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South America, Venezuela, Acopán Tepui, Pizza, Chocolate, y Cerveza

Acopán Tepui, Unate Arête (a.k.a. Racquel Welsh Arête). Louise Thomas, Dave Turnball, Steve Mayers, and I traveled from St. Elena after meeting up with Alfredo Rangel, a local climber who had climbed at Acopán with John and Anne Arran. After flying in we took one days’ march through the savanna and jungle to reach the base of the wall. The line was a huge 500m arête which had previously been tried by Italian climbers (70m climbed and bolted). Over 65 days we worked on the line and bivvied on top for a day. We fixed ropes and enjoyed base camp and party life. We aimed to have a holiday, not an epic. One could take portaledges, but with a big team we kept life simple. We did not place any pegs or bolts. It was a very pleasant rock climb, all pitches E2 to E5, all pitches free except the first, which had a few rest points because of a bees’ nest. Solid, excellent sandstone, perfect for free climbing, took nuts and cams well. We climbed about 500m in about 20 pitches, including easy scrambling at the top. It’s big and bulging and leads to the land that time forgot, hence the route’s a.k.a. This is a class venue without a doubt. Acopán is 80 miles in circumference, with only three routes. We also repeated a route on the south tower—Jardineros de Grandes Paredes, 350m, about E3, first climbed by Italians with Venezuelan Ivan Calderon—a fantastic climb. The weather is hot but with a constant cool strong breeze.

Mike “Twid” Turner, U.K.