Greg, John, and Brennan are the new arrivals into our house. Greg and John, friends of Mark, and Brennan, who Mark met on a bus from Chillan and invited to stay at our place, have been here for about 4 days stoked and ready to ride/hike for something. Unfortunately in typical Chilean fashion the rain has been heavy and constant. The sun hasn't been out and the snow pack is slowly dwindling down to nothing making this entire scene tough to talk about with new foreigners. It shocks me to see where the snow level is now after seeing what it was. It's depressing knowing that the season is coming to an end here but that's another story.
|It's been like this the past 2 weeks or so here. Rainy, cloudy, and low light. P: @stevewweiss|
Waking up and peering out the window I saw that the peaks were cloud covered with obvious rain falling on them in the lower elevations as it was also raining at our house. I still had some motivation to go, but to Valle Hermoso, higher up on the mountain so at least we would be getting snowed on. That morning there was a plan to hike to the mountain just behind us in the Shangri La Valle that sits around a 6000 ft elevation instead of 9000ft+. As I wasn't part of the discussion I just said, "Okay let's do it."
|Walking to the trailhead, and getting drenched in the rain.|
Hiking for about 45 minutes in a steady but fortunately not a torrential down pour left us all soaked to the bone. We ended up taking a wrong turn and ended up at a river bed that was uncrossable where if we weren't in snow gear you would think was a rainforest. Our snowboard mission though, was slowly turning into a hiking mission.
|It's winter here...right?|
|Destination: couloir on the right side.|
|The chossy, wet, and sometimes icy rock band. P: @JPLsplit|
John was the first to go, "F---! F---! F---!" He sharply exclaimed as one of his boots floated down the river because he accidentally knocked it in soaking it and defeating the purpose of taking our boots off.
|John stoked that he at least, still has his boot.|
Finally at the base looking up, the couloir is wide near the bottom but starts to narrow as you get up in it. From below it looks incredible: huge rock walls carved by volcanic activity and a tight space to snowboard down adding that danger factor to it. The terrain that I had been riding before this was steep but wide open. I had been pressing to find a tight chute or couloir of some kind to ride here just to feed the need. This couloir would be perfect for just that.
|Couloir from below P: @stevewweiss|
|From above. P: @JPLsplit|
|Greg, Brennan, John, and myself, soaked and stoked on the day.|
Brennan Metzler - splitboarder, photographer and Director of Peaks for Peace, a nonprofit to help burn-injured children get past their scars by getting them outdoors. If interested in reaching Brennan about the nonprofit or about purchasing photos, contact him via email at Brennan.Metzler@gmail.com.