And so it was that on the afternoon of the 17th of March we parted ways, all leaving Bariloche, perhaps for the last time. Dave was headed north to Buenos Aires. He had changed his flight and was heading back to the States on the 18th. Josh and I were heading north as well. We were headed to the wine country around Mendoza. So it all ended there on the sidewalk in front of La Bolsa del Deportes with handshakes and hugs.

So what of the expedition? Dave will likely post here, as will I as I collect my thoughts, notes and memories. Bits and pieces will come together, but with three separately intertwined experiences the complete picture can´t truly be described. This is my point of view.

We were successful. We had an objective. We completed that objective in good health and more importantly, in good spirits. We worked really, really hard. We laughed a bit, swore much, suffered minorly, and most importantly (from my perspective anyway) came out of it still friends.

At different times we all put ourselves out there, on the line, on the sharp end so to speak. We ate a lot of pasta, a lot of galletas and not enough dulce de leche. We drank a little whiskey and a little mate. We discovered that raspberry Hammer Gel is a great topping for crackers, cookies, pancakes, and crudo. We hacked through bamboo, sweated in the sun and sweated in the rain. We took photos. We made plans. We changed plans. We told “your mom” jokes. We laughed and cursed. We cursed the leaky, unbreathable shelters. We improvised. We made mistakes. We ducked flying rocks and cursed pongo sticks. We cursed canada, bicho, and chioule. We thanked for the weather window that closed down on us only hours after we laid down to sleep for the first time in 40 hours. We climbed splitter cracks, had our doubts and fears. We got scared. Ultimately we sent. We took, we rappelled and we downclimbed. We lusted for water and I savored dried fruit. And so much more.

Here it is more chronologically:

We started on the twenty sixth with a boat ride across Lago Puelo.  The next day we hiked twenty miles with hired horses carrying our loads. The next day we travelled through dense forest with chioule (ka lee way) a type of bamboo, and thick underbrush, in the rain. The following day more of the same. The next day we carried a load of climbing gear into the Piritas Valley and returned to our previous camp. The next day we carried our food and shelter stuff up to the valley and established a base camp. Two days of travel through the thick chioule. The next day we shuttled climbing gear to the base of the objective and scouted. We returned to base camp and rested for a day. The next day under blue skies we returned to where the horses had dropped us off. Then the next two days we hiked back up to base camp with enough food to support our selves. The following day we hiked to our gear at the base of the route and established a high camp and climbed two pitches, leaving ropes on them to climb quicker in the AM. The next morn at five we walked out of camp and climbed all day; we topped out the route at noon the following day. High pressure prevailed. We then spent the next seven hours walking and rappelling off of the back side of the formation. We got to camp about seven o’clock. We ate, drank and finally slept as the clouds obscured our peak and the rain started to fall. Perfect timing. The next day we returned to our base camp at the edge of the trees. Over the following two days we hiked out to where the horses dropped us.  Finally, we rafted about twenty miles of class two glacial river in the Sevylor FishHunter 280 and Supercaravelle XR66GTX. Fine sturdy water craft that they are.  We ate like pigs when we reached our camp that evening. The next morning we caught a boat back across Lago Puelo and then a bus to Bariloche.

And now we drink wine and eat millinesas.


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