Patagonia 2013 TR -- Lessons in Ego and Caring


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The Dak

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 4, 2013 - 03:05pm PT
I spent 5 weeks in January and early February this year down in Argentine Patagonia, climbing in Los Glaciares National Park, home of the Fitz Roy and Torre massifs.

I wrote up a story/trip report/introspection about the experience on my blog, but figured some monkeys here on Supertopo might enjoy reading it as well. At the very least I promise there's lots of awesome and inspiring photos to look at -- and some guest appearances by many Valley regulars and denizens.

Hope y'all enjoy:

The views aren't too bad down south
The views aren't too bad down south
Credit: Cheyne Lempe photo

Apr 4, 2013 - 03:42pm PT
Holy cow!!! Real nice writing, photos and climbing. That was pretty impressive to read. Thanks for what you've done on the Dirtbag Diaries too.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Apr 4, 2013 - 05:37pm PT
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Apr 4, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
Incredible, thank you for sharing. Hope I can check out Patagonia with own eyes some day.

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Apr 4, 2013 - 06:17pm PT
So f*#king good.....
Thank you for sharing.
The writing is excellent.

Boulder climber
Apr 4, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
Austin......thanks for posting....was good hanging out with yal down there....was some good times had by all..hope too see ya soon down here in the Sierra....cheers bro!!


Mckinleyville, Ca
Apr 4, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
Great writing on the ego. Couldn't help detailing one of Dak's brilliant photos. The goddess in a gown and jeweled headdress.
from an Austin Siadak original photograph
from an Austin Siadak original photograph
Credit: rrider

(edit: names corrected -sorry about that)
The Dak

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2013 - 06:57pm PT
Thanks rrider, that pic is actually one of mine. She sure is a beautiful devil though, ain't she?

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Apr 4, 2013 - 06:58pm PT
Thanks for the peek.

Man, that is another realm, of which I may never get to dive into.


Apr 4, 2013 - 07:03pm PT
The Care Bear Traverse sounds like one of the finest alpine rock routes anywhere.

Trad climber
Yosemite, ca
Apr 4, 2013 - 09:14pm PT
After only 4 years of climbing.....that is impressive. Sounds really scary up there.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Apr 4, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
Great read and awesome photos.
Super inspiring!

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 4, 2013 - 09:37pm PT

Wow. Double wow. TRIPLE WOW!!!!!

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Apr 4, 2013 - 10:04pm PT
The quest to become your own hero. Self respect is hard earned.

I loved your writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the beauty of the place.

Sport climber
Home away from Home
Apr 4, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
Great writing... love the honesty about ego and your willingness to share your thoughts ....

"It demanded concentration
fear and ability to control it
pain and discomfort
flesh and blood

Amazing photos... thanks for taking us on the trip with you, mentally, physically and visually.


beneath the valley of ultravegans
Apr 4, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
Pretty damn rad! How cool is the Southern Cross? And that spot where you realize the pampas meets the mountains? And Ana's Chocolateria?! Can't beat that.

It was nice reading about the things I think about constantly. Just with nicer photos.

Keep at it!

Northern Mexico
Apr 4, 2013 - 11:46pm PT
Epic read.


Trad climber
Apr 5, 2013 - 12:34am PT
BUMP. Austin, this is amazing. Very inspirational.

"I've imagined myself in situations like this before, when I read epic stories in climbing magazines or books about all-night descents and precarious moments. I always figured I'd find the strength to focus my mind and take control when I found myself in that position. But in that moment, as the sh#t inched closer and closer to the fan, I realized that I just didn't have it in me. I wanted to be able to take the lead. I wanted to pull my weight. I didn't want to look like a gumby in front of such accomplished people. I wanted them to like me and respect me. But I was just so tired. "

^That really hit home to me. After climbing my first El Cap route in the winter and that route as my first epic, I went through a very similar situation in my head. Glad to hears other disclose similar feelings.

keep following your dreams!!

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Apr 5, 2013 - 09:44am PT
tHanks for letting us all into your thoughts and experience. I respect you for this.

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 5, 2013 - 11:11am PT
Stellar pictures and great writing.
What a grand adventure.

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Apr 5, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
Nice... most people don't learn what you have learned so quickly and most people who climb to impress others don't last very long in the sport... it gets them or they get out! Good for you!

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Apr 5, 2013 - 05:42pm PT
bump in case you missed one of the best tr's and writeups on ST

link from the OP


Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
Fantastic TR! Deep soul searching, taking the bode to extremes and and revelations of the mind.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Apr 5, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
Verrrrry cooool, great introspection and analysis!!!!!!!!

