I am always open for a language lesson, often needing to express myself to audiences the world over. And since I was addressing 500+ Chileans later that night, Mateo and his girlfriend Fran, painstakingly taught me the subtle differences between ‘cuatico’, ‘filete’, ‘hueon’ and ‘po’. All useful words, slang of course, and I listened attentively during an impromptu training.
I was in Santiago for a screening of two films, 180º South and Power in the Pristine, as well to emcee and play reggae music on stage for 3-nights. It was the 3-day Adventure Film Festival held in the urban gardens of the Cultural Center of Los Condes in Chile’s thriving capital, where almost one third of its 17-million inhabitants live.
Jonny Copp, who perished in an avalanche in spring of 2009, started the Adventure Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado more than 6 years ago and today it continues to offer inspired programming consisting of films, speakers, workshops all geared to inspire it’s tagline: “Make You Own Legend”. That was something Mr. JC was very adept at – grabbing life by the mane and bucking his way into the sunset, through a cold and frightening alpine night, and into the sunrise and promise of a new day. His was a large presence and Adventure Film today celebrates what he embodied – living life in the now and making a positive difference in the lives of those around you, ‘que hueon.’ (Meaning: cool, badass, excellent)
I had the fortune of joining the production of 180º South, a film that follows Jeff Johnson on his 2008 journey of self realization via sail boat, surf board & snow slog, as well as an Easter Island princess and the venerable curmudgeon Yvon Chouinard. I returned to Chile in 2010 to climb in the Torres del Paine and later to assist James Q Martin with a documentary film on the Rio Baker that included sojourns on the Neff and Colonia Glaciers. It was the best type of adventure, one that blends gob smacking backcountry, a stellar roster including luminary writer Crag Childs and desire to preserve and educate about potential loss of wilderness via proposed dams to generate hydroelectricity. Both films were subtitled in Spanish, thanks to Patagonia and Rios Libres respectively and were well received and inspirational in raising awareness of the need for conservation stewardship, ‘que filete’ (Meaning: fillet, IE best cut of meat).
Santiago is a burgeoning city, dotted by climbable sculptures and surrounded by the snow-capped Andes, which provide a few climbing crags of their own tucked into crumbling, mountainous folds. Arrayan, a brief 20-minute drive, yielded short powerful climbing on slightly overhanging, bolted routes, that were hard to read, requiring awkward stemming, devious hand holds and stinging yellow jackets, ‘estas escaladas son muy cuatico’ (Meaning: weird, exaggerated, uncommon). I have no doubt I will head back to Chile for more climbing, Spanish comprehension and of course to hang and learn with the great friends I made at Adventure Film, ‘si po’. (Meaning: dude, friend, you)