Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rapel no Itacolomi

07 April 2012

Today I went on a rappelling excursion with UP Aventuras.  It was a tougher hike and a much higher rappel than the one I did before.  The 360-degree view from the top of the rock was fantastic.

We parked in front of this chicken farm.  Heaven knows what the owners think of all this, but they were around the side of the house covertly watching us as we set off.
Here was quite possibly the worlds ugliest rooster.  




 We are going to rappel down the rock face at upper left.


But first, in order to get there, we have to climb through a couple of barbed wire fences and cross fields of cow patties.





 At least they were PRETTY fields full of cow patties... and the cows were on the other side of the fence.


 Into the woods we go!
The trail gets steeper...


 And yes, so steep that we had to cling to roots to climb up.
 Pausing halfway up for a little rappel lesson.
 This is what we are going to come down... about 50m of rock face.
 There are monkeys in the forest here and several were carved into the rock, along with various other graffiti. I'm a monkey face!

 Are we there yet???
On top of the world!
In true gaúcho style, they were already drinking chimarrão when I reached the top of the rock.




For perspective, just over my head is the farm where we left the cars.

 There was even a palm tree on top of this rock!
What an incredible view from the top (click on the picture to see it larger).
 There is the farm with the cars directly above my right foot.
 Going down!
 This rock face was steep enough that you couldn't see past the rim, making the first steps really a "leap of faith".

 There were some vultures flying around, one of which flew right past when I was rappelling down the rock.  This feather is so beautiful in its miniscule detail!
 There were a lot of howler monkeys below, when we arrived they were making a ton of noise.  It was a strange low growly sound, more like a herd of pigs than monkeys.  The camera mic didn't pick up the low frequency sound very well, but you can faintly hear it as an undertone in this video.
video

In this photo the two brown things among the leaves near the center of the photo are monkeys. Can you find them?
My turn to go down...
And the video. Can you believe I actually DID this???
video
Me from below. Does this harness make my butt look big? Hahaha!

The owners of UP Aventuras.

 The UP Aventuras Weight Loss Program...eeek!
Annnnd communing with nature in the form of an ant about 3cm long way too close to my head... argh!!!
Climbing back down the slippery, steep, leaf-covered trail afterward was probably more difficult than the rappel down the rock face. We alternated between going backward clinging to roots and sliding on our butts, very dignified.
video
I found several shells of the giant land snails in the pasture near the base of the hill.  Oh no, poor Gary!!!
Our exhausted but very happy group at the base of the hill.
Sunset, and the end of another awesome adventure! 

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