In November, the Pan American Championships were held in Santiago, Chile and I was fortunate enough to be one of the competitors. Throughout the entire ten day trip to Chile I was often hanging out with the Texas crew, Shane Puccio, Nick Milburn, and Dalan Faulkner. We started off by taking the 9 hour flight to Santiago from Texas. We arrived at the airport and after getting through the long line into customs we drove off to find our hotel. It took quite a while to get our bearings at first, especially when we made the 30min car drive to the hotel into a 3 hour journey of taking wrong turns and almost crashing into a sketchy driver, it was an interesting, unplanned tour of the city. After we found the hotel and got a good amount of nap time, we checked out the climbing wall in Mall Sport (a giant mall with a huge climbing wall in the middle of it) and fortunately met an extremely cool Chilean climber named Jaime, who told us where we could find some nearby climbing crags. We had heard of a place called Pelestra, so we pieced together some sub-par directions and set out to find some good climbing the next day. Like the previous day, we got lost again and then finally found where the "climbing wall" was, or at least that’s what we thought it was, so we hiked up the trail that was never really a trail, but instead random rock slides that looked like they might be trails. So after hiking for five long hours up steep, loose gravel with thick brush all the way, the ascent team and I found ourselves to be quite the unintentional mountaineers, because we never found any climbing, but had instead just hiked up to the very peak of a random Chilean mountain we thought had climbing on it. Ultimately, it was really worth the hike because we got to see an amazing view of the Application Mountains. Again, we hiked down the sketchy, mostly nonexistent trail and decided that we should have a local show us where to climb next time. So we called up our good friend Jaime the next day and he led us to an awesome crag only 15min away from the hotel! We got on some super cool 12s and 11s and a really hard 14, I even broke off a hold that almost took out both Nick and Dalan and probably made it way a harder climb. The climbing there reminded me a lot of the climbing in Rifle which is knee bars pinches, limestone. It was truly a great local place to climb. Thanks Jaime!
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