180° South (2010) Movie Script

It all started in my old forge
in Ventura, California
in the early 1960s.
It was a crude little shop
but we were making
the world's best climbing equipment.
Your know, we were making stuff
for ourselves, number one
and we happened to be on kind of
the cutting edge of climbing at the time.
None of us wanted to be businessman,
that's for sure,
but we had to do something
just to support our climbing habits,
and surfing habits.
I hired, kind of dirt bag friends,
poor climbers and surfers and stuff,
and every time the surf come up,
we'd all abandon the shop and go surfing.
One day in 1968,
my friend Doug Tompkins said:
"Hey, let's go down to Patagonia, and go climb Mt. Fitz Roy"
We picked up a 16 mm Bolex camera
to record the trip.
We loaded the car up with surfboards and climbing gear,
and took off for a 10,000 miles trip down south.
I think from the time that we decided to go,
there was like 2 weeks before we went.
We bought this old van
and took off from Ventura.
1968, you got to remember that
the Pan-American Highway was pretty wild.
It was dirt road from Mexico city all the way south.
It was like being in Montana, Wyoming a 100 years ago.
Here we're in an area that is the size
of the all American West,
with no people.
For those of us that grew up,
going out into the wilds of the world,
where nature was basically untouched,
we got into our souls a sense of beauty.
That trip had a big influence
on both Doug and I,
it kind of set the course for what
we were going to do later in life.
For me, it was the best trip of my life.
10 years ago, I found that old footage of
Doug and Yvon's trip to Patagonia, back in 1968.
It was like seeing everything
I'd ever want to do in my life.
From that point on, I promised myself that someday,
I'd find a way to do a trip like theirs.
Years went by before I finally got my chance.
I heard about a boat docked down in Mexico
that was heading for Patagonia.
They needed a crew,
and I needed a ride South.
My name is Jeff Johnson,
look in any phone book and you'll find ten of me.
I grew up in Danville, California.
You've probably never heard of it,
but it's a long way from
the ocean and the mountains.
When I was 8 years old, 2 things set me
on the path that I'm still on:
the first one was when my parents took me
on a camping trip to Yosemite Valley.
I remember looking through a telescope
up at this huge granite wall,
and guys climbing thousands of feet up.
I couldn't believe my eyes.
It was like watching men
walking on the moon.
That same year, I saw surfing for the first time,
on TV: "Wide World of Sports".
I saw these guys riding massive walls of water.
There were people out there putting themselves in places
they weren't supposed to be,
and I knew right then,
that I want to be there too.
Most of my life, I figured out ways to pick-up and leave
as the seasons change.
I've been a dishwasher, a lifeguard, a flight attendant,
whatever it took to pay for the next trip.
In the last couple years though,
I found a real job,
I've started planting some roots,
I've spent a lot less time on the road,
but I never forgot about my dream
of seeing Patagonia with my own eyes.
Sure, I can take my 2 weeks' vacation time
and just fly down to Patagonia,
but I'll never get a chance like this one again.
If I don't get on that boat,
I know exactly what I'm going home to.
If I do, my future is unwritten.
I'm drawn to open country,
that's where everything becomes clear,
where the world makes the most sense.
When I put myself out there,
I always return with something new.
A friend once told me:
"The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning,
you didn't even think to ask."
I met Yvon for the first time
in the South Pacific a few years ago.
I told him about finding that old footage of his
and wanting to get to Patagonia myself.
Jeff is a real thing,
he's just a total dirt bag.
He can live out of his car climbing in the valley,
he's become a really good climber,
rides any kind of waves.
He's just kind of hustling his way along
so he could stay on the road.
He reminded me a lot about how I use to be.
I met a lot of young people who ask me
what books to read or films to watch.
I think it's a good way to start,
but there's no substitute for just going there.
Yvon gave me a photo Doug had taken,
a snapshot of a really remote coast land in Patagonia
with a mountain called Corcovado.
