Monday, 3 February 2014

Los Animas and Lost Climbers

Our hike in...Lord of the Rings
the famous waterfall of el salto
            With the suns rays beaming through our bedroom window, our cabin felt like a freezer. So quick to cool down, but never seems to warm back up, despite the days intolerable warmth. The sizzling of eggs on our propane stove and Joe’s chopping of vegetables on the cutting board keep me from falling back asleep. Nevertheless I still try my best. Joe calls up informing me that matcha tea and breakfast are finished and on the table. I roll out of bed as Joe watches a Mexican cowboy walk by on his Honkey (“one/third horse, one/third donkey, one/third Mexican”).
Joe not psyched on getting lost
            After breakfast was made and ate we decided to spend the day sitting in the sun, read our books and soaking in the warmth. Much like reptiles do. We were headed to a new crag today called Los Animas. It was a bit longer of a hike (20-30mins) but was the main attraction when coming to el Salto for climbing. Ulric had warned us that there were some creeks and rivers that needed to be crossed. Joe and I being the naive lazy people we are decided to suss it out for ourselves and wear hiking shoes in. We made it to the first creek. A couple bigger rocks stretched out across the way, but maybe only 1/5 of the way out. We come to the clever decision to find more large stones and build a bridge across. “Why hasn’t anyone done this before….lazy Mexicans,” we would tell ourselves. 20 mins go by and we aren’t even halfway yet, when I set a stone down, involving my hand dipping in the water. “The waters actually quite warm Joe!” With this we untie our shoe and cross the creek barefoot. A very uncomfortable ordeal. But hey, we made it across. We showed you Ulric!
One of the many crossings
            We soon learnt to our dismay that there were at least seven more crossings to be done before we made it to the crag. Ulric: 1 Team Joe/Tyler: 0. This undoubtedly made the hike in much longer than the 20mins….more like an hour. But we are finally at the crag looking at our 5 piece of paper guidebook and trying to locate which route is which. We make our way down the cliff side to the far left where there’s a climb named All Along The Watchtower. This climb was super exposed to the valley floor a long ways down. I tried going first, but putting myself in unsafe fall positions over and over again, bolt after bolt, completely messed with my head and I decided to opt out, quit and come down. I’ve never done this before and was quite disappointed in myself, as I pride myself on having a good lead and being able to keep the danger out of my head. The disappointment led to depression and I decided not to climb that day. Climbing out of anger just isn’t as fun as climbing for joy. Instead I stuck around and belayed Joe, enjoyed the views, the sun and nature.
The crossing in front of the waterfall
            After Joe finished All Along The Watchtower, which he agreed was scary as hell, he onsighted one more 11d in the sun before we decided to take an exploring break. The wall was in the sun, and it’s not worth risking heat stroke while climbing. If you follow the road down to the valley, there’s actually a gigantic waterfall, which many travel to come ogle at. During the weekends it’s packed with Mexican campers and off roaders…but more on that later. We went to check out the waterfall and a beauty it was. We remember that the infamous Cave that climbers wonder too, is a 20min hike downriver. “Lets go check that out, while we’re here,” declares Joe. Well to make a long story short, it fell together much like our hike in to los Animas. The 20mins away turned out to be a 1.5hr hike downriver with many more river crossings, and the worst part is we never found the cave! The next day we are told we hiked right by the trail up to it. Whoops. 1.5 hours downriver took us another hour to hike back up to where our gear was. Joe climbed two more routes before we packed up. I wont go into much detail because they are his climbs and I’m the one writing the blog. We’ll leave it at: at this point in the trip Joe has yet to fall on a climb.
Joe resting before climb

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