SOUTH AMERICA - Phase 1 - Road Tripping in Santiago

Well, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever find the inspiration to blog this trip, but life has become so cool lately that I want to keep up on it . . . that, and this trip was truly amazing. So, here goes . . . I guess much of my description will be cut from email I sent, but with the added joy of photos!!!


Well, I finally made it to Chile after being delayed 2 days from work, and missing my plane! But all is well that ends well and the reason for that happening has definitely become apparent! Anyhow, I got here on Monday, met Lacy, rented a car, and drove straight up to Valle Nevado to tour around the outskirts of the ski area. We found a super sweet steep coolie to warm up on and had a great afternoon, looking around at all the big mountains. Perched at 10,000 ft, the ski area is a great place to scope big lines and look around at some pretty immense potential! Between that first day and our following day exploring a little further and going a little higher (up to just over 13,000 ft), I could not stop staring at Cerro el Plomo. The largest mountain in the area at 5424m (17,790 ft), with a super skiable face on it, I have to admit I was drawn. But whatever, I was not sure that Lacy and I were really set up for a mini-expedition and he does not have much big mountain experience, so I was hesitant to put such a plan in action. So, down we went . . . and then, as I was skiing along enjoying my lovely corn turns, I saw a guy skinning up with a big backpack. As potentially one of the most social people on the planet, I of course had to stop and say hello . . . well, long story short, it turned out to be my friend from Las Lenas 2003: Les Manley! Not only was it Les going for a ski, it was Les going to ski Cerro el Plomo. So, naturally, the wheels start turning. He was headed out solo and into having partners, and having the third person to our duo seemed perfect . . . so we skied away with a loose idea that we may be out to meet him the following day, but everything was up in the air. As we left, Lacy had the classic commnent, ¨you are the only person I can think of that would run into somebody you know in a closed ski area in South America . . .!¨

This is the same guy Scott and I rented from last year . . . guess I shouldn't have been surprised when this year's car also had "oddities" . . . at least they're the cheapest around. I almost died laughing when he showed up in the airport though . . .

I couldn't pass up the Starbucks we found last year either . . . was too funny then . . . sometimes you gotta do things for old-times and tradition's sake!

Finally out of the city and into the mountains!!! Oh the potential of the Andes!

Lacy coming up the ridge . . . beautiful day, so content!!!!

Back at the base with our line just above me . . . we were psyched to have skied the most legitimate thing we could spot from the base area . . . a great warmup for a 2pm start!!!

Santiago may be smoggy, but it makes for nice sunsets!

Next day was a bit overcast and windy, but we headed out for a longer tour . . . was good to get up higher!

Lacy on our mini summit

Me coolie skiing!!! Yeah :-)

Lacy getting extreme for the photo . . .

Lacy loving the apron turns!

A happy reunion with an old friend - Les Manley! I was surprised and stoked for sure!!!!

To be continued . . .

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