I've been carrying the photo around ever since,
imagining myself on top of the ice-covered peak.
For Yvon and Doug,
the best way to get down there was an old van,
for me, this turned out to be this 54 foot cutter
called "The Sea Bear".
Alan, the captain, grew up in Patagonia,
and is taking his boat home,
and me, I'm just lucky enough to hitch a ride.
But I've never been on a boat for months at a time
and my sea legs aren't solid as I thought.
This stuff is moving a lot,
lots of movement.
I'm on kind of like the verge of nausea at all times.
I met a major low point of my entire life.
I haven't slept much.
I'm trying to sleep right now.
I'm doing great !
I could vomit at any second.
Taking a trip for 6 months,
you get into the rhythm of it.
It feels like you could just go on forever doing that.
Climbing Everest is the ultimate and the opposite of that,
because you get all these high-powered
plastic surgeons and CEOs,
and, you know, they pay $80,000,
and they have Sherpas who put all the ladders in place,
and 8,000 feet of fixed rope.
You get to a camp
and you don't even have to lay out your sleeping bag,
it's already laid out,
with a little chocolate milk on the top.
And the all purpose of climbing something like Everest
is to affect some sort of spiritual and physical gain,
but if you compromise the process,
you're an asshole when you start out,
and you're an asshole when you get back.
Yvon and Doug should be
in Patagonia when I get there.
They said I'd be welcome to a warm blanket
and a hot meal on my way to Corcovado.
Doug lives here full time with his wife Kris,
and Yvon will be down there helping them with a big project
they've been working on for almost 2 decades.
Yvon also told me that the ice on Corcovado could be
completely melted if I get down there any later than December,
and that can make it really difficult to make the summit,
which brings up one minor detail:
I've never climbed on ice before.
Even if I had, I still need a crew
for something like this,
and I couldn't think of anyone better than my 2 friends:
Timmy O'Neill and Keith Malloy.
And you could check it by going like this,
it's going to be a little brusque, but watch.
- You see ? It works like that.
- Yeah, yeah !
So, if the jugs were mysteriously disintegrated,
you would drop on the gri-gri
and it would stop you instantly.
Timmy has climbed all over the world
and put up record breaking ascents in Yosemite valley.
He has climbed "El Capitan"
in 3 and a half hours.
Even great climbers can take days.
Keith quit the Pro Surf Tour
about 6 years ago,
and since then, he has devoted himself to discovering
new surf spots around the world.
He has been chased by grizzlies in Canada
and shot out by rebels in the Spice Islands.
He's a man of few words,
but if there's any surf down there,
this guy will find it.
We thought a good warm up for Keith would be
the North American wall on "El Capitan".
Yvon made the first ascent of this route
back in 1964,
when it's considered
the most difficult rock climb in the world.
It's still no cake-walk,
which was interesting
because Keith hadn't climbed much at all,
not to mention, the guy is afraid of heights !
We felt like climbing had no worth to society what so ever,
we didn't want to be part of the military industrial complex.
Life was pretty easy in the 1960s,
I mean, you could buy an automobile for 15 bucks
and live out of your automobile
and camp out in Yosemite
and then, here were these great walls,
that hadn't been climbed,
that were as big and as smooth and as difficult
as any walls in the world.
The biggest one of all was the North American wall
on "El Capitan".
My friends Chuck Pratt,
Royal Robbins, Tom Frost and I,
we made the first ascent
over a period of 10 days.
The wall overhangs the entire way,
and it's questionable whether you could ever get down
if you got half way up and couldn't go any further.
It's very similar to the first guys to ride
really big waves like at Waimea,
they didn't know whether they could get held down
by one of these big waves
to where they'd just die.
The fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all,
but we just went for it.
Keith and Timmy couldn't make the long Pacific crossing,
but hopefully, they'll be meeting me down in Patagonia.
I have the sunrise watch every morning.
