Niños con Dulce de Leche? Chapter 3
Lifting our butts of the ground!
We didn’t spill one precious day at this wall. Not yet recuperated of the hike we found our way to the base of our climb. The start of the first pitch was obvious but tricky climbing. Needing three ropes, two belayers, nailing in some pins and pegs, placing tricky gear we opened the first pitch wich we freeclimbed at 5.11b (6c).
Next few days we searched our way up the wall aiming for some cornersystems almost halfway up the wall. Climbing up six pitches of which a few perfect dream pitches with good gear and solid rock. It was amazing climbing on horizontal edges and crimps protecting with mostly small nuts and thin fingersize cams. We also past one hard pitch (third) on loose rock with almost no solid protection. Mason showed his aidclimbing skills here falling on to a good #.3 cam in a huge loose block. Luckly it didn’t come out. When Mason reached the top of this scary pitch only one thing crossed my mind, “Oh fuck, I need to freeclimb this thing”! So I lead this pitch free runing out on pegs and scary pitons. One thing was excluded: falling on this bad gear!
After three days of climbing we prepared ourselfs to move into the vertical world. So exciting, this was my first time I was going to sleep, eat, drink, chill and yeah …. doing your needs on the wall for about 12 days. At the top of pitch 5 we found a nice ledge where we’ve put up our two portaledges. This was going to be my first bigwall experience! According to Mason and George this was a luxuary bigwall experience thanks to the perfect weather and the steep wall that kept us dry during our whole vertical journey. Sleeping in the portaledge was amazing and more comfortable then in the wet jungle 100 meters below us.
I slowly learned everything in vertical life, sometimes I learned it the hard way. My first morning waking up 100 meters high with the sun on my face and the jungle below I wont forget. Such as standing on the side of the portaledge with a sleepy head and pissing down. When suddenly, while I was putting my possesions away, the corner of the portaledge slipt of a little ledge and made me flip forward doing a salto ending up hanging on one arm of the edge of the portaledge! I looked over at Mason who was standing on the ledge and watched me hanging there with an amazed and scared gaze. Not nowing what just happend I started laughing my ass off and climbed back up. I wished this was filmed, I could have won a price at an american tv show with this stunt!
Living the life with three other nice climbers on the wall was amazing. Every morning we woke up behind the waterfall with the best sunrise giving us the energy for the day. Cooking poridge on the ledge with an MSR stove worked fine too, luckily we didn’t get burned down to the ground once! Believe it or not, the life on the wall was more comfortable then the life down in the jungle.
After 5 days on the wall, having freeclimbed everything, we came to a stop two pitches under the main roof in the middle of the wall. Our pace was going slow due to searching the right way up. We tryed some different ways but everything was hard to freeclimb and sometimes just impossible to protect. Because our main goal was to reach the top we left the freeclimbing behind and took our aiders out. Thanks to George who busted out some amazing aidclimbing tricks like 10 hookplacements in a row on rotten scary rock we could reach the roof!
Still I managed to freeclimb an amazing traverse pitch who probably goes at 5.13a or 7c+ with not much gear and a crux at the end of a runout. Images of this pitch will follow in the movie.
Passing the scary aidpitches boosted our energy and we all gave it a hit to reach the top! From then on our days where really long and heavy due to the motivation of making progress.
200 meters climbing left!
Mason aided smoothly trough the big roof that will possibly go free at 5.13b/c (8a). A big guess about the grade but free it goes. From then on we made good progress with three pitches a day. Waking up with sunrise at 5:30am, eating porridge and starting to jug up our static ropes to our previous highpoint we where bursting through this line. A lot of traverses brought us towards the third (jungle wet) roof where George fell aiding.
In the mean while the Belgians (Nicolas Favresse, Sean Villanueva, Stephane Hanssens and Jean-Louis Wertz) arrived and climbed a line on the left side of the wall. Our only conversations with the Belgian team involved some screaming and singing to each other. Athmosphere on the wall guaranteed! One morning I was leading a new pitch at 6:30am with the Belgians singing their favourite song ‘Drunken sailor’ of Irish Rovers on the background. Adrinaline, motivation and power, everything was their to enjoy climbing a new line!
The 18th of February by sunset we reached the unimaginable wild summit of Amuri Tepuy topping out on the right side of Salto Tuyuren. Eating our last cookies and litlle bit of beef jearkey next to the river on top we had to go down pretty fast. One surprise waited for us at the top. When we looked at the other side of the river it was like looking in a mirror! We saw another two pair of wild man standing in the jungle vegetation. The Belgian Team topped out the same evening as us, each on one side of the river.
Too bad we couldn’t discover more of the wild on top of Amuri. The next day we cleaned the line and rappelled down. This was our 12th day on the wall, this is pretty long but still the time went fast!