Marmot Athletes Tackle Peru's Alpine Bouldering and Mixed Climbs

2012 Incan Odyssey: Marmot Athletes Tackle Peru's Alpine Bouldering and Mixed Climbs
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Rohnert Park, CA: Marmot Athletes, Abbey Smith, Pete Takeda and Paige Claassen, recently returned from a multiple-disciplined, climbing expedition to Peru's Cordillera Blanca mountain range, located in the heart of the Andes. For more than 30 days, straddling the months of June and July, the climbing team established over 40 high-alpine boulder problems near their 15,000-foot base camp and attempted some of the surrounding 5000 and 6000 meter peaks, including a difficult unclimbed north face.

The team's high-mountain adventure to Peru, aptly named The Incan Odyssey, mirrored The Zanskar Odyssey, a 2010 expedition in the Indian Himalayas that also resulted in meaningful first ascents and a noteworthy documentary film. The Incan Odyssey expedition also included a media capture and support team: Mick Follari, a photographer and an accomplished alpinist; Andy Mann, a filmmaker and photographer; and Alex Gilbert, expedition manager and a full-time Marmot employee.

The boulder problems ranged in difficulty from V0-V11 and up to 35 feet tall. Abbey Smith (29) established a 35-foot-tall highball named Breathless (V11), perhaps the highest and hardest boulder problem in the world. In a recent interview with Smith (pictured), she explained, “The line had all the aesthetics, difficulty, height and challenge at altitude that I hoped I would find—it was the high-ball I had always dreamed about.”

For Paige Claassen (23), a world-class sport climber, the high alpine bouldering made for the perfect first-time expedition experience. “The smooth glaciated granite was so pristine—so pure and so fun to climb—that I couldn't help but catch a fire for bouldering in a way I typically only experience sport climbing,” she explained.

During their month-long stay, the team also completed several new ice and mixed climbs in the M6, WI 5 range. They also attempted new routes on surrounding 5000 and 6000 meter peaks. Pete Takeda (46) and Mick Follari (40) attempted a difficult route up an unclimbed north face. The climb ended when Takeda took a 35 foot fall, injuring the ribs on his right side. "I used up the sixth out of my nine lives," remarked Takeda, who is widely respected for his bold and pioneering alpine climbs.

The Incan Odyssey Team will be attending the Summer Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 2-5. Marmot Athletes, Abbey Smith, Paige Claassen and Pete Takeda, will be signing posters at Marmot's trade show booth on Friday, August 3 from 4-6. A short video clip (2-minutes) from The Incan Odyssey expedition will be shown during this time and free beer will be served. The booth party is a benefit for Access PanAm and donations for Peruvian mementoes will go to the organization: www.accesopanam.com

About Marmot Mountain, LLC
Marmot is an award-winning, globally distributed brand of high-performance, technical clothing, apparel and equipment. Since 1974, Marmot products have been worn by climbers, skiers, mountaineers and adventurers world-wide. Marmot works with professional mountain guides, world-class athletes and expeditions—pushing the limits of product innovation and technology—pioneering what is possible in the most extreme environments on earth. For more information, please visit www.marmot.com.

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