Ecuador: Gringo Loco, The Sent Version
Ecuador: Gringo Loco, The Sent Version
Planning the night before, we ended up deciding that Gringo Loco would be clean enough to send the next day. We decided to climb it from the ground up, Bottom to Top. With Gringo Loco being the 3rd pitch everything below was a nice warm up.
With a good nights sleep we woke up early and had a good breakfast packed. Juan Gaberal drove us to the top while Javier Salas and his partner Natasha said they would rappell down and take photos for me on the FA. Sofi and I decided we wanted to climb it ground up, so we had to do two rappels down a gully and start there.Now even though I had dreamt about the climb and I THOUGHT I had every move down I was still nervous because I wanted to finish the whole climb without falling! So I felt a little pressure.
Starting out slower than usual on pitch 1 of Que Chucha Me Ves, I felt as though I wasn't 100% in it, but maybe it was just nerves. Since we had a 70 meter rope and some long runners we linked pitch one and two and it puts us right at the bottom of Gringo Loco. As we arrived Javier was there to take some shots of the FA with my camera, but little did I know I had forgotten to add new batteries. So Javier had to jug the line and run to the car to get Natasha's camera and rappel back down. 15 minutes later he arrived and was ready to shoot, and I was ready to climb.
As I cleaned I noticed that there was a two part crux to Gring Loco, the first roof and the second. I think the first roof was the one I was worried about most. With Gringo Loco being a partial crack with some slabby moves I used my Mad Rock Concept shoes. These are great shoes for edging and tight pockets which was exactly why I chose them. Anyway, while cleaning I was also scouting gear placements, it was slim pickings for where to place gear though, So I grabbed a handful of the Totem cams and some Mad Rock Draws. Moving up towards crux one, I was feeling good and controlled my breathing and carefully made it through too a beautiful 3 finger pocket before finding a nice spot to rest and clip one bolt. I was sure happy to make it through that clean.
Just at the end of Crux 1
About 2 meters after a bolt there is the second crux, but after the first crux, and looking into the second, I felt this was going to be a little smother. With a nice pocket for my right toe, and a crimper on the left I was able to SLOWLY move up to a sloper just off the second roof. Once there I found a nice layback and placed a Purple Totem Cam in a thin pocket before moving forward to a piton I placed while cleaning.
Just Finishing Crux 2
After pulling through the crux you get a nice stance in the Dihedral and get to relax before making a big committing move around " the Death Block " to a blind Blue Totem placement! After moving through the block it comes to a series of steps and to the chains. It's about a 5 or 6 meter run out from the last placement to the Chains but it's all pretty mellow and a good finish.After finally clipping the bolts it was Sofi's turn to clean the route and give it a go. Moving right along Sofi worked through Crux 1 but right at the lip she slipped and took a smooth fall. Feeling frustrated she pulled through and set herself up for Crux 2 before making it through with style, I think she surprised herself on how well she did. When she reached the piton the placement was right in her way for a good handhold. I thought that if the piton was removed she could just trust the shallow pocket for the Totem cam, and she would be fine. She was and quickly moved through the death block before greeting me with a high five and a big smile. The last pitch is a tricky class 5 walk off to the top where Javier and Natasha were waiting for us with a beer and a congrats. It was a good day and I'm super proud of the new line GRINGO LOCO ( 6b/c)