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.