2012 Pezl Roctrip - Piedre Parada / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Once again, the Petzl Roctrip was an amazing experience - Brutal, beautiful and totally removed from everything that we usually take for granted. Desert, dust, sand throughout everything, never abating wind, breath-takingly beautiful landscapes, striking walls, fun climbing, unbelievably loose rock at times, good friends, great music and a crazy amount of people...

The Buitrera Canyon

Piedre Parada is really in the middle of nowhere - Possibly the most remote place most of us had ever visited... After an epic long haul flight I arrived at Buenos Aires airport to be greeted by a jet-lagged group of Petzl athletes from all over the globe. Six of us pilled into taxis and headed for downtown, we spent the afternoon wandering the streets, eating, drinking and catching up on the our various adventures over the last year, since the previous Petzl trip! The next morning we were all back on a plane... Finally arriving at 3am, after three to four days of solid travel for all of us, which culminated in an epic 12 hour bus journey - the last 3 hours of which was on terribly rutted dirt roads. Our destination... A desolate little farm house in the middle of a wind-swept plain. A stunningly beautiful, yet also brutally harsh location, where over the next few days a city of tents sprang up on the small stretch of  grass between the river and the Buitrera Canyon.

Sunset at Piedre Parada - our campsite

From the moment we arrived there was no escaping the wind and instantly everything was covered in a fine layer of sand - We had to learn to become one with this sand/dust, it infiltrated through everything, we wore it, ate it, drank it and slept in it. We were all sleep deprived from the moment we arrived and all just became progressively more tired during the week. We all climbed "A muerte", ate not much more than Pan Blanco with Dulche De Leche and if we were lucky a piece of Asada (usually just several sheep stretched over an open fire) near midnight... And every night there were parties till early hours of the morning.


Needless to say, by the end of the week we were all totally destroyed, but had all managed to climb a slew of good routes. I climbed with Steve McClure all week and was inspired by his onsights of several 8a+/8b's. Being surrounded by this amazing group of climbers has definitely left me inspired to train harder and showed me how much I still have to learn as a climber!

Charlotte at the top of the spire... Luckily we managed to escape with out lives!

The finale to my trip was climbing a 5 pitch spire at sunrise with Charlotte Durif  - It was a beautiful spire and an amazing place to be, but also worst rock I have ever climbed on... It progressed from being just a little loose, to feeling like everything was about to break, to flaky choss covered by a layer of mud, and finally to pure mud, which left you wondering how the tower was still standing! However, we had a lot of fun and it was a great way to end our trip!

Now I am trying to negotiate my way through Chile, and already looking forward to more craziness on the next Roctrip!