Issuu on Google+

Climbing

Climbing Costa Rica

Dustin Johnston-Jewell


2

Copyright 2011. Dustin Johnston-Jewell All Rights Reserved.


3

To all the climbers in Costa Rica who share a wonderful sport and passion in an amazing country.


4

In Case Of Emergency Ambulance service in Costa Rica is almost completely handled by the extremely talented and hardworking people at the Costa Rican Red Cross (Cruz Roja Costarricense). Unfortunately, they are also short on funds. It is amazing they accomplish what they do with what they have. A lack of funding can lead to longer wait times for emergency response services, phone operators, and support staff. All medical related 911 calls are forwarded to the Red Cross, and there is no guarantee that any of the operators you will talk to will speak any language other than Spanish. For this reason, it is best to have a Spanish-English dictionary on hand.

General Emergency (Ambulance, Fire, Police) 911 or 122 or 128

Costa Rican Red Cross (Emergency Services) Santa Ana 2282-8135

San José Regional Assistant 2235-1342

Escazú 2289-3021

Cartago 2551-0421

Aserrí 2230-3158, 2230-2846


Obligatory Climbing Warning Rock climbing is dangerous.

Please be advised that although climbing is one of the most enjoyable and exhilarating activities one can partake in the great outdoors, it does impose inherent risks. The nature of climbing requires that participants be well informed, trained and practiced in both technical equipment and knowledge before attempting any vertical movements up a rock face. Either educate yourself though a wide variety of resources and experience, or enlist the help of an experienced mentor, guide, partner, or friend, before attempting any of the routes or activities outlined in this guide. Ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that you are safe, and accountable for your actions. This warning is intended to protect all stakeholders in the climbing community.

Respect

Everywhere I have climbed I am always amazed at the amount of respect climbers display to the various stakeholders that make up our sport. Therefore it is a necessary redundancy to review these key points: Respect the land owners. They are kind enough to let you use their property for your enjoyment. Respect other climbers. Climbing is a community sport where the only opponent is the cruel crux that sends you airborne. Respect the environment. Above all, respect the environment. The plants, the earth and the rock itself were here long before you came into existence and will continue to exist long after you are gone. Sustain its survival by treating it properly. Pick up trash, even if it is not your own. Take at least one piece out on every trip. Do not kill flora or fauna, no matter how small or large. Live and climb as though you are organic with your environment.

5


6

Forward

In 2010 I moved to Costa Rica for a year, bringing with me my passion for climbing. While there I began to document my climbing adventures purely for enjoyment. Slowly, the documentation began to grow into what could be described as an incomplete guide to Costa Rican sport climbing. Sadly my year came to an end faster than I would have hoped and with my move back to Canada the passion project turned incomplete guide went onto the back burner. With a little encouragement from a friend, I have decided to dedicate a little more attention, give it a bow, and post it free on the Internet for you to use. Some quick disclaimer type words before you get out there on the rock. Firstly, this guide is incomplete. I have personally visited each location described here, however, I have not climbed every climb. I have done my best to represent what I know, with what I know. THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE MAY NOT BE 100% ACCURATE. I have done my absolute best with what information was available. Secondly, there are a number of talented, strong, dedicated, and impassioned climbers in Costa Rica that have built a community. These individuals are pioneers in climbing, starting with very little, and through hard work have inspired generations to come, cleaned and discovered walls, and bolted visionary routes, all while asking for nothing in return. They are the untold, unsung hero’s. Finally, this incomplete guide is as much yours as it is mine. Feel free to print it off, change the info, or contact me (dustinjj@gmail.com) if you should have anything to add, dispute, or comment on. I do ask that you not steal anything from it for profit, or use it in anyway that would allow you to gain personal ownership. It is for everyone, for free. Share it. Thanks and climb safe, Dustin Johnston-Jewell


