Climbing the classic route... Via dos Italianos

One of the *must do* climbs in Rio is Via dos Italianos...
a moderate line that climbs the west face of Sugarloaf mtn, straight under the gondola. Our plan was to climb later in the day so we could get to the top right at sunset. Once again, Marcelo gave me all the leads for the onsight. The climbing is exposed and amazing quality rock with great views...
We climbed the 1st 100 meters of the route to a good ledge where the sun was starting to set behind the mountains. From this part on, a cable (via Ferrata) can be climb to the top. So Marcelo and I waited for the sun to set then continued the last 180 meters in the dark using the cable. It was extremely crowed on top of Sugarloaf. While sipping on a cold beer, 3 guys approached us asking if we had just climbed the face of Sugarloaf?? We explained to them the climb we did... when one of them told me... " Oh! I thought it was garbage on the wall!!, I didn't know people could climb up here!" I thought I saw you guys! "

Yap... we were just another pile of garbage hanging out! Got to love the creative minds of none climbers!
well... another great climb and beautiful day in Rio...

Here I am going for second pitch.

Marcelo coming up pitch one.

Chilling half way up. Another beautiful sunset over Rio.

Marcelo climbing the last cable pitch of CEPI. (via Ferrata)

We hung out at the top under this little cave over the lights of Rio.

Downtown lights of Rio.

The city is alive!

Bouldering session in Uruca.

Hundreds of beautiful granite boulders are scattered at the base of Sugarloaf. So Marcelo and I went for a late afternoon session. I felt like I was back in Squamish! Similar type of boulders in a lush green forest.

some V4 problem ending with a *dino*

Crazy Marcelo move.

cruising along the coast looking for boulders.

Last problem of the day.. flip flop style...

another beach day in paradise...

Another clear sky day was on the forecast for Rio de Janeiro. So the plan for today, " Let's go sailing or climbing or beach? "
I met Marcelo threw couch surfing, a website designed for travelers to meet other travelers or locals you can stay with.
Marcelo's profile is " Velas ao vento " with a photo of a sail... (sailing with the wind). I thought we could get along with some
good adventures and show me around Rio. Profile also mentioned climbing, so even better...

I spent my first week in Rio staying at a crappy hostel ... not mentioning names... but we had a curfew, no talking after 10 pm in the little alley way where 7 hostels are crammed in. The vibe is cool, until 10 pm! " Porfavor!!!!" you must leave outside!
no place to hang out, great location near the beach in Ipanema! but not the best hostel comfort I was looking for. Marcelo couldn't host me since his mother was staying with him for a few weeks until one day he came by telling me his mom had left.
So I moved in...
My new location wasn't glamourous Ipanema beach... Leme, not as posh as neighboring beach Copacabana, it is more quiet, as many gorgeous bodies, surf, same sand... same ocean... Marcelo has the perfect location apartment. In less then 10 minutes, we ride the my bike to the nearest quality crags, or we walk down one block to the surf.
Marcelo grew up here in Leme, so he knows the spots, he knows when the surf is good and knows the classic good climbs. From sailing with * Obelix* his 27 foot sailboat, to climbing granite towers around the city of Rio, surfing his front yard, or learning the best techniques to make Caipirinhas..- the Brazilian cocktail! It's great to have met a local that enjoys his local grounds at 100%

Time has gone by without even noticing I have been in Rio a month now. Everyday, a new climb, a good swell, or just another day at the beach seem to fill in the clock. Next thing you know, it's Caipirinha hour... the sun sets over the mountains lost behind the high rise apartments that front row the entire beach, the city turns into a glow light puzzle between granite towers, Christo is light up above Corcovado. The music begins and samba swings...
I've seem to forget that I'm riding a motorcycle and supposed to be on an adventure... instead I've sank in the Cariocas lifestyle, As long as I keep doing my dishes, Marcelo seems to have many adventure plans ahead...what mountain to climb next? where to surf our next waves? what project climb you want to work on? or what boulder problem there is to solve...
or maybe just another hike on the back side of sugarloaf just to go see the sunset or why not soak in some sun on one the too many beaches around. For now, it's a day by day rhythm, shooting plenty
of good images, soaking in plenty of sunshine, organizing a mess of thousands of digital images and perfecting my Caipirinha skills.
Rio ... I'll be here a little longer .... " we still haven't done the crossing of the eyes!!" Marcelo said... just another classic climb!

