When I consider the things I'm thankful for, mountains are pretty damn high on the list. Honestly, how lucky are we to live on a planet that holds such an incredible variety of awe-inspiring landscapes? Mountains challenge me, inspire me, humble me, and bring me a joy that's found nowhere else. As many beautiful peaks as I've climbed, I'm all the more delighted to know that I've seen only the merest fraction of what the world has to offer - that countless more stunning locations remain to be visited. (How boring life would be without new experiences to anticipate!)
Today's adventure post features a mountain that I haven't yet seen in person, though I've dreamed of going there ever since I first saw a picture years ago. It's the third and final area I had in mind when writing about the Cirque of the Knives in The Tainted City. (The other two spots were featured in prior Thursday Adventure posts: Canada's Cirque of the Unclimbables, and Wyoming's Cirque of the Towers.) My husband and I both have it sitting right at number one on our list of places we most want to visit: Cerro Torre, in the Parque National Los Glaciares, in Patagonia (Argentina).
|Cerro Torre and nearby peaks, Patagonia
|Cerro Torre, up close. Note the cap of rime ice right on the summit - the infamous "ice mushroom" has prevented many a climbing team from reaching the actual summit.
Cerro Torre itself has quite the checkered history in the climbing community, right up to the present day. Check out this fascinating article from Outside Online, that describes both the peak's history and the bitter controversy that erupted last year when alpinist David Lama completed a free ascent of a notorious route. An interesting visual accompaniment to the article is this trailer on youtube, made for the film documentary of Lama's ascent. Non-climbers may come away from the article convinced that climbers are even crazier than ordinary people assume. Or maybe, as Sam Axe says about spies in Burn Notice, "They're a bunch of bitchy little girls." That may be true...yet the root of all the infighting is the depth of people's passion for the mountains. Climbing isn't just a sport, it's an entire lifestyle, even a religion. At least it's one with a beautiful church - one I'm thankful every day for the opportunity to worship in.