Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Three Peaks Challenge

One week ago a group of twenty-six Gringos and Cariocas attempted to climb three mountains in less than a day. I remember feeling pretty amped that morning, but nothing prepared me for the amazing experience that laid ahead. 

We tackled Pedro da Gavea first, the most challenging trail that included a bit of mountain scaling towards the peak. We started our hike at 8:30am and it was warm and humid, but luckily the dense rainforest saved us from direct sunlight. Our hike began with a steep incline of stairs made from the ground and roots of trees. As we progressed further up, walking up stairs turned to rock climbing. It was so much fun because you had to think about how to get yourself up, where to put your feet and make sure you had a firm grip. On some parts we needed to help pull each other up and use metal ropes put in place by the park.

As we approached the peak we finally hit clearings with the most amazing views. The dense forest made it hard to tell how far up we were moving so this felt like a "aha, wow" moment.

By now we could see the peak and I started to mentally prepare myself for the climb. The wall itself is about 3 stories high and pretty smooth with narrow cracks and small grooves for climbing. We arranged for two professional guides to help us climb and organize safety ropes and harnesses. Most of the men were crazy enough to climb on their own including Hub, which was terrifying to watch. I'm sure to a professional mountain climber this was nothing, but if my Hub slipped he had a split second to grab that safety rope or tumble off the edge! Surprisingly I wasn't afraid to scale and I felt secure with my harness. I had to climb the wall like everyone else finding little places to put my hands and feet while a guy at top tugged me up.

Once up I realized my worst fear, a tiny little trail approximately 1 1/2 feet wide on the ledge of the mountain. This freaked me out and I just kept imagining myself tripping and rolling off the edge.

Finally the trailed turned inwards into a forest and TA DA! We walked into a prairie of bushes, flowers, bugs and overlooking all of Rio. I can't describe the elation of getting off that trail and standing on top of mountain!  

And what goes up, must come down. 

I was pretty scared of abseiling down and having to wait my turn whilst perched on a cliff only wreaked havoc on my nerves. As I went down I kept reminding myself to lean into my butt or risk crashing face first into the side of a mountain. The hike back down was tiring and felt never ending, but we bumped into a fierce little snake and a scary spider which was cool.

We headed towards our second mountain Dois Irmaos and got to hike through this beautiful and colorful favela called Vidigal. Unfortunately our first hike took longer than expected and we were rushed off to our final peak.

Looking up at Dois Irmaos

Top of Vidigal

We reached Corcovado Mountain at 5:30pm and we had to reach the top before the park closed at 7pm. The Corcovado trail was similar to Pedro da Gavea and the first half was an intense uphill battle of stairs. Hub and I were exhausted and just as we thought the trail was leveling out, we reach a wall of rock climbing.

Looking up at Corcovado

Towards the end we just went for it and made it with just 10 minutes till park closing. 

This was an awesome adventure and I really surprised myself! I enjoyed every minute of it and it was so rewarding. I couldn't have made it through without Hub and all my friends and family who supported and sponsored me so thank you. 

I hope I've inspired you guys to join us next year for SCWC Three Peaks Challenge 2014. Email

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