Disappointment, yes, there is some of that. We've sat in a portaledge bombarded with snow for a whole week now. Everything was going to plan before...we were just a little worried about our water supply; 3.75 gallons would not suffice. We had counted on a storm, nothing major, just a few days so we could refill our water jugs and continue onward. Everyday we would get our hopes up, then late afternoon would give us just enough clarity to keep us pinned to the ledge. "Tomorrow is going to be clear," we would say crawling into our sleeping bags under a starry sky. Then, in the wee hours of the morning the pitter-patter of snow on the rain fly would begin, anew. We were one pitch from the corner, having done 10 new pitches out of twelve on great granite to get to this point. We began with 20 days of food and 70 lbs of water to allow us the time to free-climb the Central Tower of Paine. But here we sit again, day 7 of storms, resolving to go down when we get a break in the weather. March is too late. Even if we get clear skies in a few days, the chance of it giving us enough time to not only get up, but establish a free variation and let's not forget, get down safely, does not seem likely. Yesterday during our few hours of sunlight, the first we'd had in 6 days, we experienced the fear of being a "sitting duck" as snow and ice cascaded down onto our ledge. How we wished we were under a roof! We battled to get on this wall, more so than any of our previous endeavors...which is probably what drove us to sit in a 3X6 space of battered, patched rainfly material during the worst storm we've seen in Patagonia, yet. A week. An entire 7 days of just sitting here and it is still snowing! We will come back. Even now, we sit wondering how to save the funds to allow us another chance. Central Tower, one. Moser-Ness, zero.
This was written during one of many moments of clarity and self pity in the portaledge... Now we sit, eating chocolate and drinking the last of our Chilean wine, waiting for our flight home in a few days. We are excited to be out of the park; three months was too long and March was too late. We can't wait to get back to the Sierra granite and sunny Californian days, but we will return for the Central Tower, we have a vendetta to take care of!