This is my fifth trip to New Zealand in as many years. It has been a wet November with weather windows too small to justify a heli into the mountains. However, it has been the perfect opportunity to explore more of the rock climbing available in the area and so far I have not been disappointed.
More than 4 million people a year visit Yosemite Valley, 75% during the six months from May to October. Doing the math that is over 16,000 people per day during peak season. Given those stats you are likely to think it’s a pretty crazy place, hard to get around and do what you want to do. For the most part however I found life in the Valley incredible easy, relaxed and inspiring.
hen you are venturing into the mountains or on long multi-pitch climbs, you need a good climbing pack. Something that is lightweight yet durable, big enough to carry what you need without being cumbersome and is easy to manage. The Pursuit 40L climbing pack designed by Macpac fits that bill and has been a key part of the Vertical Year.
Climbing is a funny activity in that there really are no rules, yet we all play these funny games while imposing our own brand of style and ethics to any given ascent. I am no exception and enjoy partaking in the games climbers play. With its moderate approaches and close travel proximities to Huaraz, the Cordillera Blanca provided the perfect playground to test how much difficult terrain I could cover in a day.
The Cordillera Blanca and the Great Barrier Reef don’t share much in common. Perhaps the exception is that both may no longer exist within a generation or two. The name Cordillera Blanca (meaning white range) could seem inappropriate for mountains without permanent snow, while the Great Barrier Reef could possess no life at all. An incredibly sad thought.
When we are free to focus on things other than survival necessities, we should be focusing on what brings us happiness and fulfillment. However, it seems somewhere along the way a lot of us have lost or way. We are being bombarded with ads and consumerist agendas which has led us to forget that we are free to pursue happiness in our own way. This is my story of how I changed my priorities, providing myself the freedom to pursue my dreams.
Tocllaraju sits in the Ishinca valley and it’s West Face is the first major feature you see entering base camp. Standing tall, proud, clean and utterly beautiful it begs to be climbed. Hence, the decision to turn around at the bottom of the face was devastating for me. The full reasoning for my decision however, would not become clear to me until I had almost descended the valley.
Confidence doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Often it is our anxiety that holds us back. By understanding the mechanisms behind how these emotions develop we can help tip the odds in favour of building confidence. The story of my friend and climbing partner Andrew Banks is a great example of this.
They say the journey is more important than the destination. If this is true, then walking the path towards something that is truly inspiring for you must be the ultimate journey. Whether its pursuing your dream drop, starting a passion project, building your dream home or indeed, climbing a beautiful mountain; it will be these journeys which weave the great tapestry of life.