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"Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile initially scared me to death."

- Anonymous

Monday, January 21st, 2013

A weekend “Tour de Force”

This weekend got a little busy in terms of being in the mountains…

Armando and I had a scheduled guiding trip for Saturday and Sunday but we really wanted to get some rock climbing for the week, so very early on Friday morning we crossed the entire city towards La Coconetla and managed to log 5 routes in just a few hours before going back to our regular workday.

On early morning Saturday, Gil joined us for meeting the people we were going to guide at Pico de Orizaba and headed towards Canchola’s place in Tlalchichuca. Joaquín left us at Piedra Grande hut around 4 p.m. and we quickly set up camp and went for a very short acclimatization hike.

As usual, we started the climb around 3 a.m. on Sunday and steadily made our way through the nowadays extremely icy & messy “labyrinth” section of the regular route. Gil and one of the clients had to go back in this section since they were developing altitude sickness. The rest of us hit the base of Jamapa glacier by dawn and quickly setup our gear to attack in 3 different teams, led by Armando, Israel and myself.

I was the first to arrive to the summit with Nacho, a strong French guy that has been living in Mexico for a bunch of years. Armando and his team joined us a little bit after and Israel had to turn back barely close to the crater’s rim since his client was feeling very sick due to the altitude.

After spending some time shooting pics and having a snack, we headed back down the mountain. The return trip was uneventful and really fun. Joaquín was waiting for us at the hut and quickly took everyone down to his place, where we enjoyed the traditional and tasty post-climb lunch. Another great weekend out in the mountains!

Photos from the weekend are here and here or in the slideshows below:

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Coffee and cigarettes

To kick-start the year, the last two weekends were about getting more trad climbing at La Coconetla with my friends. On the first one, Nelly, Mike, Armando and I celebrated Omar’s birthday with an easy tour of routes in the Cuadro Pop and Kilowatito sectors, including a remarkable and spontaneous speed climbing contest at the end of the day.

Yesterday, Cova and I did a couple of routes before deciding to run away from the crowds that gathered at the cliff for attending the rock climbing schools. We ended the day with a great chat and a tasty lunch at one of the cabins along the Dínamo’s road and then headed to Coyoacán to sip a cup of coffee and enjoy a cigarette. Yeah, reminded me of the good old times…

Photos are here and here or in the slideshows below:

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Not looking back

For second year in a row, I won’t be writing a brief recap of the year that just ended. I just don’t feel like I need to recount every little thing that I lived, because, it was enough with enjoying/enduring each of them while they were happening.

Yeah, 2012 was packed with a lot of the usual things: travels, races, mountains, climbing, family, friends, girlfriends, work, concerts, training… the list can be long, and somehow predictable. It would be easy to pretend everything was great, but the fact is that the year also had quite a few very rough moments, which I don’t plan to talk about.

Heck, it wasn’t really bad if you look at it in an objective way. In general, I felt like the year was some sort of continuation of what happened through 2011. New learnings and further practice of previous ones were essential to get along.

I don’t have any kind of resolutions for the new year. The truth is that everything keeps moving and I’ll just flow with the current. For now, there are new things shaping up in the horizon and I’ve been putting my effort in making them happen. The only real plan is to do anything necessary to become my real Self and enjoy life a lot more, being at peace and worrying less…

Goodbye 2012, thank you for everything you brought to me. Every little joy and every little pain is gone now, I’m not looking back at you again

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Climbing round-up

Yesterday I rounded up my year of coming back to climbing with a few moderate trad routes at Aculco with Aline, Cova, Mau & Tristán.

It was Aline’s first time doing crack climbing there, so we opted to split into teams of two and while Cova and Mau tagged a route, Aline and I did the same for another route, then swapping routes and repeating the process in a different sector of the canyon.

Our fun day of climbing included a tour of the following routes: Monarca (5.9), Texcalate (5.7), El Lado Oscuro De La Luna (5.10c), La Proa (5.10a), Torero (5.9) and Está Clavada (5.9).

The great weather and daylight allowed us to enjoy every meter of climbing as well as to take a bunch of great photos, which I personally recommend you to check out

Photos are here or in the slideshow below:

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Wall rats

The last two Sundays were all about running up and down climbing routes in La Coconetla, first with Armando, then with Aline, Cova and Tristán.

On the first visit, Armando and I packed a few multi-pitch options into long stretches of continuous climbing, tagging Las Dalias (5.9, 2 pitches), Las Hormigas (5.10c, 2 pitches) and the usual Sirenos/Viaje Mágico y Misterioso combo (5.10a, 2 pitches) in about 5 hours, rappels included.

On the second visit, we concentrated our efforts at the little section that goes from Cuadro Pop to Herencia de Piedra, going from 5.9 to 5.11a among three different routes. Something tells me that once again we’re becoming some sort of wall rats in this uber-classic trad climbing area…

Photos are here and here or in the slideshows below:

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Defining willpower

This is the man who told me, when I went to Dhaulagiri: “Come back, but if you were not to return… I wish it to be beautiful”.

