Monday, November 21, 2011

A Cold Penitente

Staying warm at night was not a problem this weekend. Sleeping three deep in the back of an SUV has its advantages to keeping warm in the middle of bitter cold night in Penitente Canyon. The sun would warm our skin during the day but hide itself at every opportunity behind vales of cloud and sheets of igneous rock. The cold was unrelenting and came close to making climbing important if not a necessity to keeping warm. Every moment spent on the ground not climbing felt like those moments as a child when you're sitting in the cold water of a swimming pool not moving because you're so cold, even when you know warmth is just a short swim away. Simply moving around a little, swimming back and forth, climbing up and coming down, making your body active will break the cold shiver in your muscles.

Penitente is amazing. Though, at night to make a fire we had to "borrow" a used pallet from the trail head construction taking place to use as fuel to burn. Bored with cold and barred by darkness we directed our energy to other pursuits like breaking logs and dismantling wooden pallets, throwing rocks and cooking every bit of food that we brought. There were few moments where we weren't eating. Family size portions of raviolis first, then tea, then chocolate milk, then chili, bread, more chocolate milk, everytime we finished one bit of food we would move on to the next.

The morning's light dawned new hopes of which to spend energy. Climbing. Short single pitches of large hueco pockets and sharp edges became salvation and with the cold became our ruin at the same time. But, after a long days climbing and with light leaving the valley we left for home, for warmer conditions and less crowded sleeping situations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The photos in this post have an organic quality about them that I just love! Thanks for sharing.