Table Of Contents In Case Of Emergency ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 4 Obligatory Climbing Warning������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Respect ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 5 Forward ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6

introduction�����������������������������������������������������������������������13 About Costa Rica ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 14 Demographic and Culture��������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Climate������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 How To Use This Guide��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 The Overview �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17 What to Expect������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 18 How to Get There��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 18 Routes �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Climbing in Costa Rica ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20 Things to Remember ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20 Climbing Locations ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20 Costa Rica Bouldering������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20

Cachi������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������23 Overview ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 What to Expect���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 Introduction to Cachi��������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 The Wall����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 The Rock ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 Difficulty���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 25 Amenities/Camping����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 26 The River ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 26 Payment ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 26

7


8

Equipment��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 27 How to Get There������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 27 By Car�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 27 By Bus ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 28 Returning by Bus��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 30 Routes������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 31

RIO oro��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������49 Overview ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 50 What to Expect���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 50 Introduction to Rio Oro ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 50 The wall ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 50 The Rock ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 50 Difficulty���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 51 Eating��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 51 How to Get There������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 51 By Car�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 51 By Bus ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 52 Routes������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 54

El Coliseo ������������������������������������������������������������������������������59 Overview ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 What to Expect���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 Introduction to El Coliseo ������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 The wall ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 The Rock ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 Difficulty���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 Eating��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 60 How To Get There����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 61 By Car�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 61 By Bus ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 62 Approach ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 63


Routes������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 64

Pico Blanco ��������������������������������������������������������������������������67 Overview ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 What to Expect���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 Introduction to Pico Blanco����������������������������������������������������������������� 68 The Wall����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 The Rock ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 Difficulty���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 Eating��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 69 Camping ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 69 The Weather����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 69 How to Get There������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 69 By Car�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 69 By Bus ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 70 Approach ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 71 Routes������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 74

Forum����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������77 Overview ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 78 What to Expect���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 78 Introducition To Forum ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 78 The wall ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 78 The Rock ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 78 Difficulty���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79 Eating��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79 The River ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79 How to Get There������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 79 By Car�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79 By Bus ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 80 The Approach �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 82 Routes������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 88

9


10

The East Wall (Section B) ������������������������������������������������������������������� 88 The West Wall (Section A) ������������������������������������������������������������������ 95 The Waterfall (Section E)������������������������������������������������������������������� 101 The River Fork (Section D)��������������������������������������������������������������� 102

Piedra de aserri����������������������������������������������������������������105 Overview ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 106 What to Expect�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 106 Introduction to Piedra de Aserri �������������������������������������������������������� 106 The wall ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 106 The Rock ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 107 Difficulty���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 107 Eating������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 107 How to Get There���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 107 By Car������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 108 By Bus ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 108 Approach ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 108 Routes����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 111

Providencia������������������������������������������������������������������������117 Overview ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 118 What to Expect�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 118 Introduction to Providencia ��������������������������������������������������������������� 118 The wall ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 119 The Rock ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 119 Difficulty�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 119 Eating������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 119 Sleeping ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 119 How to Get There���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 120 By Car������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 120 By Bus ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 120 Routes����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 123


Wall 1: The Multipitch����������������������������������������������������������������������� 123 Wall 3: Enrique and Ana’s Rock�������������������������������������������������������� 124 Wall 4: Riverside Roped Climbs ������������������������������������������������������� 124 Wall 5: The South Rock��������������������������������������������������������������������� 125 Tree Climbing������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 126

Cerro De la Muerte��������������������������������������������������������129 Overview ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 130 What to Expect�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 130 Introduction to Cerro de la Muerte���������������������������������������������������� 130 The wall ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 130 Difficulty�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 131 Eating������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 131 The Weather��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 131 How to Get There���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 131 By Car������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 131 By Bus ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 132 Routes����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 133

Chirripo ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������135 Overview ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 What to Expect�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 Introduction to Chirripo��������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 The Wall��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 The Rock ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 Difficulty�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 Eating������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 136 Chirripo National Park ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 137 Altitude����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 137 How to Get There���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 137 By Car������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 137 By Bus ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 138

