Monday, 28 May 2018

The New Year

It's almost June but the year feels like it's just begining...

In January I journeyed to Cuba for some of the climbing... All my apprehensions about travelling to this place were completly unfounded.  Though finding Gummi Bears or good cheese is next to impossible outside the all inclusives, the vibe in this houldout from a bygone era was as positive as a Jimmy Cliff show.   Cuba is special indeed, the countryside and the countryfolk were accommodating, ingratiating and beautiful.

 Tufas and wild exposure defined the climbing, which, contrary to popular belief, is not illegal.

Traveling to Cuba was a clinic in gratitude, the pace of life here can often stand still...

    Lots of standing in line to get bread, or any other necessities we take for granted.

          It's a bit tougher in these parts...

                                                                Muy Rustico!

                                                But how about that rockstone!

                                                                   Or this cave!

                                               The skies were righteous too

Everywhere you go, people love Che.  His effigy is ubiquitous, whereas, Fidel's is notably absent.  What kind of a dictator forbids his image from being plastered all over the place like some cult leader?  Castro, that's who.  It's hard to deny the stunted socio/political dénoument of the last half century, but Cuba's sultry soul still seems to permeate daily life and imbue this land with a touch of magic found nowhere else I've been.

As if on Pavlovian cue, Colombia was on again, unfinished business is a real buzzkill.   When I hear "failure is the first try" or "failing is part of the process," I cringe.  Failing at climbing stems from a lack of preparedness or unjustifiably hazardous conditions.  Either way, returning to finish the job seems the best option.   Armed with new recruit, Dave Alfrey, Kieran and I returned to the Cerros de Mavecure to get 'er done.

 The climbing was as fun as we remembered.  Big runouts and 50 degree heat proved to be the crux.

                                   This was the result - Jungle mania, both physical and spiritual.

This was also the result, a mad new line up Cerro Pajarito completed in the wake of last years' defeat.

Soonafter our return from the Jungle, we got the news that Marc-André was missing in the Mendenhal Towers so we punched it up there only to be greeted by snow and more snow.  Eventually, we got out and spoted the location where Marc and Ryan paused for the final time...

                              The sadness of loosing such a precious human is a heavy as it gets...

                      Marc, you were the sweetest of spirits and fierce like an Alpine Ninja Cat

                                             Do not go gentle into that good night my friends