It has taken me a month to get into the mindset
of long distance sailing.
As each day passes,
I feel more detached
from my scheduled life back home
and more in rhythm with what surrounds me.
Mast down !
Mast over the deck !
This morning, during my watch,
our 70 foot mast was ripped-off
and snapped like a twig.
We were adrift
in the middle of nowhere.
Everything was down in the ocean,
smashing against the hull.
I thought that was obvious
that we'd to cut everything loose,
but Alan had a different plan.
He came up on deck with a knife in his hand and
announced that everything would be coming back on board.
Twelve long hours later,
we finally have the broken mast
and everything else on board.
It turned out a defective piece of rigging was to blame.
But it was hard not to feel like
I should have seen some early sign of this.
Tonight, we are too tired to eat,
we don't have enough fuel to get to mainland Chile,
so our only option is to motor 400 miles to Rapa Nui,
otherwise known as Easter Island.
The word adventure has just gotten overused.
For me, adventure is
when everything goes wrong.
That's when the adventure starts.
A month and a half at sea,
and we are finally lumped in
to the most remote island in the world, Rapa Nui.
We'd only planned to be on Rapa Nui
for a few days to resupply,
but it looks like we're gonna be here
a lot longer than that.
The first person I met is a girl named Makohe,
I saw her teaching some kids to surf
on the inside of the bay.
She's born and raised here
and she's promised to show me around the island.
It's nearly December,
but for the first time, I'm not as worried
about getting to Corcovado before the ice melts.
Coming to Rapa Nui is like going back to the past,
and the people, they have like
their history in their blood.
My mom, she used to live in the time when the plane
came over the island and drop something in the ocean,
the letters, supplies...
- You know ?
- What's changed ?
Yeah, many things.
When we were kids, the entertainment was
to watch the plane coming and going,
and we would sit in this big tree
that we had in the corner of my house somewhere
and would bring sandwiches, we would sit
and would watch the plane come down
for the all time it was there.
- That was the entertainment ?
- Yes
- Everybody watch ?
- Yeah
- So you were the first one on a surf in Rapa Nui ?
When I started surfing, there was only
these guys in the water,
and I had never seen a woman
surfing in the water.
And I told my brother : "Can I go there ?"
because he had so much fun,
he said:
"No, it's only for men."
and then one day I thought:
"I'll take me there, because I wanna see."
I went and it was fun !
And I was the only woman for a long time,
maybe 10 years.
When I'm in big cities,
surrounded by cars or smog,
I just close my eyes
and I think about Rapa Nui,
the blue sky, the nice people,
the ocean, the waves,
I just think about that, in my mind
and that makes me strong,
just having Rapa Nui.
I don't want Rapa Nui to change,
I want it to be like this.
Days have turned into weeks.
When the sea is calm we work on the boat.
When it comes to life,
I explore the volcanic coast line with Makohe.
This island has taken us in like family.
As the weeks pass,
I tell Makohe about my plan to climb Corcovado.
Without hesitation, she asks if she can come along.
At this point, I wonder if any of us
will make it to Patagonia on the boat,
but I promised her I'll ask Allan
if we can squeeze one more person on board.
Yvon had told me about
Jared Diamond's book "Collapse"
and how Diamond presents Easter Island
as a cautionary tale,
a grim example of a society that exceeded
its resources and suffered the consequences.
When the first European set foot on
Easter Island,
in 1700 something,
all the Moais were all standing up right,
but as the population increased, the people
started separating out into different little tribes,
putting all their time and energy into, you know,
outdoing each other, making larger and larger Moais,
and that became the central focus of the entire society.
It took priority over survival, almost,
and eventually, they would cut down their entire forest
to transport these giant carved stones.
And this became such an obsession
that they depleted the island's resources,
let the tribal warfare, cannibalism,
and eventually, the population of the island,
from 30,000 was finally reduced down to 119 people.
