Go back to Brazil.
Go back to Dedo de Deus.
Agulha do Diabo.
An early afternoon pick up the next day and the same drive back up to Serra dos Orgaos National Park. This time the full crew came along: Duda, Didi, Adilio and Igor. After a leisurely lunch in the town of Teresopolis, we were finally hiking a well graded but endlessly switch-backed, 12 km trail up to a mountain refuge which would be our launching pad for the following day’s climb. It was recommended that we bring all of our own drinking water for the two days and so our packs were not light. We all reached the hut after dark and found it to be quite cozy, comfortable and with a hot, prepaid shower. The guys cooked up a very large, two course meal consisting of some excellent pizzas and a good pasta.
A 4:30am wake up and a 6:30am departure from the hut – yeah, the breakfast was a full spread affair as well. Then it was back down the approach trail for some 20 minutes, followed by a slick climbers’ path down into then up out of a valley. A few snapshots of the amazing looking Agulha do Diabo (Devil’s Needle) from a ridgetop viewpoint followed by another steep and very slick descent down a drainage followed by a steep and very, very slick climb up to a shoulder of the Agulha.
The route itself consisted of about 8 pitches of climbing with a couple of short sections of hiking thrown in. It was really its upper half that was classic – lots of chimneys of varying difficulty and degrees of runout. Once out of the final (exciting) chimney, we had a pitch of fixed steel cable yarding (not sure why) that put us on the relatively small summit. For a route that corkscrews its way to the summit, the descent proved to be straightforward via a series of quick, single rope raps. Then we had to retrace most of our approach from morning and made it back to the main trail before the headlamps came out. We were back in Teresopolis later that evening driving around and looking for a place sufficiently blue collar that would take in 6 very dirty climbers for dinner. Back in Rio later that night thanks to Duda’s enthusiastic driving.
Curbside packing session (May 2019).
Igor and Shirley in the fully packed Fiat on our way back to Serra dos Orgaos National Park (May 2019).
One final pick up before we leave Rio: Didi squeezing in (May 2019).
Stopping at a nice roadside overlook to take in the views of Dedo de Deus (that we had climbed the previous day; May 2019).
Dedo de Deus from the overlook (May 2019).
Much of the East Face route is visible here (May 2019).
Duda showing off his acrobatic skills (May 2019).
Looking for a lunch place in Teresopolis before we start the approach hike (May 2019).
More Teresopolis (May 2019).
Final prep at the trailhead inside the National Park (May 2019).
Waiting for our companions at the trailhead while they drop off the car at a lower parking lot (May 2019).
Early on the approach hike. We were carrying water for 2 days and so our packs were not the lightest (May 2019).
Some micro scenery from the hike (May 2019).
Views towards the Tres Picos (May 2019).
Tres Picos formations. Pico Maior (which we’d climb three days later) is at dead center with the Capacete (flat topped formation) to its left (May 2019).
Pico Maior (at center). This is the side with our rappel line – down the slanting “dihedral” and then through the obvious notch on the left (May 2019).
Pretty flora of the Serra dos Orgaos National Park (May 2019).
Sunset views of Teresopolis and Tres Picos from the hike up to the climbers’ refuge (May 2019).
More sunset views from the trail (May 2019).
A mini break some 20 minutes from the hut (May 2019).
Some kind of a fox we saw next to the climbers’ hut (May 2019).
At the climbers’ refuge. We prepaid for and got to enjoy a hot shower. Pretty posh!!
Our “enablers” in action: cooking up the first course consisting of some pretty excellent pizzas (May 2019).
Duda, Igor and the pizzas (May 2019).
Big breakfast including some left-over pasta from the night before (May 2019).
The climbers’ hut in the morning as we’re about to depart for our climb (May 2019).
Along the approach hike (May 2019).
On the climbers’ path (May 2019).
Preparing to drop down into a valley (May 2019).
Shirley and Igor. This initial portion has a decent boot path and is not particularly unpleasant (May 2019).
