After one of the busiest guiding seasons in the Sierra that I have had, then transitioning into AMGA Exam mode and climbing for the month of October without much break, I packed up all my alpine gear and flew out of LAX to Bariloche, Argentina to guide some courses for the Outward Bound Patagonia program as well as take some personal time to get rad in El Chalten with the weather permitting.
I arrived only a couple days before the students, to prep the course. The month long trip was the second phase of a larger semester that began in North Carolina and will continue in Florida after this phase.
Expedition style climbing and mountaineering was the name of the game, and we got in many awesome summits and locations working within the constraints of some very fierce Patagonian weather.
|This was the GOOD day at the Frey!|
|Looking up at Tronador, the objective during the second phase of the trip|
|First we gotta get there though! Plastics ain´t fun!|
|Too bad the scenery is so drab...|
|No Man´s Land, Chile-Argentine Border|
|Approaching Refugio Viejo on the flanks of Tronador|
|Teaching a lesson on self arrest and crampon techniques|
For the last several days of the trip, we let the students take more control over the navigation and management and let them plan and manage some summit climbs of Mar del Piedra, Mirador del Doctor, and Cerro Capitan. By far the highlight of this section, and probably the whole trip (at least for me) was approaching Mirador del Doctor, which is an overlook which juts out above the fjord-like Lago Frey, and seeing a juvenile condor hanging out. She let us watch her for a few minutes and then flew off, letting us take over the summit block while she came back and spent 20 minutes circling us as close as I have ever seen them. There was a palpable magic in the air as we all sat there silently letting her circle us curiously, hearing the wind whip through the feathers on the tips of her wings.
|Tronador on the left, Mar del Piedra on the right|
|The mirador down below.|
|2 year old condor. They live on average to 50 years.|
|Holes made by the wind moving water in a circular motion for thousands of years.|
|Up close and personal.|
|Summit of Cerro Capitan, 30th Birthday|
|Wanda presents some delicious Dulce de Leche covered birthday cake!|
|Crossing Laguna Creton on our way out of the mountains on our last day.|