I've met Jared Diamond a few times
and talked about his book "Collapse",
and how all the different societies of the past
that he studied have collapsed,
and that: "what does that means for our society?"
and in the end he really says that
we're making all the same mistake
that all these other societies have made.
As a story of Easter Island goes,
so goes the planet.
It's a haunting thought,
and I'm beginning to see these statues
a little differently.
I remember a quote I read one time from Aldous Huxley,
it never resonated with me much until now.
He wrote: "Men do not learn very much
from the lessons of history,
and that is the most important
of all the lessons of history."
There wasn't a harbor on the island
big enough to get in to fix our mast,
so we have to figure out how to do the repair
while anchored off-shore.
Allan got a wholesome old plan sailors have used
for centuries when forced to remast while at sea.
With no proper boat building equipment,
these archaic blueprints are our only option.
We spent a month getting ready to rehoist our mast,
and we've used everything we could get our hands on.
Our jury-rigged mast, half the size of the original,
weights over 500 pounds.
Stepping it to the deck in a rolling sea
could be disastrous.
One snap line could set off a chain reaction
bringing everything down, taking us out with it.
When the wind eases, we'll take our best shot.
If we fail, it will be the end of my trip.
Almost a month on Rapa Nui.
Soon, we will pull anchor and start
our 2,300 miles crossing to Chile.
I've always felt better on the move.
As soon as I learned to walk, I was running.
Today, though, I wouldn't mind staying here forever.
It's hard to leave a place I really connect with.
I tell myself I'll be back,
but I know there's a good chance I never will.
The good news is:
that question I asked Allan,
about whether or not
we had any extra space on the boat,
well, we do,
and Makohe is coming with me to Corcovado.
You get to the top of the wall,
and there's nothing up there.
Lionel Terray, the great French climber
calls it : "The conquistadors of the useless".
Yes, the end result is absolutely useless
but every time I travel, I learn something new
and hopefully, I get to be a better person.
When you had a whole life in the outdoors,
you realize that you have a sense of responsibility
to protect these wild places.
After 16 days crossing from Rapa Nui,
we finally arrived in Chile.
This marks the end of Allan's
10,000 miles voyage from Seattle.
After years of being gone,
it's good to see he's made it home.
The Sea Bear will be months in port,
waiting for a new mast,
so Makohe and I decide to keep moving South.
Makohe has a friend from Pichilemu,
a town South of here.
He's a big wave rider named Ramon Navarro,
and his roots here go back to generations.
She thinks he'll have a place for us to stay,
and says his dad is a fisherman.
He might have ideas and find us
another boat to Corcovado.
And my mom said my grandpa
traded the land for one horse.
Right in here ?
Yes, all where my house is and all around,
50 acres, maybe more,
for one horse.
My all family comes from here,
so I've my roots in here and I see a lot around the world, what
happen when people come with money and change everything.
But we don't want to change
the best and most beautiful
place we have in here,
and we're going to fight for that man.
- Yeah.
Getting good surf on a travel has always come secondary
to the experience of just being on the road,
but on our second day, we woke up
to a big perfect swell and no one in the water.
The last wave I rode that day
turned out to be longest wave in my life.
I'll never forget it.
Ramon's parents watched the ocean change
when big commercial fishing companies arrived
and destroyed the local fisheries.
His father taught him to
work hard, live simply
and have a deep
respect for the ocean.
Ramon tells me that today,
the biggest threat they face are
the pulp mills popping-up along the Chilean coast.
Here I am, in the city
after 3 months at sea.
This place has more people than Los Angeles.
Right now, they're building a 3,000,000 ft shopping mall
and an office tower that will be
the tallest building on the continent.
I find myself thinking about the collapse of Rapa Nui.
Growth is inevitable, but can we maintain
this momentum in the long term ?
Being here reminds me of
my life back home
and I'm beginning to think about
my own use of resources.
Yvon told me before I left that
if we come to Santiago,
we should visit his friend
Juan Pablo Orrego.
