2012, El Chalten, Lessons

The Lessons

In no particular order:

◆    Get In Shape:  Run, run, run.  There is no substitute for cardiovascular fitness in the mountains.  Stairmaster, hill runs, bike rides, whatever, train for long up hill climbs.
◆    Bring Lots of Tat:  Bailing is part of the Patagonian experience.  Even in nice weather you have to come down after summiting.  Bring lots of webbing and cord to replace and beef up anchors.
◆    Take Off/Secure Your Sunglasses When Using A Tyrolean:  Enough said.
◆    Stack the Odds in Your Favor:  Prepare your camp and supplies.  Scout approaches, cache gear, know the lay of the land.  Use weather inappropriate for climbing to do these tasks.  Have more food than you think you will need at your high camp so you can move up to it light and quick, saving energy for the climb.  The harder you work, the luckier you get.
◆    Camp Well: Nobody camps better or more bombproof than us.

Dulce de Leche

◆    Learn the Food:  Learn what food you like and what powers you the best.  Food is different everywhere.  Buy it when you see it, it may not be there tomorrow or next week.
◆    Patagonia Is Just Like the Winds, Only Different:  You cross rivers, travel on steep moraines, walk on glaciers, face loose rock and do long approaches.  However, everything is four times bigger, taller, or longer including energy expenditure and time to get a rescue.
◆    Give, Give, Give:  When it is needed, bend over backwards to help others.  Change your plans to offer assistance.  YOU are the cavalry.  YOU are the rescue service.  And someday you may need it from someone else.
◆    When You Need Help, Ask:  Never underestimate the resources of others or of a human beings ability to persevere or tolerate adversity and uncertainty.
◆    Carry a Satellite Phone:  Your life, your partners or someone else’s may depend on it.  The technology is available.  Use it.

The Red Bull Rescue Bird. Not available in El Chalten anymore.

◆    Choose Your Partners Wisely:  Make sure that you will go to the edge with your partner and that they can bring you back.  Make sure that they will go to the edge with you and that you can bring them back.  There is no substitute for confidence and trust in your partner.  Your life is in their hands.
◆    Trust Your Gut:  If something doesn’t feel right, it might not be.  The mountains will always be there.
◆    Learn to Read Meteograms:  There are no pictures of sun or clouds or snowflakes.  You must interpret raw weather data predictions.  If in doubt, talk about it with other climbers.  El Chalten is a veritable treasure trove of professional level climbers who know their shit.
◆    Bring Trekking Poles
◆    Above all, do not underestimate the mountains.

One Comment

  1. “a friend is someone you look in zee eye and say ‘i vill go to zee edge with you'”
    -long haired burly german.

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