11


Routes����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 139

index����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������141 Thanks������������������������������������������������������������������������������������147 Credits������������������������������������������������������������������������������������149


Introduction

introduction


14

About Costa Rica Demographic and Culture

Historically, Costa Rica was colonized by Spain until its independence in 1821, and as a result Costa Ricans speak Spanish and have many traditional mores based in Spanish culture. Long since the governance of Spain, Costa Rica has developed into a world leader in terms of environmental stewardship and population happiness. According to the New Economics Foundation, in 2009 Costa Rica was the happiest country on the planet. In terms of environmental stewardship, Costa Rica’s government has made the promise to become carbon neutral by the year 2021. Costa Rica also has 23% protected landmass, the largest in the world - an important attribute as the country hosts the worlds greatest species density and diversity.

come as a surprise to know that tourism is Costa Rica’s largest economic driver. In fact, tourism creates more currency exchange than all agricultural crops (the largest three being coffee, pineapples and, bananas) and industry combined. Agriculture has long been replaced as the major provider for the Costa Rican people, and now holds only 8.6% of the GDP, while industry accounts for 31%, and tourism 60.4%. Actually, Costa Rica has the largest tourism industry in all of Central America, a fact that is closely related to the relatively good quality of life, infrastructure, and political stability. The tourism industry itself has developed way beyond the all-inclusive-lay-on-a-beach-for-aweek-holiday. The country has become a hotspot for adventure, hosting some of the worlds best white water paddling and rafting, heart-pounding high bungees, tropical rainforest canopy

Today, the small Central American country is best known as a tropical tourist paradise, and a friendly (outside of the big city, expect to say Hola or Buenos to nearly everyone you encounter) Latin country of approximately 4.5 million people. Bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica is renowned for its beautiful beaches, laid back culture, and amazing biodiversity. It may not

Introduction


tours, high suspension zip lines, waterfall rappelling, canyoning and caving, world class mountain biking, and hiking. Costa Rica’s exotic natural environment also allows foreigners and locals alike to get up close and personal with dense rainforest, majestic sea turtles and marine wildlife, a plethora of colourful birds and parrots, active volcanoes, coral reefs, monkeys, crocodiles and so much more. Beyond the tourist attractions, Costa Rica also hosts a wonderful culture, rich history, and a beautiful people.

National pride among Costa Ricans, or Ticos (feminine, Ticas), is strong, particularly regarding the economic prosperity, high literacy rates (97%), access to sanitation and clean water (92% and 97% respectively), stable political establishment, and relatively low crime rates, in comparison to other Central American countries. In general, Ticos consider themselves as peaceful (a fact that is enforced by the abolishment of the army in 1949) and fun loving. The saying ‘Pura Vida’ is regular in Tico conversation and literally translates to ‘Pure Life’, but embodies a wider lifestyle that provides a free-spiritedness and stress-

free ease of living. The high national pride is well deserved not only for the comparative standard of living, but also due to the quality of life. With national public health care (alongside a private system), a varied diet, a fairly stress-free lifestyle, and tropical climate, Ticos have a longer life expectancy than many ‘more developed’ nations such as the United States. The high quality of life that Ticos enjoy permits them to divulge into their natural environment, arts and culture. On most weekends, many will visit one of the countries stunning beaches, hike the mountains of the central valley around San José, see a movie in a local cinema, or go into the city to visit a museum, see a play, art gallery, or concert. To say the least, there is nothing short to do in Costa Rica, however there is one activity that will always stand above the rest as close to the Tico heart: fútbol. As with the rest of the Latin world, Costa Rica loves soccer. Almost every town is situated with three main landmarks in the center: a church, a major bus stop, and a soccer pitch. If you ever lack something to talk about with a local (unlikely),