He has made it his life's work
to stop urban sprawl wide Chile
and is fighting for the fading way of life
of its indigenous people.
My old friend Keith Malloy
has finally caught-up with me.
During our climb last year on "El Capitan",
he tore up his knee pretty bad
and had to get surgery.
On the mend, just before this trip, he caught
one of the biggest waves of his life at Mavericks.
I thought Timmy would be with him,
but he's off climbing somewhere,
so I hope he shows up
before we get to Corcovado.
We've come to a point where the road ends
and the land begins to break apart,
so we found a local boat to take us on
a last sleigh to Patagonia.
What I see here is the realization
of a dream 40 years in the making.
It all started with that trip
Doug and Yvon took here in 1968.
This is Conservacin Patagnica,
and it stretches as far as the eye can see.
For the last 18 years, Doug and
his wife Kris, along with Yvon,
have dedicated their lives to one of the largest
private land conservation project in the world,
Conservacin Patagnica.
In the early 90s, Doug and Kris
began raising money
and using their own life savings to acquire
large tracks of wild lands in Chile and Argentina.
With the help of hundreds of
passionate workers and volunteers,
they've succeeded in protecting
entire ecosystems
and fostering sustainable
farming and ranching programs.
Added together, the amount of land they've put in to
conservation is bigger than Yellowstone National Park.
I've arrived over a month late,
but Yvon and Doug are still here.
I heard about their project,
but I had no idea just how big it was.
I've always study their trip here
40 years ago as an adventure,
but now, I realize it was a turning point.
We didn't change our lives overnight,
but it had a big influence on me.
For me, it was the best trip of my life.
The all history of Latin America
is on the "conquistadores".
It's not much different from the States,
but in the States, at least,
we don't trust the government
and so we have a history of philanthropy.
So Doug comes down here
and he says : "I'm gonna create a National Park
and I'm gonna give it back to you Chileans"
and they're going : "Give me a break !"
"People don't do that."
You know, there has to be another reason.
I think first and foremost,
people only protect those things they love
and you can't love something
unless you inherently identify with that.
That's certainly one of the reasons
we ended up here.
We have over 2,000,000 acres of land
put into conservation
and people think that's a lot of land,
but really we're on the loosing team here.
First of all, you never know
if you're doing the right thing,
you got to temper all your thinking that way,
but the way I see it, you know,
with land conservation, say, of this type,
is that the risk of something negative
coming from this, seems to be rather small
compared with taking
an explorative approach.
If we make some errors,
they're gonna be rather small,
you know, I'm sure we're making errors,
the thing is to minimize those errors.
I think it leaves open possibilities
for future generations.
It doesn't seem to be worth wasting a lot
of energy on attempting to rewrite the past,
I just realized, at least, what I was doing
was making a lot of stuff that nobody needed
and pushing our consumer society,
so I went to do something else.
We were really, really different,
we had a same viewpoint
of the world and where it's gone,
but a different approach to it.
He's more bothered probably about
the end of society and mankind that I am
because he's the one that do something about it,
and I'm just kind of a laid back
Zen Buddhist
and just say : "Well, I'll do what I can
and so be it."
Well... You tell my buddy Yvon the good Buddhist
he has to take his Bodhisattva vows
which means that before self-enlightenment,
one has to end the suffering in the world.
I never knew about Douglas before,
and many people told me that he was a bad man
because he bought all these lands from the Chileans,
he's taking all the lands for him,
that's what people said, like now,
because they don't know him,
they don't know what he's doing.
And for me, to get to see that,
he's an example
that many people should follow.
The solution, I think, it's in all of us,
and I learned that
in the South with Douglas.
In a way, I saw the future of Rapa Nui too.
Here we are, you know, we're germinating
from seeds of different species.
First of all, we're just doing general
restoration work and reforestation.
Here we have "Alerce", they are from
Lago Negro, and have different places.
