Go back to Brazil.
Go back to Rio de Janeiro.
Once again with the full crew, we left Rio in the early afternoon for the 3-ish hour drive to the Salinas region and the Tres Picos State Park. The plan was to sleep in an alpine refuge near the base of the Tres Picos. The drive ended with a 45 minute section of a steep and very rough dirt road. From there, we hoofed it – drinking water and all in tow – another 1 or 2 kilometers to the hut. The sight of the three principal formations, and especially the 700 meter east face of Pico Maior, was inspiring indeed.
Another large dinner and another huge breakfast and we were finally out the door at about 5:30am the next morning. A pretty easy, sub-hour hike brought us to the start of the Face Leste route on Pico Maior. We were climbing the opening slab pitches probably by 6:45 or so. The climbing was moderate – slabs with good friction – averaging 2 or 3 bolts per pitch. About 5 pitches up the terrain steepened and climbing became more of a thin edging affair with similar difficulty and protection opportunities. Terrain continued to steepen and mixed in some chimney pitches. A short bolt ladder on pitch 13 was followed by a few more spectacular face climbing pitches. We finally topped out on the spacious summit sometime before 2pm after 16 pitches of climbing and about an hour behind our friends. We spent some time walking around the summit, signing the summit register, and taking in the views: amazing tropical alpine vistas at mid-2000 meters above sea level. Pico Maior has no non-technical routes to the top and so a pretty complex descent involving double rope rappels is the only way off. Shirley and I went down first followed by the guys. We joined forces for the last few raps down a bushy gully and were back on hiking ground some half hour before darkness.
While the five of us were busy having fun, Duda had cooked up a nice dinner back at the hut and so we had a warm, home-cooked meal as soon as we got back. Pretty posh, especially if you include some beers that Adilio brought along for the long, night-time drive home. Yes, open alcohol containers in moving vehicles are perfectly legal in Brazil.
Another curbside packing session in Rio as we gather up the crew (May 2019).
We stopped for lunch just off the road and near to Dedo de Deus (May 2019).
The place had a decent selection of beer (May 2019).
And a nice waterfall 5 minutes way (May 2019).
An early view of the Tres Picos formations as we drive up a rough dirt road towards the climbers’ hut in the later afternoon (May 2019).
This was as far as the car would make it. From here we had about a kilometer (or was it a mile) of hiking (May 2019).
Tres Picos (May 2010).
Nearing the refugio (May 2019).
The cozy hut run by Mascarin, an old school climber and a nice guy (May 2019).
Shirley admiring an old, Brazilian made car (May 2019).
A pedal powered washing machine (May 2019).
Shirley studying up the topo in the fading light (May 2019).
The east face of Pico Maior de Friburgo (tall one on right) is about 700 meters tall and home to one of Brazil’s classic routes (May 2019).
Upstairs sleeping quarters in the hut (May 2019).
Hanging out in the cozy refuge (May 2019).
…while the guys cook up another huge, 2-course meal (May 2019).
Igor generously gave me one of their company’s t-shirts (May 2019).
Shirley letting the pizzas settle before the 2nd course: Igor’s very rich and tasty soup (May 2019).
The east faces in the predawn hours as we set off on the approach (May 2019).
Shirley on the roughly hour-long approach to the base of the east face (May 2019).
Almost there. Pico Maior is the big one. The East Face route starts up the slabs just right of the obvious vegetated gully near the bottom (May 2019).
Shirley on pitch 1 of the East Face (May 2019).
Shirley topping out on pitch 3 which we combined (with some simul) with pitch 2 (May 2019).
Views from low on the climb (May 2019).
Shirley starting the pitch 4 traverse (May 2019).
A close-up of the same pitch (May 2019).
Leading what I think is pitch 5 of the East Face (May 2019).
Higher on the same pitch. The going is not hard but you’re certainly not spending much time clipping bolts or placing gear (May 2019).
Shirley topping out on pitch 6 (May 2019).
Views out of the lower chimney (May 2019).
Didi and Igor seconding the lower chimney (pitch 9) ahead of us (May 2019).
Shirley at the belay atop pitch 8 and the mouth of the lower chimney (May 2019).
Looking at Igor and Didi at the pitch 9 belay (May 2019).
Looking at a team on the next door Decadence avec Elegance route (7a+). We’d end up chatting with the guys on the summit (Bruno and I don’t recall the other climber’s name; May 2019).
Some views from high on the route (May 2019).
Shirley exiting the lower chimney via a steep, horizontal traverse on pitch 9 (May 2019).
Shirley enjoying the traverse (May 2019).
Starting the lead of pitch 10 – probably the crux if you aid the bolt ladder on pitch 13. The guys are at a hanging belay one pitch above us (May 2019).
Shirley starting up pitch 10 (May 2019).
The pitch traverses left and then back right (May 2019).
Shirley arriving at the hanging belay (May 2019).
Views of the valley we drove up the day prior (May 2019).
Shirley low on pitch 11 (May 2019).
Nearing the top of the pitch (May 2019).
Shirley entering the upper, pitch 12, chimney (May 2019).
Almost done (May 2019).
Leading pitch 12 – a chimney to a short bolt ladder through a bulge (May 2019).
Looking back towards Shirley from the ladder of pitch 13 (May 2019).
Higher on the pitch 13 bolt ladder (May 2019).
Shirley topping out on the spacious ledge atop pitch 13 (May 2019).
Shirley arriving at the belay (May 2019).
Shirley starting up pitch 14 (May 2019).
Shirley higher on pitch 14 (May 2019).
The views from just below the summit (May 2019).
Arriving at the belay (May 2019).
Leading pitch 15 (May 2019).
Shirley topping out on pitch 16 – about 50 meters of hiking up to the summit plateau (May 2019).
Reunited on the summit; both with our friends and two guys from the route next door (May 2019).
Summit party (May 2019).
Staggering amount of climbable rock (May 2019).
Group shot on summit (May 2019).
A vulture (May 2019).
Doing the honors (May 2019).
Great rock indeed!
More summit views (May 2019).
Highly zoomed in shot of the Dedo de Deus from the summit of Pico Maior (May 2019).
Looking for the start of the rappel line (May 2019).
Shirley on the first (and long) rappel off the summit (May 2019).Pico Maior
A few double rope rappels deposit you into this vegetated gully system where more (single rope) raps and sections of scrambling are required (May 2019).
Views from the notch. Just enough light for one more rap and a short grassy bushwhack to reach the climbers’ trail (May 2019).
Shirley on the final rappel of the day. Click photo for a quick video (May 2019).
Pico Maior in the fading light. Click photo for a quick video (May 2019).
Pico Maior (left) and Capacete. Shirley and guys are hiking down to the climbers’ trail (May 2019).
Not only did Duda cook up a nice dinner for all of us back at the hut, he also bought some local craft beer from the famous Tres Picos climber (author of the local guidebook), Sergio Tartari (May 2019).
Adilio surprised us with some cold ones for the long drive home (never mind that it’s bud – it was cold and went down nicely). No such thing as open container laws in Brazil – another reason to love the place (May 2019).
Go to Pedra da Gavea.
Go back to Brazil.