Having clearly done our time in the cave over christmas and new year in temps down to -10 degrees C, nearly been knocked off our feet by the wind spent days waitng to even touch the rock we felt we´d had the Patagonia experience, we´d done our time we were ready to fulfil those romantic visions of freeclimbing on beautiful granite high above the glacier in great style.
The alarm went off at 4am, I looked outside not that I needed to I knew what was out there, it had been keeping me awake most f the night. It was terrible, a full-on storm, there would have been a thick covering of snow had the wind not been roaring like a series of freight trains. We could hear them coming from a couple of hundred meters away, ripping at the rocks on the ground untill it hit the tent and it would feel like you were going to be taken away and deposited somewhere in neighbouring Argentina. This was all to familiar just like the Christmas storm again. The first 2 days past with a painful monotony, 4am-alarm, go back to sleep, stay there as long as possible, get up try not to piss on your self too much in the wind, eat some breakfast, go back to bed read on of the couple of books as slow as possible, get up have some lunch, read slowly, get up eat dinner then try to sleep.
By the third day the claustrophobia was getting hard to deal with, walking a total of 50 meters throughout the day being either in a small tent or a drafty dark cave was taking its toll on our unacustomed Australian psyche that was used to feeling shock at awaking to a day where climbing wasn´t possible. Maybe we´d cope better had we not come from the driest continent on Earth.
That night we knew if the weather wasn´t with us tomorro we´d have to do something, get out of the cave for a walk at least. We awoke to more of the same so we took a stroll down to the Japanese camp, this is where most of the climbers camp, it is pretty close to the west side of the towers and all the shorter routes that tend to get most of the traffic. We bumped into a few climbers and we all complained about the weather. Among the climbers there was Steve Schneider a total veteran of the area, he´d probably done more climbing on the towers than anyone else ever, so we hoped he may have some helpful insight into what to expect from the weather. On telling him that we were trying Riders on the Storm he said only that `you guys are a small team for the East Face` on telling we only had a couple of hundred meters of rope he said `the ledge is the obvious place to fix to` meanwhile that would take 3 times the amount rope we had, Then to top it off we told him we were leaving in 3 weeks to which he just said `you guys.....I´m not so sure`. In retrospect this healthy dose of realism was what we would need if were to make anything of our chances.