– Kurt Diemberger, about Herbert Tichy, in Summits and Secrets

I’m just back from spending 4 days in the mountain. This time I went “guiding” to Pico de Orizaba with my new friend Isabel Suppé.

For those who don’t know about Isabel, in 2010 she survived a 400-meter fall off Ala Izquierda del Condoriri’s Southeast face in the Bolivian Andes. She’s the author of Starry Night, a book that narrates her climbing accident and which received a special mention by Desnivel. She’s still physically recovering from the accident and raising donations for her upcoming leg surgeries while giving talks, traveling and biking around the world. I think this gives you a brief idea about my friend…

When I put quotes when saying that I was “guiding”, it’s because that’s technically not very accurate. Isabel doesn’t need any sort of climbing “guide” for getting up mountains, her mountaineering resume proves that she’s totally capable of sorting things out by herself. However, while visiting Mexico City for the Banff Mountain Film Festival, she was looking for a friendly partner to give another try at Pico de Orizaba after a previous attempt in June which was unsuccessful due to bad weather conditions.

We traveled to Tlalchichuca around noon on Monday, then Joaquín dropped us at Piedra Grande hut at 9 p.m. We slept in the hut and started climbing around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, our plan was to arrive to the base of Jamapa glacier and put a high camp there to spend the night before the summit attack on Wednesday.

The weather was really good, with the occasional clouds coming in and out of the mountain but without too much wind. Isabel did a meticulous job of hiking up the mountain by using her crutches while I figured out the best way for her to navigate across the infamous rock and ice “labyrinth” section below the glacier. It took us nearly 7 hours to arrive to the base of the glacier and we set up the camp around the 5000-meter mark.

Unfortunately, due to a combination of altitude, lack of acclimatization and bad food, Isabel developed a bit of altitude sickness during the night, being unable to sleep and keep the dinner inside her stomach. When the alarm went off at 6 a.m. on Wednesday she offered me to go for a summit attack on my own, since she didn’t feel like going to get any better if going up any higher. I declined of course, as we were climbing together and there was no point in going just by myself.

After brewing some tea during the morning, we picked up camp and started the tricky descent back to Piedra Grande. I belayed Isabel while crossing a few patches of hard ice, then we did a bit of down-scrambling along the rest of the labyrinth. We arrived to Piedra Grande after a bit more than 6 hours, with the hopes of finding Joaquín and getting a ride back to Tlalchichuca the same night. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there but only his truck.

After a good night’s rest at the hut, we woke up late on Thursday morning, then packed our things and waited for Joaquín to come and pick us up. We had a shower and some great food at Joaquín’s place in Tlalchichuca, then drove all the way back to Mexico City in the afternoon.

We were welcomed by crazy traffic in the city and opted to go for dinner and continue the good chat we started since hitting the road. Despite of not tagging the summit, having spent a few days sharing the mountain with my new friend brought me new perspectives on many subjects in life.

Good luck in your upcoming surgery and next adventures, Isabel. Be happy and be safe “out there”

Photos are here or in the slideshow below:

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The yearly tradition

The Banff Mountain Film Festival took place this past weekend. It was its 11th edition in Mexico City and, like in the past years, it was hosted at the Cineteca Nacional.

Despite many difficulties given a recent remodeling of the Cineteca, Armando managed to sort out every little detail and it was no surprise that the event was a total success. Many congratulations to him and everyone else involved!

The movies were awe-inspiring as usual and, just like every year, a bunch of old climbing friends got together to attend the event and share some good chat. A yearly tradition has been definitely established…

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Nemesis

Last night Octavio and I enjoyed the last concert of the year. It was the turn for Arch Enemy, which has been in Mexico City in previous years but we haven’t had the chance to see. The band is awesome on stage, just like in any of their albums. Angela Gossow’s growling is f*cking brutal and nobody was disappointed of their performance. It was a nice way to round-up a great year of concerts

Arch Enemy Setlist Circo Volador, Mexico City, Mexico, Latin American Khaos 2012

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Office life

Since the day after our misadventure at El Espejo, Armando and I have spent the last 3 weekends running up splitter cracks at La Coconetla. We’ve partnered with different friends, like Nelly, Mike and Omar, and always managed to get a bunch of fun along the process. It seems to me like we’re starting to get really serious about climbing again…

Photos are here, here and here or in the slideshows below:

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

We are the War

Octavio and I attended Sodom‘s gig at Circo Volador on Saturday night. It definitely was another concert to remember for this year. The band’s performance was brutal as expected, straight to their business and without interruptions. The moshpit got really crazy and it felt like a much needed catharsis. Pure f*cking war!

Sodom Setlist Circo Volador, Mexico City, Mexico 2012