- SÉAN !! How does one fall when climbing a chimney ?!?!? - YOU DON'T FALL !!! - Great… My name is Merlin DIDIER, I'm 20 years old and I'm trying to wrestle my way up a granite chimney in the middle of a 1000m rock face, lost in the Chilean mountains. How the hell did I ever end up here ???
It all started the summer before the expedition. I had just done a year of laborious studying at the University of Brussels, but I had huge repeats in August and my motivation was playing hide and go seek ... clearly I was not in the right place ! (but I did not know that yet!)
That's when Stephen started pestering me with this Patagonia story : "Well Merlin, what are you doing M in September? You have exams? No luck ... I'm going to Patagonia with Séan!!! "
I didn't quite know if there was a message behind those words of Stephane ... Was it an invitation? Or just words in the wind? Whatever it was no question of me leaving that year, I was starting another year at school, I had to study now !
The thing is, climbing a Big Wall in Patagonia was my wildest dream!! Séan, Steph and Favresse brothers were driving me crazy with their stories of adventures ... they were my gods ! So as soon as the possibility of going to Patagonia with those rascals was planted in my brain, there was no thinking about anything else !
My mother then told me : « If that’s what you really wanna do, then do it ! AND STOP FUCKING AROUND !!! »
So I asked Steph and Séan what they thought, I didn't want to be the third wheel... « OF COURSE YOU CAN COME MERLIN, WE WERE WAITING FOR YOU TO BUY OUR PLANE TICKETS !!»
Four months later we went into the Chilean mountains of the Torres del Paine with one month of food and with the objective to free the Cerro Catedral, a vertical rock face of 1000m (3000 feet).
-> This web serie tells this adventure :
We have carried everything ourself to the base of the wall, heavy loads with all our climbing gears, our cloths and all the food for one month !
HERE WE GO !!
I already knew that Séan was an excellent climber and a warrior ...but when I saw him climbing this pitch, he perfectly linked those two qualities !
Of course I had brought my special biscuit, a "couque de Dinant", all the way from Belgium to give us more chances !
After one entire week on the wall we had freed the Co. Catedral. Of course we were super happy and exhausted but we still had food so we decided after a few rest days to have a try on the wall on the left of the Catedral : the Cota 2000. After a failed attempt in push style we tried it with the portaledges and after another week of vertical life, we freed all the pitches and reached the summit ! Here a few pictures of this second climb :
I will be forever thankful to Stephane Hanssens and Séan Villanueva to have allowed me to share this incredible adventure with them.
Thanks lads ! Now I can study in peace.
The full story (in french) + photos on my blog : => https :// www.merlindidier.wordpress.com