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Corcovado

May 11, 2010
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August 2009. One of my main goals while in Brazil was to climb in Rio de Janeiro.  I did some research and decided to climb the K2 route on Corcovado.  I hired a guide and met him at the base of Corcovado.  We took a bus about halfway up the mountain and Plinio, Gustavo, I hiked on an overgrown trail through the jungle.

We made it to the base of K2 and geared up.  Gustavo and I said goodbye to Plinio and planned to meet him at the top.  Gustavo led the first pitch and yelled to let me know that I was on-belay.  The climb starts in the jungle, and as I climbed above the trees I could see Copacabana, Ipanema, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The first pitch of the climb starts out in a 5.7 crack and moves out onto a face with some friction climbing.  The route traverses and by the end of the first pitch you are several hundred feet about the ground.  I made the mistake of staying in the crack for too long, and I suddenly noticed that Gustavo was about 30 feet directly to my left, and there was nothing but blank rock between us.  There was no more protection on the route, so if I fell here I was going to take a 30 foot pendulum swing, bouncing off the rock and into the void.  I tried to stay calm and pretend that I wasn’t scared as I downclimbed and got back on route.

Me at the first belay station, Rio de Janeiro below. Photograph by Gustavo.

Me belaying Gustavo on the second pitch. Photograph by Gustavo.

The next two pitches were fun and the view was incredible.   The rock was beautiful and gray and dropped straight in to a vibrant green jungle.  The city was white high-rise buildings surrounded by more colorful favelas which sat like vultures on the hills.  The city, trees, and rock were framed by the perfect blue of the ocean and the sky.  The scenery was intense in its beauty.

I led the last pitch.  I was scared and almost overwhelmed with the experience.  We were so high off the ground that helicopters were flying below us.  One helicopter actually hovered behind me and watched as I climbed.  I belayed Gustavo up and we packed our gear away.  We scrambled up the last 50 feet, jumped over the railing on to the viewing platform, and were greeted by Plinio and Jesus.

Plinio, Jesus, and me. Photograph by Gustavo.

The whole experience of climbing Corcovado was incredible.  When I think about how fun and beautiful that day was I am filled with gratitude.  Life is great.

The view from the top. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2010 10:58 pm

    So Sweet. Well done Jakob. Brazil sounded rad. So….the World Cup is there in 2014, if there world isn’t over by then, want to go?

    • May 31, 2010 3:46 pm

      I want to go even if the world IS over. That’s how bad I want to go. Pretty bad.

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