Since you can't find these species
in regular nurseries in any numbers,
we realized that we had
to start our own tree nursery.
During the Pinochet era,
Chile awarded the rights, the water rights,
to the majority of their rivers
to private enterprises.
Something that you would find
in almost no other country.
And the result of that is that the
Spanish energy company Endesa,
they have been rather methodically going through
and establishing energy projects in the form
of dams on rivers throughout Chile.
I saw what Kris was talking about
up north on the Bio-Bio river.
This was once a fully functioning ecosystem where
the river, forests and people depended on one another.
Juan Pablo says these dam projects are a symptom,
but he also says the true cause of the problem
is the development model.
I'm thinking of those looming
high-rises in Santiago, all lit up.
I am thinking of Ramon and his talk
about the price tag of progress.
I read that the American video game habit
annually consumes as much power
as the entire city of San Diego.
So I'm also thinking about all those little things
that add-up to keep us comfortable or just amused.
And I'm beginning to see the real consequences.
Better late than never,
Timmy O'Neill always comes through and today,
2 days before we set-off to Corcovado,
he has arrived fresh from another long stand
of ice climbing in running rivers.
All in here, you know, there are
big mountains, beaches and so forth.
I'd say not as much up in here,
and especially there, is where you get the most exposed
and there's kind of the open ocean out of there,
and you get this swells that are kind of
unimpeded, they're coming in there
and they hit right in this area here.
And if you got a boat, you can,
depending on what kind of weather you have,
hopefully, you get some kind of storm,
you get some storm swells.
You've ever been in this area in here ?
Yeah ! You wanna just trickle on here,
and you go comparatively fast up the gully
and then you'll get slow down as it starts into the...
Doug is the only person
who's ever stood on top of Corcovado.
In the early 1990s, he and a friend
set off to do the first ascent,
it took him 3 long days just to get to the base.
When they reached the top of the glacier,
below the steep summit pitches,
his climbing partner decided to turn back,
so Doug climbed the rest of it alone,
solo in the last few hundred feet
of technical ice without a rope.
I must say, that's pretty wild what he did,
you know, you got to think about not only getting up
but you got to think about getting down.
There's no anchors to rappel or anything like that,
he had to down climb a lot of that.
That was a great climb,
it has never been repeated !
I love this soaked son of a bitch !
You know where I want to be right now ?
It's right here !
Nowhere else, not in the future, not in the past.
Look at that.
Look at that fat guy !
Oh my god ! Don't lose the juice !
This is what I've worked for, all my life.
I'm going to be 70 next November
and it's been a good life,
I tell you, I have no regrets.
It's a...
Just live for the moment.
We're making our final passes to Corcovado
and this morning, Yvon surprises us
all by hopping on the boat.
He's been a climber for over 50 years,
he just couldn't help it.
Who knows ?
This could be his last big climb.
We're 2 days out and the clouds
are finally lifted from the mountain.
After 5 months at travel,
I'm finally here.
It's hard for me to believe that in only a few days,
we'll be up there, standing on the summit.
I think you're gonna like climbing.
- Have you climbed with women before ?
- Oh, they're great climbers !
- Really ?
- Yeah, I think so.
Do you think I'll be a great climber ?
So, you always want the ice axe on the uphill,
that's the position of balance, ok ?
This is not a balance,
because it's easy to fall off, right ?
Keith has figured out that the Corcovado coast is more
sheltered form swell than we had originally thought.
It turns out this place needs a really
specific swell direction from the South,
but Keith got a report of
some movement off Cape Horn,
so he's up to just stay back and discover the coast
for waves while the rest of us head up the river.
Now that we follow the river to its source,
we have to cross the forest along 4 glacier lakes until
we have a clear shot of the summit form the North-East side.
We really underestimated this thing.
I think higher was the call.
Well I think, even just a little higher,
you get more valleys
but you get less jungle because it's thicker
as you get towards the river, you know ?
