Camping in Yosemite can be a real nightmare. If you plan to arrive during the peak summer season and like most climbers have not reserved your camp site months in advance your maximum stay at Camp Four will likely be seven days. Park Rangers strictly enforce the 7 day rule. You can get around it if your lucky but this will envolve a constant game of cat and mouse with the Park Rangers. Freedom camping is basically not an option in the Valley.
The snow is lightly falling as we sit in the wardens quarters of Homer Hut with Al Uren, Al Walker, Jimmy, Shelagh and Keara. The fire is cranked up and our bags are packed for a 12.45 am wake up call. We have three bottles of wine open and they are going down nicely as we sit by the warm fire talking and soaking up the Darrans atmosphere. Shelagh is a university lecturer and is researching motivating factors for climbers and how those climbers socialise within the climbing community. Our discussion comes around to the bond between climbing partners.
Team members Jono Clarke, Daniel Joll & Steven Fortune will be heading to Patagonia for a five week expedition starting 1st December 2013. They are hoping to make a second ascent of the line Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk climbed in 2012 on Cerro Torre.
Here is a photo essay of previous Patagonia expeditions team members have taken part in. Patagonia is an inspiring location to visit and climb in.
Sometimes its good to dream. For many years I dreamed of climbing Les Dru in Chamonix. Initially my dream was to climb the Bonatti Pillar. Turns our I had left my first visit to Chamonix to late, by the time I first arrived in Chamonix the pillar had fallen down. My dream crushed into millions of small stones at the base of the Dru’s North Face. However, the dream didn’t die. The Dru still stood and it had plenty of other routes to offer. Each visit to Chamonix I would take a walk up valley and stare at the Dru. Its steep North and West Faces leading to a double pointed summit.
There is something special in the bond shared between alpine climbing partners. When you’re alone on a mountain and being tested and pushed and forced to rely on each other, the emotional strain can break even the closest friendships. But there’s nothing more motivating than watching my climbing partners rise to a challenge, push their limits and take extra risk so we can succeed. When all the members of a team contribute and take their chances to reach a combined goal, it builds confidence and trust that can be drawn on at a later date.