Sunday, January 27, 2008

the patagonia trip: P-Town Rock

The morning weather would have been the perfect compliment to an evil wizard's castle.  Regardless, we resolved to accomplish something.  At the least we could cache gear at the base of the route.

At the crest of the talus we donned every layer and fought the wind to stay grounded.  Snow fell, blinded and wet us.  We ate and waited.  Why not try to climb the first pitches?  We could fix the ropes and have a head start for our next try if the tempest persisted.

I led the first pitch, stopping and starting many times as my body vascilated between warming up and shutting down.  Then Voytek jogged up behind me and led the next pitch from my hanging belay.

Voytek was a hundred feet above when I heard an explosion shake the valley.

By this point we were decently conditioned to the sound of rockfall and avalanches in the amphitheater.  I worried more when we first arrived in the high valley.  One particular morning, I was seized from sleep by a sound like a building falling down or a train crashing.  I sprang out from our boulder on a wave of emergency reaction.  I knew we couldn't be in the direct path of any rock fall, but worried the shaking ground might shift our bivy rock, and that would be it for Los Americanos.  The panic subsided to memory and I felt more hardened to these geological thunder storms.

But what I was hearing from my hanging stance amid snow, rain and Patagonian wind was bigger and closer than what I had come to know.  I turned my head a fraction and saw it.  The sky blotted out as a monument's worth of rock shot from the Central Tower and bombed a swath of ground to our right with tub sized boulders that spun and bounced in the slow motion of disaster time.

I yee-hawed into the aftermath to rid the shock of what I'd witnessed and I looked down too see that Dave was safe, scurrying around to find better cover.  I imagined what it'd look like if I saw that cloud coming down on me.

Voytek finished the pitch and we descended to ABC where we cooked endless dishes of the last bits of virtually all of our foods.

We ate polenta with veggie soup sauce.  We drank Zucar.  We ate pasta with parmesan.  We drank Zucar.  We ate a milk peanutbutter and apricot dish of Voytek's devizing.  We drank chai tea.

I went to bed at 8pm and slept deeply.

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