Friday, December 11, 2009


And now it´s Argentina. I had about six days in Seattle to unpack, repack, and connect with friends there. But nonestly, the hardest part is switching automatic languages phrases, at least the little that I know them. I keep trying to use Hindi words for simple things like now and yes, and taking a moment to realize why they haven´t understood me. Ha! My spanish is limited enough, but this is definitely making it less useful!

Fortunately, I´m pretty used to packing for these expeditions by now, so was able to spend a lot of time socializing with people I haven´t seen for two months and won´t see for another two. A screening of films from the traveling Banff Film Festival, tea with Mary, a tromp in the snow to get the feel of the Northwest again. The snow was hard from warm weather followed by a clear cold snap, so it was more of a hike, but good to remind my toes and fingers how to stay warm after two weeks of 90 degree weather! Freezing cold and windy, but great to get out.

Now in Mendoza, I´m getting food and logistics prepared for nine climbers and a few guides for almost three weeks on the mountain. I´m working with a local guide for the first time instead of all Alpine guides, and he seems to be a great guy. The best part is he knows where to find things it would take me hours to do with my broken spanish. (¨Do you have ... something ... for ... umm, uno momento.¨) But at least it´s warm again...

We´ll be posting cybercasts for Team 3 on Aconcagua at:

Catch you on the flip side!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A five-hour delay in the Delhi airport

Is it possible to miss a place before you've even left??  How do you reconcile yourself to your world, to your own choices, when they exact their toll?  Oddly enough, I'm not talking about love, though the parallels are certainly there.  Love or life, the loss is part of the having.

These last three trips to India have been spent developing stronger and stronger ties to a place that's literally half a world away, that doesn't hold lucrative work for me, that is in many ways diametrically opposed to the culture I call home.  But each time I come I meet more cool people, those I want to see again, and find more things I want to do with those I already know well.  In Indian parlance, "what to do?"  The only answer is to keep coming back.

OK, enough of the philosophical rant.  This last week in Bangalore has been exactly what I've needed at the end of every trip here, a little time in a place I'm coming to know better, with no demands except those I willingly submit to.  To and from a climbing area, I rode pillion (second) on a motorcycle for only the second time, with just my bicycle helmet - better than nothing.  A friend generously loaned his road bike, this time the perfect size, and I learned how to get around (just a tiny bit of) the city by bicycle - while traffic is chaos, at least that means drivers are somewhat used to looking out for motorcycles, cyclists, cows, etc, and won't run you over without even noticing!  Ironic.

I did manage to go rock climbing (sometimes no one's available, and you just have to hire a guide :-) at one of the more beautiful locations I've been to, Ramanagar, about an hour outside Bangalore.  The city is in one section of a huge plateau punctuated by tall rounded rock outcroppings, around 500' high.  Many of these have ruins of forts, or temples on them.  Ramanagar supports a temple and a few other structures, pavilions.  It has also been developed by the local climbing community into a climbing area, complete with new bolts for leading and anchoring, and a variety of routes from easy to extremely hard.  It's not a terribly large area, but one wall was plenty to remind my fingers that they haven't done much climbing recently!  Fortunately that allowed for some time to look around, out at the plateau and the other rock bumps in the greenery.  A beautiful day.

So now, headed back to Seattle, I'm mentally preparing for the shift in time, culture, friends, and the little interactions that make a place home, looking forward to briefly seeing good friends there, but missing those here I won't see for a while.  Ah, well - til next time...