Road Trip no. 1

This was not in the Brochure!!!

Well we have been out for 5 days on our first mini road trip to a collection of crags called El Aguila (The Eagle). We arrived as the weather was far from nice, as light drizzle, we quickly retreated to our tents after a quick evening meal. Half way through the night the rain stopped hitting the tent, and the world seemed like a better place already.

That was until I woke up and realized that whilst the rain had stopped, the snow had started. So day one and I am an inch deep in snow on the first morning. I almost got on the sat phone to my boss Jaya, and protest that this was not in the brouchure. Anticipating the laughter as a reply I tuck in my skirt and we got on with some basic hoists around the camp ground. It soon dried up, and we got climbing that afternoon. Where the whole group completed there first leads with us. For some it was there first leads ever. A nice bolted Severe or 5.6.

We then spent a day top roping at a windy crag, with the group putting in various runners on top-rope. It was truly blowing, and despite the sun the place felt cold. In fact we all were dressed up in as much clothing as we could find. That evening the wind turned itself off, and stayed off for the rest of our trip, meaning that it finally turned into shorts weather. The group did more easy sports lead climbing, and we jugged next to them as they did there first trad lead, another severe (5.6) corner groove. The group also top-roped a couple of 5.10 (E1) routes. One of the better climbers in the group, manage to lead one of them on bolts, not before another member blew the crux reaching for the ledge below the lower off!

The following day we headed to Pared Sur, a bigger crag, with long single pitch routes on them. The best of which is a 32m (we had 70m ropes!) HVS (5.9) corner with a large roof to traverse out under. We also got the group to learn to abseil past a knot. The group finally started to show signs of a slow attrition, after all we had been climbing pretty much all day everday for over 7 days.

We spent the last day looking at rigging top ropes, and then the typical problems that you can encounter with groups, and how to get out of them as easily as possible. We then got a lift back at 3pm, before a final de-brief of the mini-break back at camp. We have given the group a day off to recover physically and mentally, and allow me and Thomas some down time, and interweb time.

All Aboard
Teaching basic hoists whilst waiting for the snow to melt!

Ian Styling a mixed lead with the gear preplaced

Zack tackles the final crack of a 5.7 mixed route
A lovely 5.7 sport lead, I think Zack is climbing

Will on his first ever lead climb

The impressive Cerro Castillo, the areas highest peak
Base Camp
Top Roping day

Students Mock Leading on top ropes

Tyler making his first real lead up a 5.5 corner/groove
Ian makes the final mantel onto a ledge to clip the lower off on a 5.10 sports route

Fancy footwork on a 5.7 route

Will making his first ever trad lead

Tyler pushing himself to the limit on a 5.10 top rope

A virgin 150m high wall

Woody Wood Pecker visits base camp

I think these are patagonian Orchids, which are pollenated by humming birds. I did see one at the crag, but fail to get a picture. They are amazing birds to watch fly in real life, rather than on BBC nature programmes
Noah effects a Y-hang rescue during a day of problem solving exercises at a single pitch crag.

The sun finally sets on our last day in El Aguila

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