Patagonia 2012 – Our Dream

There’s a quote I like that I heard some time ago.  It goes:

“At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable”.

Looking ahead, Jakob, Daniel and my departure for Cochamo Valley in Northern Patagonia looms less than a month away.  Looking back, it would seem that quote proved prophetic.  Although one could argue that we added a few steps between ‘improbable’ and ‘inevitable’.  With our fair share of obligations stateside, maybe ‘unreasonable’, perhaps even ‘irresponsible’.  But when Planet Grants-It generously opened a door for us, there was no delaying and certainly no looking back. We were catapulted kicking and screaming with stoke squarely into ‘inevitable’ territory – a dream trip we had been slowly cooking up for years was imminently going to come true: two and a half months of horse-supported rock climbing with a focus on first ascents.

Paul re-acquaints himself with granite

And so the mad rush and scramble to prepare our bodies and minds began.  Fresh off several months on the high seas, we were woefully unprepared to tackle two months of horse-packing and rock climbing in the Chilean backcountry.  Any semblance of a callous on our hands had long been washed away by tepid salt water; our leg muscles withered to embarrassing proportions from being confined to a 34’ boat.  But our hearts!  Our hearts were all in.

Jakob regaining strength after months of sailing

Jakob and Daniel high-tailed it for the CO backcountry, spending five weeks dialing in horse-packing techniques.  Highlights include a modern take on an age-old shelter: a 15’ diameter tipi constructed with rip-stop nylon will serve as our main shelter for the trip.  We have a solid start, but there will be no substitute for connecting with and learning from the deep-rooted culture of horsemanship that has thrived in the Cochamo region for hundreds of years.

Our next stop was Yosemite National Park for some late season training.  Cochamo Valley has often been likened to an un-developed Yosemite Valley, with its 1,000 meter soaring granite walls and laser-cut splitter cracks.  With the promise of this climber’s paradise ahead, we relished the pain of every hand-jam and finger-lock, toughening up our hands for the coming expedition.



Now, back in civilization, we delve into the nitty-gritty of the planning stage: sifting through topo maps, editing gear lists, making travel arrangements and searching for additional sponsors.

packing in Colorado

A cool late summer day over 12,000 feet, Colorado wilderness.

Put it all together and you have three aspiring climbers and horsemen on the brink of a trip that started as a far fetched idea over a cold night’s campfire several years back.  Impossible, to improbable, and now inevitable.  More to come as our departure date approaches.



1 comment for “Patagonia 2012 – Our Dream

  1. Paula
    December 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I met the twins in Castlerock a few weeks ago. The trip sounds great! Chile is a great country to explore, especially to do outdoor activities. I started climbing outdoors in Chile surrounded by beautiful landscapes of mountains and rivers which I refer to my backyard.. Horses are part of the scenery as well, as they are still widely used and are very important to the Chilean culture.

    Twins, if you ever get a chance, I’d recommend you try at least empanadas Chilenas and pan amasado.

    Buena Suerte!

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