Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quick trip to Chile

Although the weather is getting quite winter like here in the NW, I fooled my body completely last week with a last minute, short trip down to Valle Nevado in Chile. It happened like this:

The phone rings while I am sitting on my couch resting after throwing myself at more climbs over my head. Its Mike Hattrup from K2, skiing legend, childhood idol, and my contact at K2 skis.
'What are you doing in September?' Me: 'Climbing, why?' Mike: 'Want to go skiing in Chile for a week? We'll foot the bill."

Ummmmmmmmmm, YA!!!!! Who wouldn't? So there it goes, we all rallied and spent 5 days ski touring in the Andes, in the Valle Nevado ski area slack country.

I will spare you with blabber, and make this more of a photo post. Basics were this: lowest snow in 15 years, hit a rock on every run, blown away by the mountains there, no jet lag, lots of sucking wind at altitude, winter camping with a stove with no lighter, lots of Chilean Red wines, friendly people.

Here are the photos.

Aconcogua from the plane at sunrise

View of the Andes halfway thru the 65 switchbacks up to the ski hills

Valle Nevado backcountry skiing

Searching for the wind filled lines

Looking for the deep snow with El Plomo (5400m) in the background

Graham gets some September recycled powder

Sunshine ski touring

The Incas summited these glaciated peaks over 500 years ago, with their 8 year old children and then left them on the summit as sacrifices. Puts 'mountaineering' in perspective. This is a replica of the 'mummy' of that 8 year old boy that was found 40 years ago on the summit.

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