It has been quite some time since I last wrote, and quite some time since I was last in the U.S. The winter in Montana was a good one aside from the tragic loss of Guy Lacelle. He was one of best ice climbers world wide, not only in ability but in his pure and genuine love for the sport.
As the snows began to melt I blasted off to Costa Rica to attempt riding on the swells of the massive Pacific. We spent 7 days on the remote Peninsula de la Osa among howler monkeys and flocks of Macaw parrots. Most days I would have no more than a pair of shorts and my machete for harvesting the abundant coconuts. Mornings and evenings were for surfing, mid-day was for siestas. After 10 days of work I managed to get a flight to Cuba, a nation I have always wanted to visit. I spent a night in the city: shared a bottle of rum with 6 employees at an ice cream shop, smoked my first cuban cigar with a family who practiced afro-cuban voodoo, and caught some spectacular Cuban rhythms!
The next 4 days I was in Vinales the famous tobacco producing area that also happens to be Cuba’s epicenter for sport climbing. I passed the days climbing on the overhanging-stalactite covered walls of the Karst geological formations with motivated local, Yorobys. Climbing in these expansive overhangs requires thinking three-dimensionally. The skills needed to transfer from steep mixed rock to daggers of ice could be applied to this new-to-me style of climbing.
After Cuba it was off to Mexico to work on the Yucatan.
The whole month of June I was in the midst of the saturated air of these three nations, sweating form day one until my return to Montana. The locals I met along the way made it a memorable travel.
I will have to say that I’m happy to be back home in the cool and dry high mountain air. I got to spend 4 days in Bozeman prior to blasting down here to the Tetons to start the summer guiding season with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Yesterday, we took 3 young kids up the classic “Guides Wall” a 5-pitch 5.8 in Cascade Canyon. Feels good to be back on the rock.