Waves, sun and sand in a city...

oh yes... another beach beauty.

Marcelo catching a few waves.

Coconut water anyone? The most popular beach drink.

This is wet!?!

Oh lala... i've got to come shower more often!

How's my tan line?

Here they take beach soccer seriously. the game is called *altinho* The idea is to keep the ball in the air, using any part of the body.

mmm.. yap, photo says it all... fun fun in the sun...

Rock climbing Morro do Corcovado via K2... a classic

Mount Corcovado is Rio’s main attraction and one of the seven wonders of world. With 710 m (2,329 ft) above see level, this mountain supports the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The 38 meter (125 ft) high statue weighs 1,145 tons (1,262 net tons). It was constructed between 1922 and 1931 considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world.
The way to get up there to see the statue and the incredible views of Rio is by taking a little train ( one of the oldest in Brazil!) then a bus to the top where you walk 222 steps to the statue. - And pay lots of money!!! ($30) - out of my budget ...
My friend Marcelo and I had better plans to get up there, by climbing a classic rock climbing route K2 on the south face of the Corcovado. After Marcelo got home from work, we packed our climbing gear and jumped on my motorbike to get to the base parking lot. ( avoiding the little train ride ) we then walked up the road to get to the trail head. Endless amount of busses were flying by us on the windy road
taking hundreds of people up. Half hour later, we were off the main road walking the deep forest bushwack to the base of our route. Even before climbing we had a killer view of Rio, the sugarloaf and crazy maze of Favelas scaling along the mountain sides.
Marcelo agreed to let me lead all the pitches for the onsight. At Brazilian grade 4sup ( 5.9 ) it wasn't hard climbing. The first pitch was a pure fun corner crack with a slabby finnish. The next couple of pitches were mostly slab friction climbing always with great views and exposure under your feet. The last pitch was the crux with a more technical short face climb and again incredible views and exposure.
We climbed the route in less then 2 hours. We sat on top of the climbed and enjoyed the views. It felt like we were in a war zone with helicopters flying constantly over Corcovado. (The more expensive way to see Rio and the statue - tourist pay over $100 to fly 6 minutes from Sugarloaf to Corcovado ) In Rio, rich people take private helicopters to work!! so helis here are a little overwhelming! With the price of fuel in this country, I can't understand why they have to fly so much and burn so much fuel! It's a sad thing to see...
It was now time to get to the top to see the sunset and start making our way down before dark. (walking down the dark long windy road) As I was walking up to the top, I came out of the forest and next thing I knew, hundreds of people were staring at me snapping photos of me with my climbing gear dangling on my harness and rope to my back like if I was an alien that just come out of another world.
I was shocked! Marcelo had warned me about coming to the top. I knew there would be people, but I didn't expect that many people and that many staring at me. I didn't know what to do so I just jumped over the cement wall and tried to get amongst the crowd. Now Marcelo came out of the trail and once again, flashes from cameras where flashing at him.
We got to the top at the exact moment when the sun was setting over the mountains. Our timing couldn't have been better, the full moon was also rising. I walked around the hundreds of people with the climbing rope tied to my back, people were still snapping photos of me and Christo. I think I could of put a hat on the floor and posed in front of Christo with my gear and make a few bucks!
I took a few photos, enjoyed the incredible view and then we started to make our way down the road... trying not to get smoked by a crazy bus driver coming up the hill without lights. Only one thing was on our minds now, to drink a nice cold beer and cheer over a great day of climbing in Rio....

First... lets find the trail!

Careful with the long green spiky things! they hurt...

Pitch one, awesome corner crack with a slabby finnish, runout, exposed and always with a killer view.

Posing at the crux!

my last protection... 30 feet down

Marcelo on the layback flake, 2nd last pitch.

Topping out the last pitch, again with a view, nice thin technical climbing to end the route.

The *crux* of the climb was getting threw the crowed!

Full moon rising over Rio.

Cristo over looking the world... Thank God for another beautiful day!

