Trip Report
"No Bad Weather"- FA, Patagonia '09
Saturday October 24, 2009 10:51am
When 20 days of a 23 day trip are stormy, you must be in patagonia.

Drawn at the base of Torres Del P{aine
Drawn at the base of Torres Del P{aine
Credit: Phantom Fugitive
One hundred arm circles.

One hundred jumping jacks.

Fifty air squats.

One half-hearted warrior pose.

Three Downward facing dog-ish moves.

Morning calisthenics over, I return to our cave dwelling at Vivac Polacos, beneath the rime covered spiney summit of Fitz Roy.


The wind is holding strong at 14 knots, and even though I don't really know what that means, I know what it feels like. Every jumping jack I perform, I am blown 3 inches farther from where I started. Trying to stretch out my over-nourished and under-exercised body is a multi stage exercise I have grown accustomed to.

Four layers on top, then three layers on my legs all while cocooned inside my bag. Pull on my hoody, and finally feel warmth. Then muscle on the socks, both pairs, swing into my shoes, gloves and trusty hat. Hope they are all dry from the last time I got restless.

Goggles on.

Check.

Shoes Laced. Sort of.

Check.

Emerge.
Chad Shepard braves a cold morning.
Chad Shepard braves a cold morning.
Credit: Phantom Fugitive

I see sunlight kissing the summits of Torre Egger and Standhardt, and bark another "WooHOO!" from far beneath folds of fabric. I look over to my wind swept pal Chad. We can't see anything more than each-others noses, so we exchange "knowing nods" and hand gestures. Shouting to each-other in this wind has become a labor we have retired from long ago.

We hear a "WHUMPHHH!" from the cave and turn to see my sleeping bag and bivy sack being vacuum-sucked out- flapping wildly in the sky, snapping and whipping like a windsock in Kansas. One lone fingertip of a zipper caught between two rocks is the only thing keeping it from flying to Tierra Del Fuego- the not-so-nearby official "end of the earth".

Our buddy Aaron emerges from a bathroom break that surely felt like peeing off the side of a semi-truck at 90 mph on the interstate. Eventually he realizes his sleeping bag was taken by the demanding wind, and sent to places and heights unknown. We searched for over an hour, and he headed back down the grande glacier, head hung low, not willing to suffer another storm without a place to hide.

Get wet, dry out, sort, repeat.
Get wet, dry out, sort, repeat.
Credit: Phantom Fugitive

Sometimes the adventures of climbing are not in the climbing... but in the simply trying to.

The day before we were 1200' up the couloir on the South side of St. Exupery, when we felt the Patagonian smack-down of mind-numbing wind, and body-numbing snow-rain-slush. We hightailed it back to our 10 foot diameter haven of rock, and stripped down to the only things left dry- base layers, hair and skin.

Heading up De LA 'S' Couloir
Heading up De LA 'S' Couloir
Credit: Phantom Fugitive
After the disappearing sleeping bag, we took a hint from Fitz Roy and headed back down to Niponino base camp, where many reclining yet amply insulated bodies dotted the landscape. Down here, the sun was shining, and the wind was nothing more than a light breeze.

I dropped my pack, and raced over to "El Mochito" an otherwise fantastic wall despite it's small stature standing near such overshadowing behemoths as Fitz, Egger, and Poincenot.

Credit: Phantom Fugitive
Fellow Americans and artists Cedar Wright and Renan Ozturk were gearing up for a third attempt at pushing a line up the "Cheeto" and I arrived in the nick of time at the base to hitch a ride along salvaging what could of been a waste of a day. It was 4 pm, and we started up a 1000' new route.

Sounds about right.

After two pitches of thin finger cracks, splitter hands, and wide hip-stretching stems, I reached into my pocket to find a pair of rotten, but useable tapegloves. The next 200 feet followed various sizes and angles of offwidth and fist crack, gnarly and gnashing it's teeth at us as we raced towards the summit and away from nightfall.

Renan and I were simul-following Cedars last lead tied into delicate 8 mil half ropes. Between the two of us, we had one tiny headlamp. I would climb five feet, and shine the way for Renan; we would find the best rest we could in a leaning stance, sharing crimps, and fingerlocks, then do it all over again. Renan and I had spent the previous week working on a large painting together, and were now creating art of an entirely different medium- suffering.

