Sunday, February 8, 2009

Welcome to The Edge of the Earth. By Cedar Wright

If you’ve ever experienced a 48-hour mind warping, energy sapping, time clock battering travel sequence, of cars, buses, and planes, with the occasional gut busting gear humping back breaking exclamation point added in for extra suffer points, then you know what our team has been through to get here to El Chalten Argentina, the famous gateway town to Patagonia’s legendary Fitzroy and Cerro Torre Massifs.

As we bounced along the final bus push to El Chalten, we were teased by the occasional fleeting glance of Fitzroy as it flitted with the endless swirling supply of wind circulated Cumulus. The weather was obviously no good for an immediate hike into the mountains, which I had mixed emotions about. Obviously nothing is guaranteed in the Alpine and I want to get something in the bag before our short time in Patagonia melts away, but a couple of days to recover from the travel weariness and jetlag are certainly welcome.

Renan, Stanley and I have all been here before, but Pete and Nick are seeing Patagonia through childlike eyes… and they are Giddy and extra Psyched!!! “This is the coolest place I’ve ever been,” says Pete with a glossy gleam in his eyes. The sheer vastness, and mind blowing super sized scale that unfolds as you crawl down the road to El Chalten is truly something to be experienced. For me Patagonia ranks with Yosemite and the Karakoram in the top-three list of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It’s good to be back.

Yesterday was our first full day in El Chalten, and with the weather looking bleak up in the mountains, we enjoyed some of the world-class bouldering that is sprinkled around the outskirts of town. Today our fingertips are raw and our muscles are sore from our efforts on the small rocks. Now it’s time for racking and packing for the weather window we are praying comes soon. Now it’s time for the waiting game.
Last time I was here, we spent three weeks watching the wind rip rain puking clouds over the range, teasing us with the occasional view of the spiky terrain but allowing us no windows for enjoying it up close and personal! On the last day before we had to leave, the weather split and we were blessed with a summit and a small first ascent. We were lucky, it’s not uncommon to go home from Patagonia empty handed.

Hopefully our luck is a even better this time, but the extremely volatile and reliably bad weather here is part of the allure and even charm of the experience. Any summit is earned with patience, timing, hard work, and a dash of luck. If the weather was perfect and the climbing straightforward, Patagonia would have lost it’s hypnotizing aura. Because it’s so easy to fail here…Success is oh so sweet.

We are all hoping for the best and preparing for the worst and only time will tell what the outcome will be, but regardless, it is good to be here with good friends in this soul wrenchingly beautiful far reach of world located appropriately at the very edge of the Americas. Stay tuned for more dispatches. Until then…
Lots of Love for your journey!!! Cedar Wright

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