Two months ago, when I got a phone call by TNF offering me the opportunity to flight to chile for the “master of bouldering”, I immediately accepted. I’ve always wanted to visit that country and the combo “competition + a 3 days roc trip” sounded perfect! Caro and James had the same reaction and they also joined immediately the trip.
Furthermore I hadn’t took part in a competition in a while, so I was quite curious to try to get back in that game again. The only negative point of all that was the flight schedule… 30 hours of travel… but well, I could afford it for such a nice deal ;)
Basically everything looked perfectly, until I got injuried in Hueco and the finger didn’t recover….
I contacted the guys of the organization, hesitating if going or not, as I wouldn’t be able to compete and they invited me for that. I was very surprised when I got the answer of Tòmas (the organizator of the event), saying: Oh man, sorry to hear about you injury; but don’t worry about the competition, come anyways, we will show you around and you will have a lot of fun! … and that’s exactly what happened!!!
After the long travel and the bad austrian weather, I was quite happy and surprised when I landed in Santiago: a perfect sunshine and a hot breeze gave me a nice welcome. I joined James and Caro in our (super) hotel in the city center and after a while Tòmas, the man behind all the event, picked up us to bring us to a nice lunch with the rest of the staff; I got immediately surprised of the friendliness and the kindness of all the team and of the Chileans : they all did their best to welcome us in Chile and they did in the perfect way!
The plan for the next two days was the “Master de bouldering”. First I thought not to compete, as my finger hurt a lot and I was scared to make it worse… but after having seen the wall and having realized that if I hadn’t competed, I wouldn’t have climbed for one week… I took the decision of take part at the event, but I obligated my self to take it easy and to stop if my finger would hurt.
The North Face Chile definitely put up one of the best master I’ve seen so far: the location, the wall, the isolation zone, the staff, the problems, the crowd, the way how they treated the athletes … everything was perfect and well planed. I really hope that they will make it to organize a world cup stage in the next years: they would deserve it!
Well, I couldn’t climb hard ’cause of my finger, but we had a lot of fun doing the comp; the highlight was for sure James, who competed for the first time in his life, and he did it pretty well! The final during the night was a great show, and it was impressive to see how many people came to watch the comp and to cheer for the athletes. Felipe and Caro did their job perfectly, but everybody gave his best and made a great show.
After the comp, TNF organized a huge dinner for all the athletes, with a LOT of argentinian meat and piscos… but it’s better not to tell the rest of the night ;)
After one chilling day, we packed up our stuffs and we left the hotel for a 3 days roc trip in Chorriboulder, a beautiful place in the hearth of the andes. We drove during the night and after we put up our “base camp”, Diego showed us some amazing barbecues skills :)
It was such a nice surprise to realize where we were, when we woke up in the morning: we slept in the middle of a never ending boulders field surrounded by high mountains and a 5000 m volcano… it was such a nice feeling to be there and to share this with friends. The only negative point was the rock, as it is not very solid conglomerate and so you can’t really climb everywhere, but it is good enough to enjoy some easy problems in a perfect spot.
We spent the two following days climbing around, grilling a lot of meat laughing and of course…complaining about the skin ;)
After we drove back, Tòmas offered to Caro, James, Matt and me to spend our last day in Chile on the beach. We slept at his place on the beach and on the morning we headed to Valparaiso, which was the most important harbor of the pacific before the built of the Panama Canal,but it has now became a crazy and colorful city. We spent the whole day hanging around, visiting the streets, eating the local plates and slack lining on the beach, before to dive back to Santiago for our last night.
The evening we gave a small and convivial slideshow of our activities in our Hotel room, trying to remerciate the TNF team for their friendliness and for all what they did for us; it was funny to hang out all together in a hotel room, eating pizzas and watching some serious and some less serious videos. After that we went to the city to end up our stay in the chilean way ;)
It has definitely been one of the best trip I’ve done so far; I’m not speaking about the climbing aspect, but mostly about the global experience we had. I really want to remerciate all the people we met, who made our trip so funny and with whom we shared all those moments: thank you guys, I really hope to see you next year!
Hasta la proxima !
All pictures: copyright Jeremias Marinovic.