I have made the decision to turn back. Never an easy decision when you start to think about the money and time invested to go on expedition. But ultimately a very easy decision when you focus on what is really important. Safety and enjoyment.
Put simply, I felt it was too dangerous to continue. A few of my team-mates were also injured so it would have been foolish to carry on. It has been a hot summer in Patagonia and the glaciers are very bare with snow. We could regularly hear avalanches and rockfall around us, and we also found some very exposed sections during the climb, where if you slipped, you wouldn’t survive. I made the decision that the risk was too high.
The summit of San Valentin would have been great, it would have been the headline and what would have been the simplest definition of success. But, and it is a big BUT, I have absolutely loved this journey through Patagonia and for that reason it has already been well worth coming.
You can read my previous blog about why I came to Chile and about the team. To summarise I was joining an international team from Holland, Guatemala and Argentina to try and cross the North Chilean Icecap and climb Cerro San Valentin, the highest mountain in Patagonia. It is rarely climbed, and very few try. This season, we were only the third team on the mountain, and the third to be defeated. San Valentin hasn’t been summited in the last few years. And yet, being an optimist I assumed we would have better luck. It is humbling to be found wanting!
Here are some photos from the climb. I will post again soon with the story of our climb and some more photos. Thanks for the ongoing support from LDC, Kukri Sports and Lifedge – without which I wouldn’t be able to to take on expeditions like this.
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