We returned to Rio from Petropolis with the firm objective of climbing K2 (a 4 pitch climbing route) on Corcovado, the big hill with Christ at the top. We failed to get it done during carnival due to poor route info and then rain, but this time the forecast was good and we had bought the guide book so the chance of success was higher. We just needed to be first on the route as it was a Sunday and the route is a classic. It starts to get the shade (B: an important consideration as the midday high was 38 deg C) from about 2pm so we set out from the flat at about 11am, giving us time to get across town on the bus. The plan was then to walk rather than get the expensive tram or less expensive van. I hadn’t quite calculated how far the walk would be, it hadn’t looked that far….. Err it was a long way in the midday heat, but an hour and a half saw us past the park entrance and leaving the road into the jungle without having paid a bean.
The path through the jungle made me wish I hadn’t stuck with flipflops as there was loads of broken glass as well as the threat of poisonous critters. Still better than Barbara having to carry two pairs of boots in the sack on the route! We were indeed the first at the base of the route and as we started to gear up we heard other people arriving. We felt smug as a party of three arrived, we definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be behind them! We chatted to the others who were a nice bunch of guys a Canadian, an American and a Brazillian. I set off up the route having been given a bit of beta about the first pitch which was the crux at about E1 and even required the odd bit of trad gear to be placed! Tiny really enjoyed this pitch having decided that he should make a final appearance before leaving Brazil…..
Tiny was quickly in his comfort zone and really enjoying the climbing which continued to be technical and tenuous. The second pitch afforded some good photos ops too.
As Tiny started up pitch 2 a third party arrived at the bottom of the route behind the party of three, they’d definitely be needing head torches! Pitch 2 proved surprisingly tricky given the crux pitch was pitch 1 and it was a long pitch. However Tiny dispatched it with aplomb. Pitch 3 was a straight forward romp on big holds.
The sun was now staring to set, but we had just one pitch left so we were hopeful of getting to the top to watch it go down. However failing light and with the scramble at the end putting the top just out of reach of a single rope length meant by the time Barbara finished the final pitch Tiny and Barbara had missed sunset:-(
Barbara completed the final bit of scrambling to the top, she brought Tiny up and it was now dark. Barbara had exclaimed that the view was pretty awesome, but Tiny could not really have been fully prepared for the view that would greet him.
Not only was there the glory of Christo at the top, there was also a full moon that was illuminating the whole bay and Sugarloaf mountain. It was stunning!
Tiny and Barbara were on a real high having completed the route without needing head torches and the views made for a once in a lifetime experience. They were also able to get the last tram down for £12.5, well worth it to avoid a 2 hour walk in the dark which passed by a few favelas. Tiny decided it was time for him to retire for the evening and we made our way to the tram and were grinning for the whole way back to the flat.
We were flying back to Chile the next day so we finished off our day with a slap up dinner at the portuguese tapas place near the flat.