- Oh yeah.
- I wouldn't even think about going back.
- Oh god !
Mileage ? I don't know, maybe 3 miles.
But hours ? Seemingly endless !
This is the worst.
This isn't climbing, this is...
But, you know, you could take a helicopter right
to the snow line and climb it, but that's cheating.
I guess this is what makes the climb, this crap.
We've rock copped and bushwhacked
10 hours a day for the last few days.
Sometimes, we've been forced to backtrack
and start all over again.
We've been in this section of
the new park for 3 days now.
I have spent a lot of time in
places I thought were wild,
but I've never seen anything like this.
This is probably the craziest part of
Chile that I've seen so far, I think.
I don't think very many humans have been up here.
I think we can do the all thing on this ridge
and not even touch snow.
- On the ridge to the left of the snow ?
- That we're looking at, yes.
- Moving on snow will be easier than
moving on that loose pebble.
- Yeah, yeah.
I mean safer, essentially. But the problem
is that if you fall on snow, you slip down
- You could die.
- And die.
I know, snow kind of scares me a little bit.
Have you done much on it ?
I've done none !
- Zero ?
- Zero !
Why am I finding this out now ?
I told you this a long time ago !
A long time ago, that was
a long time ago ! I forget.
It's like Makohe has an excuse, she's from Rapa Nui,
it's a really remote island in the middle of the Pacific.
- Your excuse is just ignorance, I guess.
- Yes.
- And that's not an excuse, Jeff !
- But I've told you of my ignorance,
so you're not ignorant of my ignorance.
That doesn't absolve you of it though, dude ! That
only makes me knowledgeable of your ignorance.
What I am saying Jeff, is that this is serious.
We got to camp last night around dark
and woke up at 2 a.m. to push for the summit.
Now, after months,
years really,
I'm finally approaching my goal.
Keith is somewhere below searching
the Corcovado coast for surf.
From up here I see fresh swell on the horizon.
Even if the surf is small, I know
he's finding what he came down here for,
At the edge of the ice field,
my worries have become a reality.
Our delay in Rapa Nui has pushed this climb
deeper into the Southern hemisphere summer.
There's no ice left on the summit
and from here the rock doesn't look solid.
This climb is going to be a lot
more dangerous than we thought.
It looks like we have 10 pitches of really rotten rock.
It looks like all the rocks are just going to fall down.
- It's gonna be a little sketchy, I think
- Yeah!
You know, we got to get the team open.
You guys are the fastest so,
you guys have to just go,
go for it.
I'm happy.
- Are you sure ?
- Yeah !
We rope up and prepared to make our move
from solid ice to crumbling rock.
We are unsafe here at best.
Timmy and I hope the rock will get better as we got higher,
but three hours later, I felt like we were standing on a slanted
roof of a high-rise with nothing but marbles under our boots.
We're only 200 feet from the top,
but we had to face the facts.
I'm not sure if we should continue,
because it seems literally like,
the next pitch above me is the worst
unconsolidated nightmare I've ever seen.
We've climbed about 500 feet of this bullshit,
and the worst is right in front of me.
These loose boulders here, hold
Oh my Lord...
holds this block, which holds this block,
which holds our equipment in the crack.
Oh whoa whoa whoa, rock !
This isn't a good option.
Hey, Jeff!
It doesn't seem like it's worth risking my life,
but we still have to get down.
I've come all this way,
and I've given myself to this trip completely.
I pictured myself on top of Corcovado,
just like those guys I saw through a telescope
in Yosemite Valley when I was a kid.
And now, I'm backing down,
just a couple 100 feet short of the summit.
I wouldn't take back anything
I experienced along the way,
but it's hard to shake it.
Those last 2 pitches that went unclimbed...
When those guys came back they were pretty shot
and pretty discouraged that they couldn't climb it.
Any mountain, at certain times is safe
and at other times it's super dangerous,
we just happened to be here at the wrong time.