First look at the spectacular Agulha do Diabo from an overlook we passed on the approach (May 2019).
A close-up of the summit block. The horizontal OW traverse and the flake chimney of pitches 8 and 9 are visible on the left (May 2019).
Beyond the overlook, the approach gets more challenging. First down steep and wet slabs and roots and then up (May 2019).
More jungle approach scenery (May 2019).
Occasional views of the Agulha do Diabo from the jungly final approach section (May 2019).
Final section of the approach. A steep gully to the shoulder of the Needle. Wet, moss-covered slabs (May 2019).
Right before the start of the route, there’s this little chimney you have to climb and tunnel through (May 2019).
Shirley emerging on the other side (May 2019).
Leading pitch 1 behind the trio of our companions (May 2019).
Shirley emerging from the jungle on pitch 1 of the Normal Route (May 2019).
Pitch 2 has a touch of bushwhacking at the end. That’s Shirley about to join me at belay (May 2019).
Shirley nearing the end of the first chimney. This is pitch 5 per topo (May 2019).
View from the chimney belay (May 2019).
Shirley on the final squeeze move at the end of pitch 5. Click photo for a quick video (May 2019).
Shirley emerging from the lower chimney system at the end of pitch 7 (May 2019).
This is pitch 8 of the Normal Route. It’s called “Lance do Cavalinho” – better climbers tackle it via a hand traverse but the slab underneath is undercut so it’s essentially a campus traverse. Wankers like me do it as a horizontal off-width (May 2018).
More pitch 8 fun (May 2019).
At the end of the short traverse you mantle up onto a horn and then enter a tight squeeze chimney. Looking back at Shirley before entering the chimney (May 2019).
Shirley about to enjoy the squeeze chimney at the end of the 8th pitch. Click photo for a quick video (May 2019).
View up (May 2019).
Arriving at the 8th (body) belay (May 2019).
Looking back down at Shirley from the lead of the 9th pitch (May 2019).
Stunning views from high on the route (May 2019).
Shirley enjoying the pitch 9 chimney (May 2019).
Making progress. Click photo for a quick video (May 2019).
Agulha do Diabo. Pitch 9 of Normal Route (May 2019).
Views (May 2019).
You pop out of the chimney and have one more move of slab to pull before the belay (May 2019).
Climbing the final pitch of the Normal Route. This one has an old via ferrata cable which we used (May 2019).
Looking towards Teresopolis (May 2019).
Higher on the same pitch – almost there (May 2019).
Stunning views from high on the route (May 2019).
Topping out (and snapping a photo; May 2019).
Looking back at Shirley from the “via ferrata” cable of the final pitch (May 2019).
Summit views (May 2019).
Shirley on the summit of Agulha do Diabo (May 2019).
Joining Adilio, Didi, and Igor on the summit (May 2019).
Didi signing the register for his team (May 2019).
Signing the summit register for us (May 2019).
One more looksee from the summit. Check out that balanced rock (May 2019).
Some tourists at the overlook we had visited on the approach. Wish we could get our paws on their photos of us on the summit (May 2019).
Starting the descent off the summit (May 2019).
Shirley rapping down (2nd rappel) the outside of the chimney (May 2019).
Shirley on descent, a series of single rope raps and some down scrambling (May 2019).
Shirley and the guys at the base of the final rappel (May 2019).
Shirley on the initial and very slick portion of the descent (below the raps; May 2019).
Hiking through the dense shrubbery (May 2019).
Pretty flora of Serra dos Orgaos (May 2019).
Hike down a gully is followed by a hike up a gully (May 2019).
Beautiful Brazil (May 2019).
Almost back at the notch then more down followed by more up. Click photo for a video (May 2019).
Looking toward beer, I mean Teresopolis, on descent (May 2019).
Some jungle wildlife that comes out after dark (May 2019).
Shirley and Adilio almost back at the car after a long, satisfying day in the hills (May 2019).
Go to Rio de Janeiro.
Go back to Brazil.