Much respect, for your personal journey!!!!!
john hansen

Apr 5, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
Thanks for posting , good read.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Apr 6, 2013 - 12:09am PT

Can you say ADVENTURE!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 6, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Austin, contact Alpinist Magazine and get this thing published. It is worth it. Contact me if you want help.
2 l l

Sport climber
Rancho Verga, CA
Apr 6, 2013 - 01:41am PT
The Fitz Roy massif looming over the streets of El Chalten
Nice photo (whoa)

Trad climber
47N 122W
Apr 6, 2013 - 01:53am PT
Nice expe ... and send. Good job on keeping it together when things seemed to be dismal. Life lessons to carry forward. Good Job; anyone who has done a big wall knows the "worn out" feeling ... but the endorphine high that comes thereafter. Sound like your a fellow w.washingtonite.. Nicely done ... good story. What's next?


Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Apr 6, 2013 - 02:02am PT
wow - very cool. An adventure that will always be with you.

Thank you for the great read and photos!
Brian Biega

Truckee, CA
Apr 6, 2013 - 02:51am PT
Awesome report! Thanks for the sharing.

Cheers, Brian

Mountain climber
Apr 7, 2013 - 05:57am PT
a bump for writing that travels to a depth consistent with the depth of the original adventure.

the type of alpinism writing i have the most appreciation for...

thanks for the share.


Trad climber
Apr 7, 2013 - 10:01am PT
I agree with what Peter Haan said on your blog, you should send this to Alpinist. You have something significant to say that goes beyond a mere trip report. You openly discuss things that all of us can relate to and understand. Very well done on both counts, Austin: the climbing and the writing. This is a report I will read again.

Trad climber
Apr 7, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
I agree! This is a great read, and should be in Print. Alpinist would be a great place for it. Don't give your self away for free!

And I respect your perspective on how hard it is to face the demons. I will reflect on this when I am choosing to bail or continue. Why should we go up/down? Where is my ego in this equation?

Climbing at this level after only 4 years? Jeez. You are a badass! Makes me wonder what I could be capable of if I were to suppress the fear and go for it. I am not jealous, I am Inspired!
Thanks for that!
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Apr 7, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
A trip like this will stay with you for as long as you live! Excellent read.

Apr 7, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
Bump this... So cool

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 8, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Bump, for some really excellent, introspective writing.
I agree with Peter's comment!
Keith Leaman

Trad climber
Apr 8, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
The Dak,
So the State Department's loss is the climbing community's gain! Excellent writing. Like the Mickey Smith quote in your blog: "If I only scrape a living, at least it's one worth scraping".

We climbed a bit with Jon last week and I was hoping one of you guys would post a TR about this extraordinary adventure. His videos of Ben siphoning water from the cracks with a Mylar wrapper and plastic tube was priceless. Sounded like spectacular weather. Well done!

Trad climber
Apr 8, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Absolute Full Value. Way to go guys. These three are beyond words...

Credit: A. Siadak

Credit: A. Siadak

Credit: A. Siadak

But this one is my favorite.

Credit: A. Siadak

Tells the whole story in one image. Thanks for taking us out there and back again.

-Scott Jett

The Dak

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
Thanks to all for the kind words. I'm really glad that you've all enjoyed the words and photos. For various reasons I almost never posted the story to begin with, but now I'm very glad that I did.

@climbski2 -- thanks for the Kipling poem. I hadn't see that one before and I was very struck by his words. Now THAT is some excellent writing!

@marty(r) -- you definitely can't beat Ana's alfajores, that's for sure.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 8, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
WOW! Well done, well done, well done.....thanks for the effort!

Apr 9, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
Amazing writeup. So raw and real. This deserves to be on the front page.... of Alpinist.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 9, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
Loved it!


Trad climber
Mountain View
Apr 25, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
Bump. Way to put it all out there!


Jun 23, 2013 - 02:51am PT
wow, super good write-up. it's always great when people are honest.

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Jun 23, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
Wow! and wow! again,

A remarkable adventure, the endurance, skill, and belief required for something like the Care Bear is mighty impressive. All the more so given the pointless audacity of the line.

You deserve 'Conquistador' (of the Useless) status ;-)

Great Stuff.


Social climber
your mom's house
Jun 23, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
Wonderful! Thanks...

Oakland, CA
Sep 23, 2014 - 10:39am PT
What a GREAT post. Wow!

The Care Bear Traverse - looks like one of the best lines in the world.

Thinking this prep work ought to get me ready.

Matthes --> Conness North --> Conness West --> T-Bolt to Sill --> .5 Evo?

Tag those over a few years, should be good to go for the Care Bear after that, yeah? Haha.

Trad climber
Nevada City
Sep 23, 2014 - 11:56am PT
It seems I have missed this until now. Quite unfortunate, being that this is some well rounded top shelf, I'm jelly like you don't believe, type stuff.
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