Maybe Jeff and Tim are still bothered
by the idea that they couldn't climb it.
So it's kind of like the quest for the Holy Grail,
well, you know, who gives a shit what the Holy Grail is ?
It's the quest, it's what's important.
The transformation is within yourself,
that's what's important.
It's been nearly six months since
I left home to climb Corcovado,
but getting shut down
doesn't mean my trip is over.
The biggest project for Conservacion
Patagonica is even further South
and that is also where the dams are to be built,
but the locals are getting more
and more organized in their opposition.
They have created a grass roots
organization called "Sin Represas"
which means: "Without dams".
We've been seeing their signs and banners everywhere.
I'm humbled by this place
and inspired by its people.
The gauchos work with Doug as park rangers,
and I've asked Yvon if we could spend
our last few days here working with them.
The protest started with 1 gaucho
and the little town of Cochrane.
He heard about the power companies' plan
to build these dams
on the Baker and the Pascua river,
so he decided to go to the capital and demand
the Government to stop this construction.
Word got out as he passed each farm and ranch,
and in just 2 days,
hundreds of riders had joined him.
Four days later,
when they arrived at the steps
of the power company and protest,
they were over 300 riders.
This new park used to be a sheep ranch
but the livestock was removed from this section
so the wild life can come back.
The gauchos have been taking down the old fences
and we volunteered to help them in their work.
When we started,
we had 400 miles of fencing to take down.
That's a lot of fencing.
Now it's down to less than 300 miles.
Hopefully, in a few years that will all come down.
Almost immediately the guanacos and all the other
wild animals come back and take over the territory.
It's a small but satisfying restoration
of the natural order of things.
In a few days, Makohe will head home
to her family in Rapa Nui.
Timmy will head back to Yosemite,
and Keith will head north to live for surf in Canada.
This journey was like going back in time,
like seeing North America before
it became dominated by industry.
But for these people,
it's not some nostalgic trip into the past,
it's their present.
Their hard work and ability to live simply with the land
is proof that we can learn from tradition.
These people have shown me that if you love
a place you have a duty to protect it,
and to love a place, you must know it first.
This is one of the rivers the gauchos
have been trying to protect,
and where one of five dams is supposed to go in.
The plan is to have power flow from here
to big cities hundreds of miles away.
I'm certainly no expert,
but those fallen statues in Rapa Nui
are seared in my memory,
lying face down in the dirt,
it's like they're trying to tell us something.
I left home 6 months ago to follow on
the footsteps of my heroes,
a bit of surfing, some climbing,
lots of unspoiled terrain.
Pretty simple really.
Well, I got all of that,
but along the way, I've also begun to make
connections that I never thought much about.
In these far corners of the world,
I'm seeing the effects of encroaching progress,
and most of this has to do
with over consumption elsewhere.
It's easy for us to blindly consume when
we don't see the effect it has on other places.
The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life.
It's so easy to make it complex.
What's important is leading and examine life
because most of the damage caused by human
is caused unintentionally, I think.
In response to people who say : "You can't go back!"
say, what happens if you get to the cliff
and you take 1 step forward,
or you do a 180 turn and take one step forward ?
Which way are you going ?
Which is progress ?
The solution, maybe, for a lot of the world's
problem is just: turn around take a forward step!
You can't just keep trying to make a flawed system work.
My all life, I've been drawn to open country.
I always return home a little different.
But I know now we can no longer take it for granted.
When open country is gone,
we will be gone with it.
One day, if you've been climbing all your life,
you're going to get to your last climb.
I thought the trip was over,
but Doug and Yvon showed me this unclimbed peak on
the edge of the new park that they tried to climb last year.
They want to give it one more shot
and they've asked me to come along.
What do you want to call the route ?
Just climb it and walk away.
It doesn't matter anymore.
Each of us on our own way gotta do something,
to save your soul, you know ?
Whatever that is.