Introduction

15


16

you can always pick up a local paper and find a solid section dedicated to the sport: catch up on the latest, and let the soccer talk fly. As Costa Rica looks into the future, many developments lay on its horizon. With almost one third of its population under the age of 15, the number of North American and European expats increasing every year, and increasing foreign investment, the demographic and economic landscape of the once mainly coffee producing country is undoubtedly going to go through some heavy metamorphosis. However, it is not only the future of Costa Rican society that appears promising but also the Tico climbing scene. It has been about a decade since individuals took to the vertical world in Costa Rica, and there is much potential for the expansion of routes, areas, and population interest. For more on this read the section Costa Rican Climbing History at the end of the Introductory Chapter.

Climate

Costa Rica has two seasons, rain and sun. For the most part, rainy season occurs between May and November with the rainiest months being October through November. The dry season, between December

and April, is the best time to visit the country, with the best months being from late December through February when the temperature is warm, but there is a constant breeze. Later into the dry season temperatures can become very hot as the northern winds die down. This is especially true on the coasts. As for climbing, the best time is late December through February. However, year round climbing can be obtained due to the fact that some crags, like Cachi, are overhanging, and therefore in a light rain remain dry. In the dry season it is best to search out climbing that is shaded, as the tropical sun can make the rock too hot to touch and midday humidity can create a sauna like atmosphere.

How To Use This Guide

I have attempted to make this guide as coherent and comprehensive for use as possible. That being said, there is climbing specific culture and terminologies that, if having no prior exposure to the sport, may be confusing. If this is the case please read the Obligatory Climbing Warning section in the beginning of the guide.

Introduction


All the information in this guide has been accumulated through a variety of sources including personal experience, consensus in the climbing community, and background research. For the most part, grades of routes are provided in the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) I have also indcluded the French grading system for routes, as to allow the reader a better understanding of the difficulties of each climb. Please note, that although for the most part the grades are generally agreed upon by the climbing community, climbing grades are subjective to a climbers strengths and weaknesses. Some climbs may be easier or harder depending on a multitude of factors, including height, weight, preferred climbing style and experience. If you find that any of the grades are soft or overly sandbagging then train more. Become stronger and try them again. As is the method for most climbing areas, the names of the climbs were chosen by the individuals that either bolted and/or made the first ascent of the climb. Each climbing area chapter of this guide is colour coded and is split into four sections: Overview, What to Expect, How to Get There, and Routes.

The Overview

This section displays a number of icons that apply to that area which assists determine the most important information about the particular area. Each icon has representation as follows:

Sport Climbing Indicates full protection by means of bolts and top anchors. Traditional Climbing The area hosts trad climbing.

T.R.

Top-Rope One or more routes require the use of top rope anchors.

Sun Exposure Sun can make the rock hot, and climbing unP.M. comfortable. If exposure is indicated as P.M., then best time to climb is in the A.M. Rainy Day Okay You can climb here in light rain due to overhang, or other weather protection.

Introduction

17


18

2 1

Multi-Pitch One or more multi-pitch climbs in this area.

Accessibility

1

Difficulty of accessibility is sub-divided into 4 grades:

(1) Access with the ability to drive directly to the crag and/or an easy, short hike.

(2) Light aerobic hiking through uneven terrain. Possibly uphill. (3) Taxing hike, through jungle, around rocks, and anything else the Costa Rican wild can throw at you. May require rappel.

(4) Technical and physically strenuous entry and exit. Requires knowledge of rappelling and anchor construction, and may require a climb out.

What to Expect

Here you will find the information found in the overview, but expanded, as well as other information that may be relevant and useful. Each area has specifics that are only applicable to that area, and therefore the subheadings in this section are going to differ from area to area. For example, there is a fee to climb at Cachi Crag and so there is a subheading for this particular point.

