The best time at Hatun Machay. Clear blue skies, brisk temperatures, sunshine warming your toes, and a steaming mug of mate de coca tea. Papaya drenched with lime juice.
Once stomachs are satiated, the exodus from the refugio occurs. Last night I met the rest of the folks staying here: Chevy (de Ecuador — professional climber), Salvador (de España — Chevy’s videographer), Carlos (de España — Chevy’s climbing mentor friend), Melissa (de Lima — Chevy’s friend), Virginie (de Belgium — Anna’s friend), Nicola (de Washington), Anna (de Bavaria), and Andres (de Argentina – he runs the refugio). Quite a crew.
Chevy and company headed to the cave. A new cave. This one is way the hell out there and too far. He’s putting up new routes as the walls in this cave have not been climbed before. Luciano and I headed to the Placa Verde wall with Nicola and Anna. As I was the most experienced climber in the group, and Gary had so generously lent me his climbing gear (WAY COOL!) I led three routes and set up top ropes. Nothing like getting on the sharp end to start a climbing trip!
This climb was awesome. 23 meters. 5.9. “Estoy Estoy Como Estoy Stone”.
Nicola and Anna headed out after lunch and I headed to the cave with Martin and Virginie to see the project room.
Wow. Hard! This route, Salacion, is a 7c – 8a… 5.12d – 5.13b. I forget. Arrived in the thick fog, with two sleeping bags packed into my pack and hot tea in my waterbottle. Chevy was bolting a variation of his new route. (Bolting: drilling holes into the rock and screwing in bolts). Martin helped up top with the fixed rope and Virginie and I stayed in the cave and acted as the hands, passing bolts (chupas), quick draws (expresas) and whatever else was needed. Cool to learn the process!
When the sun started to head for its pillow on the horizon, we hiked the steep gully back up to the refugio.