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The Embrace

Rolando Garibotti
Holiday 2006

The pitch seems endless. Soon it will be dark. I try to hurry but can’t. Inch by inch I work my way up sculpted frost the consistency of cotton candy – a favorite treat as a kid, though now it makes my stomach hurt. We have two snow pickets, our only protection for this 200-foot vertical wall of frost. The last picket is already far out of sight, and so are my partners.

It’s snowing, and thick clouds engulf us. We have fought hard, climbing over 4,000 feet of steep granite to reach this point, but, believing that this section would be easy, we are psychologically ill-prepared for this last battle. This is one of the finest climbs of our lives and though I can almost see the summit, it still feels awfully far. I grind my teeth and push on.

About the Author
Having grown up in Bariloche with Patagonia as his backyard, Rolo Garibotti first tried to climb Cerro Torre at age 17, just out of high school, but never thought he would return to that particular peak. In November 2005, after yearly pilgrimages back to the far south from his base in Colorado, he finally revisited his high school crush.