Cedar painting in his favorite medium- suffering.
Cedar painting in his favorite medium- suffering.
Credit: Phantom Fugitive
More than once, we'd find ourselves in a tenuous series of moves, in water-logged jams, pulling through roofs, then the headlamp would catch a fleeting glimpse of the ropes above us, revealing that Cedar's mad double rope technique on the lead had left one of us 30 feet out of the way of protection, looking at pendulums of carnival-ride proportions.

In one of these situations, Renan accidentally pulled off a loose block, and took a whipper into the dark with no headlamp, spitting an arcing shower of blood from torn flesh on his fingers. My gnarled tape gloves came in handy once again as we pilfered fresh tape to patch his mangled paw before moving on into the dark.
Renans Slaughtered paws
Renans Slaughtered paws
Credit: Tim Kemple
Credit: Phantom Fugitive

An hour later we stood atop the Mochito,in more or less one piece. My only summit on the trip, my first and only route climbed in Patagonia, and I was a hitch-hiker!

You take what you can get in Patagonia, and then... you go home.

This line of thinking ultimately influenced the routes name, accepting the weather and situation and living in the moment, whether wet, dry, or blowing helplessly in the wind.
Summit shot! No Bad Weather!
Summit shot! No Bad Weather!
Credit: Tim Kemple

Jeremy Collins

Route: El Mochito, Argentine Patagonia "No Bad Weather" IV 5.11+ R
FA: Wright, Ozturk, Collins 2.09

  Trip Report Views: 2,974
Phantom Fugitive
About the Author
Jeremy Collins has a need for more cowbell.

Comments
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Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
  Oct 24, 2009 - 11:55am PT
This one goes to eleven!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Oct 24, 2009 - 12:10pm PT
After reading Enduring Patagonia, it seems you might have even been lucky with that! Way to get after it dude!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Oct 24, 2009 - 01:57pm PT
Excellent!
Pate

Trad climber
  Oct 24, 2009 - 05:11pm PT
The word I reserve for only special posts:

Whoa.

Admirable trip and great writing, words are your third artistic medium.


You guys are keeping it real for sure. Whenever I read these tales of Patagonia I struggle between two thoughts.

One: I have to go there and c limb before I die.

Two: I swear I will never go there and climb in my lifetime.

Phantom Fugitive

Social climber
Misery
Author's Reply  Oct 26, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
thanks guys.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Oct 26, 2009 - 10:31pm PT
Nice artwork!
The route and the drawings.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Oct 27, 2009 - 11:17am PT
Are there anchors on top and a bolted rap route?
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Oct 27, 2009 - 12:25pm PT
Sounds like a good time !
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Nov 1, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
Thanks Jer! Beats a day on the couch (or the snow cave) anytime. Way ta get after it!
adam d

climber
CA
  Nov 1, 2009 - 11:09pm PT
A nicely captured experience, in words and images...well done. I was only able to get up de la S on my trip down there. Paul T said to me about summits though..."you only need one" to make your trip down there feel worthwhile. Thanks for sharing.
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Sebastopol
  Nov 2, 2009 - 03:40pm PT
Thanks for sharing, Jer. Glad you got up something.
Phantom Fugitive

Social climber
Misery
Author's Reply  Nov 4, 2009 - 09:41pm PT
thanks Jerry.
been trying to figure out how to do that tuesday night for november... but it's not working out. maybe in Oh-10...
take care.
Lasti

Trad climber
Budapest
  Aug 28, 2014 - 11:22pm PT
The mining continues deep into the bowels of the Tacostand.

BUMP for REAL Badazz climbing content.

Lasti
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 29, 2014 - 05:46am PT
Missed this one.....way to go"
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 29, 2014 - 11:12am PT
Killer. 5p start to a 1,000 ft .11+ FA in Patagonia with one headlamp - yeah not bad.

And great bump.
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Aug 29, 2014 - 01:35pm PT
Total Power, Total Cool! The book that came out of this was beautiful, Jer. I really like your mix of line illustration and watercolor. Keep at it!
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