Sailing with Obelix

Ya ya.. will be nice! Let's go sailing man... bring some girls, some beers, ... , will be awesome out there!!!
Marcelo's famous last words... * Out there! *
Indeed it was a beautiful sunny day, so the plan was on, sailing Obelix- 27 foot sloop. Maria came to meet us with her 2 friends and also our friend Renata, a total crew of 6.
So we all met in Urca where Obelix is anchored.The girls brought a dozen beers. It was a hot day, so we went to get more...
We borrowed * Gringo's dingy * a local / Uruguayan fisherman to shuttle the girls and gear.
All aboard, sailed away with Obelix - no engine, so fully manual sailing ("roots style" Marcelo says...) -
Beer time... so we all had a beer, relaxing and story telling while cruising out of Guanabara Bay. " Lets go to this island" , pointing out an island not too far away at the horizon, but not in sailing speed distance.... far enough.
The compass was pointing south, the wind was a good 5 knots and it was time for a second round of beers...
It was amazing to see rio from the sea, major shipping cargos going in and out the bay, Sugarloaf mountain rising at the end of the peninsula, wrapped around by white sandy beaches, Morro do Corcovado with Statue of Christo overlooking the city and the colorful scattered favelas. Granite mountains growing out of rain forest jungle. It is truly an incredible landscape blend in with concrete.
As we got out more into open water, the swell got bigger, which meant the boat was *rocking* the island seemed not to be getting any closer, " At least an hour more," Marcelo told us. The drinking had turned into water shots, the taste for cold beer was vanishing, the sun was warm until without noticed, the clouds where accumulating over the mountains then it started to get chilly at sea. We decided to skip the island and start making our way back as it was also getting late. Marcelo thought it would be a good idea to put up the spinnaker sail to come back with more wind. So he and Maria went to work setting up the sail while I held the rudder and snap a few photos. The wind picked up in the spinnaker and made the job difficult to set up the spinnaker pole, meanwhile the boat is rocking on a good size swell, the girls are quietly sitting at the stern while Marcelo and I are fitting to fit the pole into place." ohhh, don't feel so good right now..." The wind is too strong, Marcelo tells me... " I'm feeling sea sick! " I'm really felling like shit" - Oh great I tell myself, not felling that much better in my stomach, my legs were getting a little jellowy. " Let's take this thing down!" so we decide to just take it down. Grab the front!!! grab the sail - don't let it fall in the water!! Marcelo is giving me the captain orders while I'm standing in front of the boat trying to not loose the sail or myself overboard pulling in the Spinnaker sail without letting fall in the water. I nearly eat shit, but made it. The wind stopped as the sail went down finally the boat rocking calmed down, we were back down wind making our way towards Rio.
By this time, everyone was very quiet, trying not to get the sea bug, Marcelo is hanging off the side of the boat looking a bit pale, while he expels his last beer and peanuts and here I am trying to keep it together, but after eating a few bite of dried raisins, it didn't take long for my body to reject them overboard and onto the back deck. The only 2 guys on board are puking on side of the boat. Maria is the only strong one to take captain control. The others are just sitting, hoping not to get the sea fever... but Renata... she was the only one eating peanuts and drinking beer! - Thinking in her head.. " whats wrong with you guys???"
Marcelo Loves sailing, but like many sailors... he also can get sea sick when the swell is big. As we got closer to Guanabara Bay, the city was already light up as the sun was long gone behind the thick clouds.
It never rained, even if it did look threatening, Marcelo was feeling better by now, especially after getting rid of his last 2 beers. We sat with Obelix for the next hour chilling in the bay, watching the city scene from water, Sugarloaf gondola going up and down, police sirens, horns, fire crackers (or gun shot!) Thinking how peaceful it was out there, out at sea.
Now we had plenty of beers to drink, but for some reason, no one wanted any??? actually - Renata did!
we missioned back to shore to test out our jelly legs and went straight for the food buffet down the road.
Some missions... just don't go well with beer.
So now, we have lots of beer left for when we get back ...
Out There...
Captain Marcelo, paddling the dingy to Obelix.

Morro do Corcovado and Cristo Redentor

Copacabana under water.

Maria - trying to set the spinnaker sail.

Military air show flying over Rio.

Approaching civilization...

Going back to flat land...