Nov 102011
 

The second of three $5,000 Planet GRANTS It! grants was awarded to Jakob, Daniel and Paul who pitched an amazing trip for this winter, travelling by horseback through the Cochamo Valley to put up a ton of First Ascents, many in the moderate grade range.  Their trip is a true inspiration, promoting a sustainable form of travel and routes that all of us can climb!  They still need to raise additional funds for their trip.  Please contact Paul at paul@treksandtracks.com if you would like to help support their expedition.

A note from Paul about their inspiration and preparation as they look to embark on their journey in the next month!

There’s a quote I like that I heard some time ago.  It goes:

“At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable”.

Looking ahead, Jakob, Daniel and my departure for Cochamo Valley in Northern Patagonia looms less than a month away.  Looking back, it would seem the above quote proved prophetic.  Although one could argue that we added a few steps between ‘improbable’ and ‘inevitable’, and with our fair share of obligations stateside, maybe ‘unreasonable’, perhaps even ‘irresponsible’.  But when Planet GRANTS It! generously opened a door for us, there was no delaying and certainly no looking back. We were catapulted kicking and screaming squarely into ‘inevitable’ territory – a dream trip we had been slowly cooking up for years was imminently going to come true: two and a half months of horse-supported rock climbing with a focus on first ascents.

111110 Tipi base camp in a CO meadow
Tipi base camp in a Colorado meadow

And so the mad rush and scramble to prepare our bodies and minds began.  Fresh off several months on the high seas, we were woefully unprepared to tackle two months of horse-packing and rock climbing in the Chilean backcountry.  Any semblance of a callous on our hands had long been washed away by tepid salt water; our leg muscles had withered to embarrassing proportions from being confined to a 34′ boat.  But our hearts!  Our hearts were all in.

Jakob and Daniel high-tailed it for the Colorado backcountry, spending five weeks dialing in horse-packing techniques.  Highlights include a modern take on an age-old shelter: a 15′ diameter tipi constructed with rip-stop nylon that will serve as our main shelter for the trip.  We have a solid start, but there will be no substitute for connecting with and learning from the deep-rooted culture of horsemanship that has thrived in the Cochamo region for hundreds of years.

111110 Packing horses through the backcountry
P
acking horses through the backcountry.

Paul reacquaints himself with granite

Our next stop was Yosemite National Park for some late season training.  Cochamo Valley has often been likened to an un-developed Yosemite Valley, with its 1,000 meter soaring granite walls and laser-cut splitter cracks.  With the promise of this climber’s paradise ahead, we relished the pain of every hand-jam and finger-lock, toughening up our hands 111110 Jakob makes way up a yosemite finger crack
for the coming expedition.

Now, back in civilization, we delve into the nitty-gritty of the planning stage: sifting through topo maps, editing gear lists, making travel arrangements and searching for additional sponsors.

Put it all together and you have three aspiring climbers and horsemen on the brink of a trip that started as a far fetched idea over a cold night’s campfire several years back.  Impossible, to improbable, and now inevitable.  More to come as our departure date approaches.

111110 October in Yosemite
October in Yosemite

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