Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bloqueando 2012!

Last weekend, I attended El Club Vertigo's 2012 Bloqueando held in the Valle de Challkupunku about 3 hours from La Paz towards the Chilean border.  In Bolivia, a Bloqueando is a climbers' gathering.  It's a play on the words "bloque" which can mean boulder and the verb "bloquear" which means to block and gives rise to the word "bloqueo" which is a popular form of Bolivian social protest where aggrieved citizens block the roads with boulders or burning tires and anything else handy and don't let traffic pass until they get some sort of satisfaction from the authorities.

But before I get to the climbing, we attempted to celebrate Halloween but a hard cold rain somewhat dampened the spirits of three ballerinas and a vampire: 

The rain didn't seem to disturb our local ghosts:

Or AnnaMaria's collection of Monster High dolls:

AM's room:

I made some vital preparations in the days before the Bloqueando, including a fine batch of banana elixir:

At last, the bouldering began.  Julio takes on a moderate problem near the camp:

Jorgi takes a breather between problems.  Challkupunku is around 13,000' which you can feel on the longer problems for sure.

Enjoying the summit:

That pad is looking pretty tiny from the exit moves:

Marco and Jorgi celebrate the end of day one:

Lots of interesting features on the volcanic rock:

Miles and miles of boulders:

Boulders as far as you can see:

The bonfire after the movies:

In the morning, Roberto was nearly carried off by a Bolivian rock dinosaur:

Red Bull sponsored the event:

Jorgi and our camping area:

Jorgi warms up on an easy traverse:

Roberto shows us how it is done:

Jorgi contemplates the start:

Focusing on the crux:

Celebrating the send:

I think Roberto is out of range for that crash pad:

Jorgi again:

Going for the exit stage right:

Plenty of tall easy problems:

Jorgi looks like an old hand at this bouldering business:

I happened upon Jeff sending this harder problem:

Latching the crux hueco and trying to minimize the swing:

Just a few more moves:


On day 2, Jorgi and I conked out after a few dozen problems:

Plenty of cool wind erosions:

Sajama, the highest mountain in Bolivia, presides over the bouldering area from afar: