|The super slippery slab|
We arrived around 11PM after a 17 hour drive day at the huge empty campground, deserted except for a single tent . We quickly shifted camp the next morning to a shaded corner out of the hot Brazilian sun which beat down on us unrelentingly. Little did we know that the approaching holid ay weekend would turn our lonely campground into a packed jungle of noisy locals with their huge car sound systems blaring at 3 in the morning.
|Bob on the impossible slab route.|
Cipo is a collection of small limestone crags scattered around a tourist town in the thick Brazilian rainforest. It’s hot and sweaty work to find the crags, but the climbing is well worth the effort, with well-bolted sports routes of excellent quality and variety from technical slabs to steep juggy overhanging walls.
|Damian runs up the slab|
The nearest crag to the campground was once a quarry where the local rock was turned into buildings, fountains or bathroom fittings. One particular slab had been cut slippery smooth with what looked like a huge bandsaw. A 6mm thick cable had been used to cut a sloping slab 30 metres high. This wall was almost featureless and, with a covering of dry dusty moss, was impossible to stand on.
Bob, Naomi, Ken, Damian and I spent the day playing around on the slab, trying to make any progress up the harder routes. We managed to climb the easiest route by aiding off two nut keys - placing the first 5mm of the hooked tip into a shallow hole and then standing on slings attached to the keys. I only managed to climb the easiest climb by using my cowboy skills to lasso the bolts with slings to protect some tricky moves. The most difficult climb proved impossible to us all. Bob and Damian managed the best progress by simply taking a long run up and then sprinting up the wall.
Much fun was had on this wall where most of the rock has ended up in the swish bathrooms of well-appointed apartments in Rio, 400km to the south.
Meanwhile, 400 km south, in a well-appointed apartment with a swish bathroom in Rio, I was on a 10 day beachy holiday with my sister, Katrina, having left the truck to meet up with her.
|Ipanema Beach, Rio|
While Martin was playing on the rocks, I was rocking on la playa. Trine and I spent hours alternating between bobbing about in the warm water, and sitting on Ipanema Beach while vendors walked past selling everything under the sun. Literally under the sun. We had perfect sunny beachy weather.
|CocoCabana Beach, Rio|
We did the obligatory tourist things - cable car to Sugarloaf for stunning views of Rio by day, staying to see the sun set and the lights twinkle on at night; cog train up through lush rainforest to see the Cristo Redentor and get a 360 degree, messiah's-eye view of Rio; single car tram up the steep winding cobbled streets of Santa Theresa with locals hanging off the caboose. But every morning started with a swim at the beach, and many nights ended with a stroll along the beachside paths along Ipanema and Copacabana Beach, stopping at one of the kiosks to sip a caipirinha and enjoy the balmy summery evenings by the beach. It was perfect.