Background News

We interview Silvia Vidal

Hi Silvia, first of all, thank you for devoting some of your time for this interview which we are all excited about.

A few months ago, you started a solo route on the west side of Xanadu (Arrigetch Peaks, Alaska) and we would like to know first hand details about your experience.

We would like to know more about your experience and sensations during  this great 53 day adventure isolated in this remote valley.

Let's start from the beginning. What led you to undertake this challenge and how was the beginning of this adventure?

I had my eye on the wall for a few years; The wall looked very nice and the location even more so. This year the conditions were ideal to be able to go, and so I started the preparations, which were many; researching the area, photos of the wall, establishing contact with the planes and seaplanes, with the park rangers to learn the regulations of the park, organized food, made all necessary purchases, all the material, informed myself about the climate, possibilities of access to the wall, the Bears...

I really wanted to live an adventure, alone, in a remote and wild place.   

As for the route "a pas més" A4/A4 + and 6a, at the time of making it, did they seem problematic?

I've really enjoyed the route. It was technically complex: Roofs, crossings, inverted slabs where the ropes were constantly hooked while climbing, rappels very technical...

subiendo cuerdas fijas 2 Foto.Sílvia Vidal
Taking on a solo route and without external assistance makes it difficult to complete, what helped you move forward?

The desire, faith, confidence, enjoyment of what he was doing and how he was doing it for, the place... The people who were at home encouraging me.

You did the"a pas més" route without GPS, and without a full map. How did you navigate the approach path?

By intuition. Sometimes there were circumstances that made me think that the road was there and not on the other hand.

What equipment did you take with you on this journey?

I carried 6 parcels of 25 kilos; Two backpacks, two bags (for climbing and camping material) and two cans (for food).

With a total of 150 kilos to be carried on six occasions (during the approximation), implied each trip was performed 11 times (going with weight and returning without it. and repeat...).

After the rout, during the descent I carried 5 packages (the surplus backpack inside one of the duffles), I repeated the journey 9 times.

20 trips, carrying 150 kilos, which were a total of 336 miles walked, during 36 days. I spent 17 days hanging on the wall.

The equipment I carried was the minimum for a solo bigwall, in capsule style; Personal gear (harness, climbing shoes, helmet...), simple hammock, awning, 1 single 60 meter dynamic rope, a static rope of the same length to lift duffles and parcels and an other static rope of 130 meters to fix between walls.

Just a couple of sets of friends, another of microfriends and stoppers. Some 35 nails, 8 hooks and a few pits (the route has 15 pits: 12 joints and 3 lengths).

Minimal clothing, a sleeping bag, an ultralight tent, a stove and little more.

Almost all the food was lyophilized, because it weighs less, and on this occasion no book. I looked at every milligram.

silvia-vidal-action
Did you have any prior preparation to undertake this challenge? If so, what and for how long?

Basically the preparation was mental. Not only before going but throughout the expedition.

I visualized going to bear territory. It was the hardest thing to bare, because they are the biggest risk that the area has. The only way out of the terror I had, was to feel at one with the territory. So that the bears do not see me as a threat or as a curiosity (the curiosity of bears, sometimes ends badly).

I was constantly repeating it to myself, until I believed it and then I felt it. I could attenuate the terror, although the fear was always there to remember that you have to be attentive.

What do you like most? And what else have you learned?

The place and the people I have met with during the trip. We have the ability to change many situations as difficult as they may be.

Finally, what is your next objective or career goal?

Rest, assimilate, enjoy being here, from my social and family environment, and share part of what I have lived there.

I don't have a climbing objective in mind yet. This type of activity is not something that can be done on a regular basis, because they require a specific moment in which one feels in physical conditions but especially mental condition to do. Solo activities need more of these conditions than group activities.

If you already had a goal in mind, which is not the case, I would not talk about it because they are very personal experiences which from my point of view are not to share until you have done, successful or not.

I thank you that you have always respected him.

Finally, thank you for accepting to do this interview and for the time you have dedicated to answering these questions.

Thank you!

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