Friday, January 25, 2008

the patagonia trip: The Wake Up Call

"Hey, Dan and Dave," said a muffled voice.

I blinked to clear sand from my eyes and peeked from my alpine hangover.

Clearer now, "Wake up Americans.  It's time to climb Taller Del Sol."

When the contrast balanced I could see out from our dark hole and saw Voytek's smiling face.

"What do you mean?  That was yesterday.  We're out of food."  I told him.

He explained that he had food from the rest of his team who had taken off, done with Paine, having slapped the top of each of the three towers.

"Once you obtain your goals," Voytek told us, "it can be very hard to seek new ones."

But Voytek had not been satisfied by the climbing quality on his share of the South African expedition and wanted a last stand.  He wanted a route that was excellent for the climbing, not strictly the easist way to bag another summit.  He wanted Taller del Sol.  The route everyone was talking about, but few pursued as they focused on bigger prizes.

I beamed with gratitude and enthusiasm.  Then Voytek, the Polish South African angel, silouetted by clear sky, sauntered off to find a bivvy spot of his own.

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