In contrast, Forum is free, and therefore no such subheading exists for this area. That being said, there are some subsections that are consistent area to area. For example, Introduction to the Area, The Wall, The Rock, Difficulty and Eating. The subheading The Wall describes the type of climbing and features that you can expect to find, while The Rock describes the quality and type of rock at that area.

How to Get There

In this section you will find GPS coordinates and detailed directions on how to arrive to the area by both bus and car from San José. Also, full instructions on approaching the rock by foot with focus on any points of interest that may be important. Please note that the ‘approximate times’ do not indicate the total travel time, but solely the travel time for that particular description. For most locations you will need to add the approximate travel time by bus or by car with the approach travel time to get the total. Also the travel times are approximations and are subject to numerous uncontrollable factors (ex. traffic, bus mechanical problems, an offered hitchhike etc.,) that may make them longer or shorter. The How to Get There sections also host illustrated conceptual maps that will help you locate your destination in the maze that can be Costa Rica. On many of these maps there are ‘points of reference’ which are labeled by letters and correspond to various pictures or secondary diagrams. These points of interest are usually landmarks, or

Introduction


key areas that you will need to pay attention to as you approach or leave the area. In contrast, routes are labeled with numbers corresponding to their particular route number.

Routes

The routes section of each chapter lists the routes found at that area. The order of the routes are dependent on each climbing area’s specific features. For example in some areas it was most appropriate to list the routes from left to right, when facing the wall, while at other areas it was more appropriate to list the routes right to left. This is specified in each section. Each particular route displays a variety of information, as per the example: Route Number and Name. The number of the route indicates its position on the wall relative to other routes. It also corresponds to the number provided on photo route maps and conceptual illustrations of the areas. The grade of the route is provided in both the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) and the French grading system. A full list of routes can be found in the Route Index

A

A

1)

B

FA: Joaquin Ortiz MuĂąoz

C

D

in the back of the book. A gold star indicates a classic!

B

First Ascent. If the information was available, credit is given to the.

Route Description. Best describes the position, features, and beta for the route (without giving away crux or key beta).

C

Approximate Height. This gives the approximate height of the route, and the number of quickdraws required inclusive of the anchors. It is always a good idea to bring an extra quickdraw. Also indicates if the climb can be completed on trad or if it is a toprope only route.

D

Pura Vida Mae (Pure Life Dude), 5.11a, 6c

This climb starts and ends on this page. Follow the sharp crimps up to the good resting ledge, then pull the crux move using the fat pinch. Continue climbing up to the right for the second good rest before you tackle the mentally challenging stem section with a small run out. Finish at the same anchors as that other climb to the left and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Approximate Height 24m, 10 draws

Introduction

19


20

Climbing in Costa Rica

Things to Remember

Costa Rica, more often than not, is an adventure to climb. Between trekking through jungles, fending off insects, and crossing paths with tropical animals you are sure to have a great day out. Here are a few things to keep in mind when climbing in Costa Rica: • Bring extra water. With hot and humid often in the forecast you will drink more water than you may expect.

Climbing Locations

There are many locations to climb within Costa Rica, but perhaps the best locations are yet to be developed. The areas that have been developed and are covered in this guide are displayed on the map as the green stars.

Costa Rica Bouldering If bouldering is your bag, then you are in luck; there are some spectacular bouldering areas in Costa Rica, however this guide does not cover them. Check out the internet, or ask locals about the best bouldering areas.

• Pack a brush; steal is best. Many climbs can become dirty after the rainy season and if you are climbing something that is friction dependent, you may need to do some spring-cleaning. • It gets dark early and fast. This is especially true if you are in a ravine such as Forum or Rio Oro. Pack a headlamp or plan to get out early so that you do not get stuck in the dark. • Bring a Spanish-English dictionary, if necessary. You never know when a couple words of Spanish will get you out of a jam.

Introduction


Liberia

Heredia

Rio Oro San Jose El Coliseo Cartago Pico Blanco Piedia Aserri

Forum San Alajuela

Providencia

Cachi Crag

Limon

National Captial City

Provencial Capitals

Climbing Location

Legend

21

Introduction


22

Introduction


Christian Schwagereit works the elusive crux on Cachi Cross, 5.12b.

