In a land famous for it’s beef we ended the day by sampling some choice cuts

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toilet paper and quail eggs

toilet paper and quail eggs

 

 

120 lbs of food for 20 days

It would seem the worst is over. I made it to Bariloche from Coyhaique without offending anyone too bad (at least to my knowledge) and without starving or ending up on the wrong bus. Even though I don´t speak a lick of spanish.

I arrived about 18 hours before Dave and Josh and had to check several hostels before finding one that had room. I was excited the following day to get an email from them saying they were at a hostel and were awaiting me.

After some chitchatting with our friend and fellow NOLS instructor, Diego, we headed out and took care of some errands, mostly buying machetes, getting them sharpened and buying fuel. We sorted a bunch of climbing gear and went to eat. It is good to be among friends and the anticipation is growing for the Pirate Valley. Today buying food.

 

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Jared buying (pirate) supplies them roaming the Streets of Bariloche, Argentina

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We knew we had found a good place when they had a climbing wall by the entrance

Screaming kids, fat guys leaning against you, no leg room, bad food-that you have to pay for, yup all part of the flying experience

Dave still making the camera blur after 24+ hours of travel

Dave still making the camera blur after 24+ hours of travel

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Once again I am up way to late or is it way to early? I guess it depends if you sleep at all during the night, which in my case is rather doubtful at this point. Josh and I will fly out of Tucson at 9:00 in the morning on our way to rendezvous with Jared in Bariloche, Argentina then continue together to the Pirate Valley. Ok,  back to checking things off the “to do list” that seems to be growing instead of shrinking!

I too just finished up working a rock camp. I agree with Dave’s sentiment that it is not the best place to get or stay in shape. We ended the course last night with a really good asado at the campo of Senora Sepulveda whose land we were climbing on for several weeks. The party lasted into the dark and the students and instructors all enjoyed the roasted sheep.

What does the future hold for Ibanez rock climbing? That is still to be determined. Hopefully someone will find a use for what we have put up over there. At the same time, I hope nobody uses it. It is the catch 22. The landscape will suffer. People will benefit. I leave the area with a heavy heart and many memories. The young children of the campo, constant companions in our camp, will be thought of fondly. I hope only the best for them. I will also think back fondly of the memories of the I-team. While I am saddened that Nate will not be joining us, I am excited for his new directions in life.

I look forward to the Turbio and the Pirate Valley. My head and gut fill with dread as I think about the prospect of traveling from Balmaceda, Chile to Bariloche, AR on my own. I speak about four words of spanish and this part of the expedition has always been my biggest fear. In the end I know I will be OK, but the prospect is daunting.

Tonight is comida y cervezas and a post course dinner. One thing at a time…

 

 

Dave training in Cochise Stronghold

Dave training in Cochise Stronghold

Josh and I just wrapped up two weeks of guiding in the Draggon Mountains of southern Arizona. We were working a NOLS Outdoor Educator in Cochise Sronghold. The environment is polar opposite to what we will experience in the Pirate Valley. In Cochise we had 11 days of cloudless skies, no wind and benign temperatures. The student group was extremely motivated and the instructor team worked long hours every day. Some people think that working for NOLS must keep me in great physical shape for personal expeditions, however the long days often preclude any specific training I might otherwise partake in. But just being in such an amazing wild natural place as Cochise – sleeping on the ground, living simply and climbing everyday is soul enriching training all by itself.