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[TR] Brasil - Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar 11/9/2011

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Trip: Brasil - Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar


Date: 11/9/2011


Trip Report:

ok, i'm totally not the one to complain about november weather. i actually like the pacific northwet.


but the past few weeks in brasil, with its 82F days/75F nights, 5:30 sunrise/19:40 sunset, oh and samba clubs, awesome food, lack of open container laws, beaches and swimming in the warm atlantic ocean, super friendly folk... I haven’t exactly been fantasizing about my daily bike commute in november rain.


but i digress. there's some awesome climbing here!


This was primarily a family-visiting trip, but cbcbd and i climbed two routes on Rio’s two main geo landmarks: Corcovado mountain and Pão de Açucar. The granite monoliths are generally slab, though the rock has such large quartz crystals in places that it feels more like crimpy face climbing. The bolting is normal for slabs (attention-getting, though thoughtfully placed), and we felt that the rating was fair.


watch out for jaka fruits and don't feed the monkey





Corcovado’s K2 route runs the east side of the mountain. The rating is 4o V, E2, D1, 150m:

- 4o – overall grade of all pitches is 5.8

- IVsup – hardest move on route is 5.8-5.9 (depending on the source)

- E2 – protection rating. Ranges from “well protected” E1 to “don’t fall” E8.

- D1 – duration rating, this one is estimated at 2-3 hours.

- 150m – length

Aside from climbing, the summit can be reached either by a cog-rail train or a charter van. We read that to descend we could catch the train for free, but more on that later…




cbcbd’s aunt and cousin kindly dropped us off that morning at the van stop, and we approached the base of the route by doing a 15 min walk on paved road followed by a 20-minute jungle bushwhack.








As a side note, we climbed in the morning, but the route is best climbed in the afternoon. It gets pretty baking in the morning, and starts to go into the shade around 11 – 11:30.

Here’s the topo we got online:



not your average on-route vegetation



P1 (5.9) starts out strong by following a corner and then traversing left.






lizard. i didn't want to know what other exotic wildlife was in those cracks



At the start of the 2nd pitch, tour helicopters (up to 4 at once!) started flying about and hovering over us and the peak, making themselves a constant presence for the next 2 hours.





It finished on a vegetated shelf.



P3 starts in a schist crack and follows a a 5.7ish half-dirty traverse that goes above and around a lot of cactus plants.





It would suck to fall. Incidentally it is called the “Palavrão” pitch, or “swear”. I made sure to keep true to its namesake.




the views were awesome



The final pitch is a short, bouldery 5.9 that finishes near the viewing platform.


quartz-studded rock



A quick scramble up, and we hopped the fence, surprising the gang of tourists and drawing confused stares. Yeah, it felt pretty cool to be the odd balls.




So we snapped some photos, and got ready to descend. Unfortunately, it turned out that the trip down is “free” only if you bought the ticket for the trip up. And we didn’t bring enough cash with us! after about an hour of trying to figure out how to get down from the mountain, an awesome climber/park ranger lady named Ester came to our rescue, told the ticket checkers that we were her friends from the alpinism club of rio, and scored us a free ride down. So awesome!


Then we went to the beach. For a week. We rode horses at the family farm. We sailed.

I <3 Brasil.






Pão de Açucar (Sugar loaf) has a huge number of routes on it. We did the classic linkup of 2-pitch Via dos Italianos (Italian route) with 1 pitch of variation of Darcy Ribeiro, and finishing on top 3 pitches of Secundo Costa Neto – 5o V E1 D2 270m (II, 5.9, PG). alternatively, one can take the via ferrata directly to the top after finishing the Italian route.



Left home at 5:30 and approached route by walking to the interurban trail Pista Cláudio Coutinho, and taking the trail to Pão de Açucar-Morro da Urca col.





We were climbing at 6:30.

The first two pitches constituted the crux, 50 m each.








Then followed a short and not-so-5.6 traverse pitch.




I started my lead block with another traverse pitch.

Then linked up two 5.7 pitches into one awesome 60 m rope stretcher. Lots of large crystals and perfectly spaced edges on tiger-patterned rock.. This was my favorite pitch of the route!







The anchor was among some really spiky cactus plants, followed by a short but very vegetated traverse.




The last pitch switched character and started as friction fest on black slab, followed by a slimy, mossy fist crack, and finishing on a slightly overhanging schist shelf.



The topout under the viewing platform was hard to beat!



We finished the route like all good routes should be finished – with a pair of caipirinhas from the summit bar. The bartender totally hooked us up, they were legit!



The gondola ride to Morro da Urca is free, but we couldn’t take our drinks along with us. we chugged and refueled at the next stop (i went for a kiwi on round 2). Hiked down the mountain with our beverages in hand – good times!




y'all should totally go!!


Gear Notes:

cachaça, bikini, sunscreen


Approach Notes:

walk in your flip-flops to approach, often via a beach

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OK,OK,so D&V! now i know the reason for repeat direct hits to your voicemail...absolutely stunning and fun TR as always, you guys truly are living it..2gether, awesome...definitly not a F.B.A this time (wink) though i see you cant climb anything w/o that shoestring W. hiske T. ango F. oxtrot.!!!

are the drinks spiked? now its time to climb cold stuff,when n where?



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thanks, guys!


Doesn't look like there were many other climbers?

we were alone on both routes, though when we were taking the gondola down from PdA, we saw three parties on the face we just climbed! it was an overcast day, but usually it gets pretty baking after early morning, and that was one of the reasons we got going on it before 7.


Awesome!!! I was born in Sao Paulo but left at age 5 & haven't been back. A visit for beaches & cragging is in order!

wow, paulista! i agree, it might be time for a visit. this was my first time in south america, but cbcbd was born and raised in brasil. i think november is a great time to go: just as it's getting über-crappy up here, things are heading toward summer down there. not overly hot yet, too.


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that's funny - i totally wouldn't have gotten the reference :) thanks for the educational video, Z.


no, jaws wasn't in attendance. no one was getting killed on the summit... just lots of very tanned, happy people enjoying the view and the full bar.


man, the seattle weather this past week has had me reminiscing about rio...

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