An expedition, more than a climb.
That was the time I get more deep in the unknown and far away from people in a hostile terrain. Hostile… I mean, you don’t want to twist an ankle 3 days away from society.
This was happening on 2012. I went with the guy who teach me my very first climbing basics. With him as a reference, I learned climbing quick and secure, and with no other than him, I would have went down to that real adventure. His name is Marco Centomo.
Marco had seen a virgin peak deep in Patagonia, on a not frequent region for climbers, and just few trekkers with guides dare to hike so deep. The thing is that there is a very wide river wiggling through the valley, make it hard to walk straight. So the distance are 1 day by 4×4 car (wading the river, if is too high, you have to walk, which adds 1 day more), and 2 days walking, through very tittle paths across a quite vegetated valley, with no paths or trails to follow. He was there twice, before he went with me, he had hike the valley guiding trekkers in winter time where the glaciers are on their greatest strength.
So he told me: – Pendex, would you like to climb an unclimbed peak? – Let’s go!!
It was like… well, I didn’t know where was I pointing. I just had a picture of that peak, taken from very far away, and poor information of the valley thanks to other ascensions on nearby summits. But! still, I was thinking to myself, if I go back accomplished, the reward will be more than I could expect. Fame and great life forever, just like the first explorers. I also was well aware that the challenge was serous, that I was really a novice and that I was about to risk many things, with many ending possibilities.
Once we where there, we hired 2 horsemen that bring our stuff once the 4×4 could no get any further. The horses where there, we arrived at the same time. Horsemen had left the town early in the morning, and we departed later on the day. So we stayed one night on a little shelter were we cooked on life fire a piece of steak and drink some wine.
Life was awesome. I mean, put on my shoes, I was in a little shelter, one day from the village (what a village, no good roads there nor signs of a hospital or modern facilities). And I was standing there, looking over the forest to that little peak, that could be seen leaning out from behind the treetops. I was far away from home (that was south Argentina, I’m from Spain). I was feeling like those soldiers in the movies, enjoying their last jacuzzi before get involve in a hell on earth. The difference was that I knew my battle will turn into a hell just if something goes wrong, and we’ve planned carefully what should we do.
We started walking alone as we saw the horses with all our gear, taking a longer, but easier path for horses. Still it will take two days for them aswell.
Across the valley, with the backpack loaded with food for 2 days, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, little tent (weather was unpredictable), clothes and the camera. We had to wade the river lots of times. as the river was bending itself dozens of times. With no shoes for keep them dry, fighting against de current that destabilize us all the time. And after every wading, the forest was full of itchy and sticky plants that were sooo annoying all the time scratching our legs.
Before arrive to the plateau, the frame was spectacular. We had a machete, for cut all the cane stick that difficult our way. We were deep in the forest that grow next to the river, dense forest, beautiful river, with a waterfall in front of us blocking our way. There, the trail seems to deviate by the right, and turned more steep and climbs over the waterfall, at the same time that the forest open on a meadow wide as a football stadium and long as the eyes could see, with glaciers far away at the end of it. A few hours later we get to a little wooden shelter, quiet rustic, even the roof ceiling had apertures. The shelter was for cover the shepherds that need a break hiking days finding their cattle. Later that day, the horses arrived, let the loads down and back to the valley, as quick as possible.
We were alone, with our destination just in front of us, maybe 30′ walk. I remembered my friends, my family, my climbing starts… I was dreaming, my dream. That was an enterprise that never I would even think of. But there I was, not just attempting something bigger than what I could imagine, I was about to DO IT. I was looking after the next week, it was the first day but I was so confident in myself. I knew I was there for succeed even with no clue of how should we do it.
to be continued