Cachi

Cachi


24

Overview

1

A.M.

What to Expect Introduction to Cachi

Due to the ease of accessability, decently close proximity to San José, rainy season climbing options, high traffic, and constant upkeep of the wall and surrounding grounds, Cachi Crag is by far the most popular climbing area with Ticos and visitors alike. Both the range of difficulty and number of routes keeps climbers coming back for more. On weekends expect the wall to get fairly busy, especially the right side of the wall where the easier routes are concentrated, as this is when beginner groups make their appearance.

CACHI

The Wall

Cachi hosts a single wall with approximately 35 routes. There is no trad climbing at Cachi, and all climbs are a single pitch. Grades range from beginner 5.6 to teeth clenching hard 5.13+. At the base of the wall is an iron rich light oarange-red dirt that has been cleared of debris, vegetation, and obstacles making for easy access and hassle-free belaying. The majority of the routes are squeezed into a relatively small space of approximately 30 meters across, however there is currently development expanding the wall and number of routes.

The Rock

When you approach the Cachi Crag, the first thing you will notice is the irregularity of the wall which can be characteristic of some besalt formations. The besalt you find at Cachi is a very unique style of climbing. If you have never climbed besalt like this before, you are in for a pumpy treat. Just like granite, besalt is an igneous rock solidified from magma, and is widely considered to be the most common rock in the Earth’s crust. It is a fine grained, dark coloured rock that often forms in irregular ‘blocky’ formations. As a result, at Cachi you will find that the wall is littered with large feet, fat pinches, and plethora of slopers. The mass amount of slopers can often be deceiving in making one think that there are numerous handholds, when


in reality most spend the majority of time on the wall trying to determine where your next ‘good’ handhold is.This can be quite the endurance test. The combination of fine grained besalt and sloper based climbing handholds can also easily lead to the quick deterioration of finger pads. Compared to other rock types, besalt weathers relatively quickly which can create fragments of rock to become detached, cracked, or loose. If you find a loose rock while climbing, as with at any climbing crag, if possible, remove the dislodged piece in a safe manner so that subsequent climbers do not run the risk of an unwelcome surprise.

Difficulty

Conveniently, the climbing generally becomes gradually harder from right to left (when your back is to the river) due to the natural overhang of the wall. Regardless of whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced climber, there is a lot to do here.

25

Eating In order to get the most climbing out of your day at Cachi it is recommended that you pack a lunch. There is also a couple of sodas (small eateries) and bars in the town up the road if you have not packed a lunch or feel like eating out. Other than this, restaurant choices are slim in the area. Heading back towards Cartago there are some restaurants along the highway that can host good meal potential. Another option is to drive into the town of Cachi where one can find restaurants, sodas, and a grocery store. The town is approximately 2km from the dam (see insert map of Lago Cachi and the dam, p.29).

CACHI


26

The River

Amenities/Camping

Besides climbing, the land owner has worked hard to provide a positive experience for climbers and non-climbers alike. For example, camping (3000 colones per night) is available both by pitching a tent under the tarp covered camping area or by renting one of the two rooms in the cabin which hosts a bed. The cabin has a picnic table, basic shelving, sink, and a bathroom for use as well. The property also has a beautiful spring water fed swimming hole down by the riverside. The swimming hole has a bolt in a rock on one side and a tree on the other, so if you have a slack line bring it along and set it up overtop the swimming hole. This is a great activity to warm up before climbing and perhaps wait for the sun to get off the wall. There are also hiking trails along the river that lead to a small cave and more camping areas.

CACHI

Another factor that you should take into consideration when climbing at Cachi is the river. Being connected to the dam system at Lago Cachi, the river water levels can rise and fall very quickly without warning. Please exercise caution when along the riverside. Also, when climbing, the ambient noise from the river can create difficulty in communication between climber and belayer. This is especially true when the climber moves above the tops of the trees.

