Desperate to get out of New York, out of the States, off the continent, I signed up for a climbing expedition called Hot Rock. None of my friends or climbing partners had ever heard of it. Well, okay, one friend knew a guy who talked to another guy … you get the drift. The only shred of legitimacy I could hold on to came from the rapid-fire email responses in the Queen’s English from the owner. Some bloke named Duncan that wasn’t actually going on the expedition.
But I had faith.
A summery day in Quito, Ecuador – launch day – I climbed a creaking, narrow staircase to a rooftop bar and found myself immediately embraced by fellow Hot Rockers. These climbers, hailing from all over the world, turned out to be the most adventurous, crazy, and inspiring climbers I have ever met. We trundled through South America on a 14-ton truck, climbing at every crag and making merry at every campsite and detour along the way.
Here are the rules to know when when embarking on a Hot Rocks adventure: