Saturday, January 26, 2008

the patagonia trip: Dave Turner

We woke at 5am to dubious weather, ate breakfast at Voytek's "villa" in the talus, and decided to postpone our decision for the day's action to see what would happen with the weather.  Back to bed.

A few hours later Voytek rousted Dave and I and pointed to a beautiful sky.  It was later than I would have liked to attempt the route, and I was really enjoying the additional rest.  With Voytek's support we decided to put it off.  It could use some time to dry anyway.

Later in the day, which blossomed to the warmest and sunniest of days, we met Dave Turner.  Dave had been on his portaledge soloing a new route on Escudo for 34 days.  It was the first grade VII onsight solo in history.

Every time we ventured into the high valley, we were comforted by his California-eye-in-the-sky presence.  Where's Waldo?  Where's the fly on that big granite wall?  Ah, relief, there it is!

The evening Dave and I masqueraded on Taller Del Sol, we heard a woop! waft across the valley.  "I bet that's Dave topping out," my Dave told me and we wooped back as hard as we could into the big void between us and Escudo.

Last night, as we dined with Voytek, we again heard celebratory yells, this time from the base of the wall.  Dave had just touched down after a full day of descending.  We all yelled back, and I yee-hawed to let him know there was another American there to witness his landing.

What a weird meeting to finally put form to legend as Dave, Voytek and I greeted Dave, who was already in conversation with Raul and Lucas of Santiago and the Dutch Guys, Gerke and Marten, atop a moraine.  Dave and I were among the least experienced in the group, but felt we might offer some American familiarity to the contact deprived climber.

Dave was tall and lanky with huge hand and feet and smaller chest and shoulders.  He said fuck a lot and spoke about his rope access work on wind mills and about the pot laws in CA.

Dave told us he had heard our yells the night before, and to some level we all felt a part of his experience, which Steve Sneider had dubbed the biggest adventure since Shackelton's.

"Why are none of us climbing?"  I exclaimed of the beautiful day around us.

"Well, I have an excuse," Dave replied.

We all laughed and felt genuinely good.

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