Last September, when Hurricane Maria ripped across Puerto Rico, the island was forced to recover from the unimaginable. Devastation was left in the wake of the storm’s torrential rainfall and sheer winds, leaving Puerto Ricans to rebuild with little or no access to electricity, clean drinking water, and fuel.
For local climbing guide Bryant Huffman, he never imagined that the recovery would never require his skills as a climber. After the storm had passed, Huffman quickly began clearing strewn trees blocking essential roadways. He grabbed his old climbing rope to aid the process, and instead of roping in for a multi-pitch, Huffman was tying knots to haul giant logs.
Bouldering skills even served useful when the streets were filled with water so contaminated it could cause infection if those on the island came into contact with it. The climbers traveled through the streets on kayaks performing rescue mission, scaling the sides of buildings to help evacuate local residents.
Huffman and his team of fellow climbers/arborists have yet to gain any sense of normalcy, and are still working full 12-hour days, six days a week clearing roadways. However, one thing that Maria hasn’t taken from Huffman or his team is their spirit, which is a testament to the resilience of those living in Puerto Rico in the wake of the brutal storm.