So far Arequipa has been treating us very well. We love the hang, with the exception of the separate “his and hers” beds.
Gustavo has really hooked us up though. This might go down as one of the best places we’ve stayed in a while.
Gustavo made it a point to get me on the river the day after we arrived.
He has a nice rafting operation set up here in Arequipa. It’s still the pre-season here and the rivers are a bit high to run commercially, so we went out on a scouting mission to check the lines and make sure everything was clean.
I really like Gustavo. He’s a classic old school river guide. We’ve been doing some fun paddling together.
I’ve also tapped into the rock climbing community.
I had heard there was good rock climbing around Arequipa. I tracked down the climbing gym and introduced myself to the kid running it. His name was Emerson and not 1 minute after introducing myself, he invited me to go climbing the next day.
I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back on it I think I was being completely sandbagged.
Sandbagging: hiding the strength, skill or difficulty of something early in an engagement
Emerson and his friend Angel took me to a deep, flash flood canyon. The rock was basalt and was polished by a gazillion years of water flow. Oh yeah, it was also steep. They handed me some draws and sent me up a route. It was… ummm… interesting.
After that warm-up they took me to their project. It was a 20 foot high ball boulder problem, but since they don’t have access to crash pads in Peru they were working it out on a rope. We took turns on this thing for a couple hours until I was completely toast.
After working this route I was ready to go home, and that is exactly what I thought we were going to do.
For the record, I know just enough spanish to get myself in trouble. So when we started hiking deeper into the canyon instead of going back the way we came, I figured we were just taking a new trail out. I tried to follow the conversation, but they were talking so fast, and using so many slang words I didn’t know. So I just put my head down and hiked.
Turns out their conversation pertained to hiking deeper into the canyon, and then doing a multi pitch climb back to the rim.
Multi pitch climbing is the ascent of a route that is too tall to do in one rope length, so you stop at multiple belay stations on the wall, breaking it into sections.
Now, understand that I have done many, many multi pitch climbs in my life. That’s my forte. It’s how I roll.
But there are three, very strict rules about doing such climbs.
1) Never sign up for multi-pitching after a hard day of sport climbing when you’re hungry, tired, and just want to go home.
2) NEVER multi-pitch climb in groups of 3. Off the deck climbing is an experience meant for 2 people. There is nothing worse then hanging at a cramped belay in tight climbing shoes. Menage-a-trois are not meant for walls.
3) This is just a little personal common sense rule I have. NEVER multi-pitch climb with your full day-pack of sport climbing gear. These are two very different sports. The last thing you want to do is struggle through the crux of a pitch while carrying your pack containing an extra pair of climbing shoes, a pair of hiking boots, a big water bottle, a clip stick, a giant hoody, cell phone, thai mat, bag of food, guide book to Peru, huge bottle of sunscreen, extra rope, a dozen extra quickdraws, clean socks, duct tape, big camera, and first aid kit.
This is not the “fast-and-light” style deserving of off-the-deck climbing.
Having said all that, I have to admit that it was a very fun day. I love these Peruvian climbers.
They try hard, have great attitudes, and they could really give a shit about all my rules.