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About 3 years ago to the day I was here, in Huaraz, amidst the stunningly beautiful Cordillera Blancas, sitting down for dinner at a suspect and not-so-clean Peruvian restaurant, thinking to myself this is not going to end well. 15 minutes after finishing that meal, I found myself wishing everything inside of me would come out, like NOW. And it did. Whatever bug that was, it followed me up the valley to high camp on Alpamayo until I couldn't even gather the strength to move myself even a few feet without collapsing.
That was my experience the last time I was here (for the happy video version of this experience, watch HERE), and here I am again, attempting to tackle a new peak: Huantsan. First climbed in the 1950s, it's very exposed and a long and difficult climb. To boot, there was a Swiss team here a few weeks ago attempting it and had to bail because the higher up ridge was not looking so good.
Needless to say: EXCITING.
I flew out to Lima mid-day yesterday, grabbed some delicious ceviche and lomo saltado for dinner once I arrived, then hopped on a 7-hour bus-ride to Huaraz just before midnight. I didn't really fit well in the seat, but it was comfortable enough and I was able to sleep some. When sunlight hit, I was woken up by some rapid Spanish-speaking "host" who shoved a BINGO game card in my face. OKAY I GUESS IM PLAYING BINGO THEN. He then whipped out a deck of cards and did something I didn't really understand and then I won. I'm not sure what I won, but I won something ::SHRUG::
Got into Huaraz early morn with both my bags - BRAVO TRAVEL GODS, BRAVO - and cabbed it to my hotel, which was situated right across the street from the place I stayed last time I was here. Cool. I walked into breakfast, where Phil and the rest of the team were eating. I introduced myself, joined in, and we all started talking mountains. I love this about climbing. It's not everyday I can just talk about mountains in this depth. No one really gets climbing unless you climb. Anywho, everyone on the team seems even-keeled, level-headed, super friendly, and motivated. As a close loved one of mine likes to say: NGNL (NO GAMES, NO LIES). WE GUN GET SHIT DONE (or at least try our asses off in doing so).
Dinner was splendid at 'El Horno' in Gringo Plaza (fantastic wood-oven pizza). Then we came back to our hotel and snoozed all night long. Got about 10 hours of sleep. YES. Woke up, packed, and we walked down the street to get sandwiches for a little day hike we had planned and OOPPPPS.....twisted my ankle. Pretty bad actually. How embarrassing. Not even while doing something cool. Just walking. Anyways, I sucked it up and we trekked up to catch a picturesque view of the peak we are gonna climb next to a beautiful mountain lake. Only I got lost because I was hobbling slowly up the mountain and it took forever to find my way down (and it was painful). Anyways, we leave tomorrow morning. I'll be fine. I have a stupid swollen ball on the outside of my left ankle, but I'm icing it and should be better over the next few days. Tomorrow is just a 3-4 hour hike, so I'll manage. UGH.
In the mean time, I'll be training my memory up at altitude like I always do. If you're following along on my climb, it would mean a lot to me if you took this memory quiz I've been working on getting tons of people to take. It's short and easy. Just DO IT. Thanks :D www.extremememorychallenge.com
That's all for now!