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Vidal's Twenty Five Days Alone
What motivated you to do this climb by yourself? Sometimes I feel like I want to go alone. When I saw the picture of the wall I had this feeling. I don't know where it comes from, but once I have it, I try to follow it.
Where did you get the motivation to stay on the wall after weeks of continuing bad weather and dwindling supplies? No idea.
Describe the way you felt when you decided to forego a purist style in favor of continuing up the wall and started drilling bat holes. Bad, but basically sad, because until that moment the whole expedition had another style; to go to an unknown area, during monsoon summer, with public transportation, no phone or internet, not knowing the approach (and it was a hard one), a solo ascent... The bat hooks were something that did not go with the rest.
What past experiences prepared you for the mental tenacity required to stick with the climb? All of them.
What kinds of things did you do to keep yourself from going crazy while hanging from the wall? When climbing I was very focused on the climbing because it was demanding, so my head was busy during the day. No time to get crazy. At the portaledge I had a book and music.
Talk a little about your style of traveling without the portable means of communication that so many climbers rely on today. For me it's a personal decision. It's a way to feel the commitment with the activity. I like solo ascents because I want to be alone, to feel the loneliness (the good one) and if I have a phone with me, I will not have this feeling with the same intensity.
How did you feel at the end of the trip? I felt very tired and strange. Strange because during the whole trip and ascent everything was uncertain until the last second; traveling to the valley, the approach, the base camps, the wall, the line, the gear, the food, the weather, the rappels, the descent... There were so many uncertain things that it was not easy to deal with them. And all decisions were difficult to make, it was very tiring.
Read about another of Vidal's solo walls in Alpinist 23, Life is Lilac
The line of Vidal's ascent. [Photo] Marc Martin
Vidal hauling gear to the base of the wall. [Photo] Silvia Vidal