Thursday, August 23, 2012

Huaraz in Summary 7-3-2012 to 8-23-2012

Huaraz in Summary
July 3rd 2012 to August 23rd 2012

This has been such a meaningful trip in many ways.  I fully imersed myself in the alpine world and was greated with much success and tragedy.

Week 1:
This week was filled with altitude sickness, vommiting (me and cory) and contemplations of quiting mountaineering and sticking with climbing.  I decided to hang in there knowing that patience is a virtue.

Week 2:
I patiently waited for Cory and Tony to return to town and Cory and I decided to take off to attempt Churup.  It was a mixed route and looked really cool.  Cory ended up very tired during the climb, so we bailed.  I was wondering if Alpine climbing was for me.

Week 2.5:
This was a week of serendipity as I was about to throw in the towel and call it quicks on Huaraz, when we ran into Katty and Maria and decided to climb Huamasharaju.  It was such an amazing time.  We ended up opening a new route and I submited the information to the casa de guias.

Week 3:
This week was dedicated to getting it done.  Ranrapalca is 20,2017 feet.  This was the first time that I crossed the 20,000 foot barrier climbing and did so via a technical route.  Deep snow conditions after the technical section had turned back many parties, but because of our speed and timing, we hit the snow before the sun fully rose and were able to summit.

Week 4:
This week was filled with tragedy as Tony, Adam and I entered the Cojup Valley in search of the bodies of Ben Horne and Gill Weiss, two American climbers who were several days late from their climb.  We supplied the primary rescue team, helped bring the bodies back safely and broke the events to Bens dad when he arrived in Huaraz.  It was a powerful experience and one that I hope not to repeat.

Week 5:
I was mentally and physically destroyed.  I realized that climbing is such a unique addiction.  There is something to be said about sport where a single false move or misjudgment could lead to death.  Everytime we go out to climb, we roll the dice.  We assess the risk involved, draw upon our experiences but in the end life and death may be a simple matter of luck.  Some climbers choose to embrace the modern ethics of climbing and rise up to the challenges of pushing limits and setting new routes.  Some climbers embrace the social aspect of the sport and enjoy casual outings with friends on easy terrain.  Some climbers lie in middle.  The truth of the matter is this sport is dangerous and at whatever level you climb, there is always risk involved.  Gil and Ben pushed the limits of climbing to the extreme.  They embodied the mentality of fast and light and if something was too hard, you pulled harder.  They served as an inspiration to all climbers at every ability level.  When I climb now, they climb with me. Their memory will live on and inspire even as their time on this earth has passed.   I wanted to climb more...I wanted to climb La Esfinge.  We started training at Hatun Machai and I was able to onsight two 11a sport climbs at 14,000 feet of altitude.  No too bad for not climbing for 3 months.  It was then time for La Esfinge...A 2,000 foot high grade V big wall at 17,470 feet going at 5.10R C1.


Week 6:
I felt accomplished on rock after Huamashraju, Hatun Machai and La Esfinge - but I came to the Cordillera Blanca to test my skills as an alpinst.  I wanted to climb the French Direct Route (D+) on Alpamayo at 19,511 feet.  It was in great shape this season and we were both strong and acclimitized, so we felt like we had a good shot at the summit.  It was AWESOME!

Week 7:
A few times a year I get the itch to solo something.  It does not matter whether it is trekking, free solo rock climbing, or big wall soloing.  What matters is that I get out there alone and I challenge myself.  It is such a unique feeling that is hard to describe.  I wanted to do something solo on this trip.  I wasnt sure if I wanted to solo trek, rock climb or alpine climb.  I first tried to climb RimaRima but it started to snow, so I bailed.  I then set my sights on an 18,661 foot glaciated peak called Vallanaraju.  I climbed it solo car to car in a day.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Huaraz when not climbing 7-3 to 8-25-2012

What I do in Huaraz when I am not climbing
July 3rd to August 25th

There is more to Huaraz than just climbing.  There are rest days that consist of playing around, relaxing and eating.  I will be updating this page over the next two days.

Food and Drink:
The Best Yogart and Fruit breakfast for $1.50
Fruit Stands
The best Jugaria - Notice all locals
My "Usual" at Cafe Andino - No idea what is in the Salas but so good
One day at the hostel we made Ceviche and Tuna
All Done - So full
I was trying to gain back the 10 pounds I lost, so this meant constant ice cream - Tri Color was the best flavor
I went to almost every Chifa place I could find in search of the best Chaufa Con Pina
Making Chaufa Con Pina
Beer Made with Coca leaves
I was feeling bold towards the end of my trip and decided to try fresh squeezed orange juice on the street.  33 cents per cup.  The problem is that they wash the glasses with dirty water - I may be paying for it on my trip back to Lima.  At least the busses have bathrooms
The Standard Fare at Cafe Andino  - Aji De Gallina

My typical breakfast at Zarellas - Mexicana Burrito
Typical Ceviche with Maiz (corn) -Friday is the best day to get it because of the fresh fish delivery from the coast

Hanging Out:
Internet in Huaraz in painfully it took three weeks, but I finally found a place I could upload photos and video (after converting to MP4) at a decent speed.  The trick is find the place that the "gamers" go to as they have faster network connections
After my long climbs, I would enjoy updating facebook status and my was a chance to unwind
Every day I was in town..I tried to make my way to Cafe Andino to read a book, look at old clmibng magazeens and order a salad
The view from my reading and eating post in Cafe Andino
Inside Cafe Andino
The second best Chifa Place.  One night after a climb, I gave all of the staff shots of shitty alcohaul.  They were really nice to me after that
The square where I did my fancy eating.  El Horno had great pizza although a little pricey - 21 soles per pizza.
Inside the most convenient but worst service Chifa place ever.  At least here you dont have to tip.  It was next to Zarelas.  I must have eaten here 10-15 times, no joke.  8 Soles for a dish
Dinner at the Israeli House 
Dinner at the Israeli House
With Guy at the Israeli House.  We met on the bus to Huaraz and he invited me in.  It felt like family.  Although I do not speak Hebrew.

Goofing Around:
Cory and Tony warming in the thermal caves of Chancos
Letting out beards grow out in the mountains
I decided to leave a mustache - temporarily
Big Family Meal at Mary´s
Opening some wine to relax with

Interesting Differences:
You can only pull out 100 sole (38$) bills from the ATM.  These are useless in Hauraz as their value is too strong, so they must be changed at the bank, which is takes 5-20 minutes wating in line
The sewage system is poor so all toilet paper goes in a waste bin near the toilet
In Huaraz, they can make anything for you.  They fixed my pants, sewed  a stuff sack up and oh yeah...MADE ME A HAUL BAG for 30 bucks...really good quality
Here is the haul bag..It is pretty sturdy
A stray dog - one of hundreds
Two dogs having sex - very common siting

Where  I Lived
La Casa De Zarela
Me and Zarela.  She was an amazing host and friend - I am sure to stay there again my next visit
The view from the top floor sundeck - where I spent a lot of my down time reading
another view from the sundeck
Upstairs "make your own breakfast" spot - Spent a lot of time up here with Catalons and Spainards
Downsdtairs "Im lazy, can you make me breakfast spot"  Really good food though
My bed for 7 weeks
Laundry service 6 soles per kilo
1.5 soles per liter.  This was eco friendly as i just filled my nalgene

 The Locals
A Local Quechuan Child guarding our bag
A Local Quechuan Woman sipping tea