February 16, 2012
IMG Guides Jenni Fogle and Luke Reilly recently headed to Ecuador to tackle some personal climbing objectives. They had a great time and checked off Carihuairazo, Cayambe and El Altar off their lists. Jenni is now back stateside while Luke is at Camp 2 with our final Aconcagua team of the season.
Below are some thoughts on how to keep your sanity, keep your friends and make a mean Chicken Salad.
How To Make Chicken Salad Out Of Chicken S#@T
By Jenni Fogle
There is always climbing to be found when you are willing to seek it out. This often means traveling great distances, venturing into the unknown, and being willing to just get out there and see what happens. To quote my current climbing partner and fellow IMG Guide Luke Reilly, sometimes this means trying to make “chicken salad out of chicken S&%T.”
Main Ingredients to a great Chicken Salad:
1. Respect for your climbing partner – If you find yourself in Ecuador, for example, in a 12×12 space in which to organize all your gear for 16 days of climbing, attempt private phone conversations via skype, sleep and shower, mutual respect is a necessity.
2. Patience – Things don’t always go according to plan or schedule. It is better to have a rough plan with some primary objectives and ¨go with the flow.¨ The guide book may say 1.5 hours by bus, but that can mean 3 hours in South America. And just because you think it´s reasonable to head out with donkeys at 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon to get to base camp doesn’t mean the donkey driver will agree.
3. Sense of Humor – When you decide it´s better to carry your 70 lb. packs yourself rather than wait until Monday for the donkeys, then find yourself literally up to your knees in mud, in the rain, for HOURS, all you can do is laugh and know things will get better.
4. Perspective – After wallowing in the mud for a few hours, you may come upon a suitable campsite. It may be pretty damp and obviously a common spot of the donkeys and horses to ‘camp’ too, but the fact that you might be able to start a fire if you are REALLY persistent, are able take off your muddy boots and look at the stars, heck – it´s paradise.
5. Focus – When everything you have with you is wet, and the weather continues to be questionable, stay focused and get out there. Go as far as you safely can. Who knows, the weather might clear at the perfect time, giving you the 21 hours you need to get to the summit of El Altar, the most beautiful mountain in Ecuador (in the opinion of the Chicken Salad chefs).
Combine all the ingredients and you just might have the best chicken salad you’ve ever had – spectacular views, successful climbs of Carihuairazo, Cayambe and El Altar in just over 2 weeks, priceless memories, lots of laughs, and two backpacks full of muddy, damp gear.