboarding Through Tibet (Xining to Chengdu)" »

    Happy 90th Birthday to the Master, Fred Beckey

    000_xxi_Stuart_Jim_Yakutat AK

    Foreword

    By Fred Beckey

    We live on an astounding planet, punctuated by mountains on every continent. The mere presence of mountain ranges has long drawn the human imagination as an invisible force. Some say mountains have a “psychic gravity” enticing us into their grip. There is a magic among great peaks as a location of splendor, where changing light plays games with intense colors, affecting the tones of snow and ice and many gleaming ridge outlines.

    Editor’s note: In honor of Fred’s milestone birthday, we’re pleased to share the foreword from his most recent book, Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite North American Climbs. Happy Birthday Fred, from all of us at Patagonia. Photo: Jim Stuart

    Mountain peaks have long filled humanity with a sense of the supernatural, and in ancient times were holy places, and in some cultures were considered sacred – the abode of the great spirit. In Asia, millions of the devout regard the Himalaya as the dwelling place of gods and a pathway to the heavens. Certainly the potentially dangerous nature of such mountains has tightened their grip on the human imagination.

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    Excerpt from "The Plight of the Torpedo People" a New Bodysurfing Book from Keith Malloy

    By John R.K. Clark

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    I always notice the sea birds when I’m out in the lineup, waiting for waves. On the south shore of Oahu, where I bodysurf most, I see manu o ku, or white terns, doing their aerial acrobatics. I see iwa, or great frigates, hovering almost motionless high above. But the birds that I really like to see are the kaupu — the brown boobies who fly fearlessly through crowds of surfers. Kaupu love to ride waves, and they get everyone’s attention as they skim through the lineup, wings spread wide, surfing the air currents along the face of a breaking wave. Native Hawaiians called their flight kaha, or gliding, and this is the word they used for bodysurfing: kaha nalu, wave gliding. To me this is the essence of bodysurfing: gliding across the face of a wave. Bodysurfers are wave gliders whether they’re making a death-defying drop at the Wedge, powering through a perfect barrel at Pipeline, or just cruising with their kids in the shorebreak at Makapuu.

    [Above: Keith Malloy in Tahiti, from page 52. Photo: Chris Burkard]

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