Payment

Climbing at Cachi Crag costs 4000 colones and can be paid directly to the land owner, Don Vidal, upon arrival. If you are arriving during an off time, (during the week) you may have to visit Don Vidal’s home in order to obtain the key to open the gate before going down into the valley (the gate is at the base of the valley accross the bridge). On most weekends he is down at the crag climbing with his daughter or hanging out with the climbers. You can contact Don Vidal (does Don Vidal


not speak English) for more information at 8867 8259, email at rockclimbingcachi@hotmail. com, or check out the Cachi Escalada Facebook page.

Equipment

Don Vidal has some equipment for rent, however selection is limited. I would highly recommend bringing your own equipment. If you do not have equipment and are in the market, Costa Rica is the wrong place to be. With a very small climbing community, the sale of climbing equipment is not commercially viable for most outdoor retailers. Your best option is to order it online. If you are desperate, Mundo Adventura (P:2221 6934) in San José has a basic supply of climbing equipment (shoes, chalk, etc.).

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.849888503497239 Longitude: -83.80345344543457

By Car

Approximate Travel Time: 55 minutes Exit San José on the Interamerican Highway (also called the Pan American Highway or Costa Rica Highway 2) eastbound towards Cartago. Just outside of San José you will pass a large mall with movie theater on the left side. Immediately after the mall you

will come to a toll booth (the toll is approximately 200 colones). Follow Highway 2 until you are about 2 km west of Cartago city. Here (currently traveling southbound) you will take a left bending road at a soccer pitch off Highway 2 and onto Highway 10 (now traveling eastbound into Cartago - there is a large sign). Highway 10 will take you directly through Cartago. Once you pass a large immaculate white basilica, stay right after the soccer pitch. Drive south for approximately 200 m to the next major road (Avenida 3) and then make a left. This road will exit Cartago heading towards Parasio de Cartago on Highway 10. You know you are just outside of Parasio de Cartago when you pass a large cemetery on the right side. Once in Parasio de Cartago, make a right in the center of town at the corner of the park. Following this road you will go down and then back up a hill. A white sign on the right hand side (approximately 100m after the park and not overly obvious) will indicate where to turn left for the road to Cachi. Follow this road (and the signs for Cachi) as it will lead you down into the valley where Lago Cachi and the Cachi dam is located. Look out for the bridge which crosses the mouth of Lago Cachi, passing the dam on the right hand side. Following the dam, take your next left up a small, low incline hill with the dam now on your left and

CACHI

27


28

then at the fork in the road, make a right. The road will continue through a small town. There is a soda and a bar in this town that can provide a post climbing beer and snack. Continue straight through the town. The road will bend to the left around a green church (point of reference A), followed by a small elementary school. About 400m after the school there will be a cemetery (point of reference B) on the left hand side, the entrance to the crag is the next unpaved driveway on the left. The land owners house is another 500m down the road on the left hand side. If you are driving a 4x4 vehicle with high suspension/ ground clearence (SUV, pick-up truck, etc.) you can venture down the entrance to the crag, and park at the base of the wall. Only 4x4 vehicles should go down to the base of the valley. This is because the road is unpaved, very steep and contains a lot of loose gravel and rock. Even if you are driving a 4x4 vehicle you may wish to think twice about driving down the driveway during the rainy season (May to November) as heavy rains can make the road downright undriveable.

By Bus

Approximate travel time: 2 hours From anywhere in San José take a taxi to the Lumaca bus terminal (P:2537- 2320). Alternatively you can also ask to be taken to the bus for Cartago to get to the same location. Any taxi in town

CACHI

should know where the terminal is. If you are walking, the terminal is located at Avenida 10 and Calle 5. There is no direct bus to the town of Cachi from San José, so you will need take the bus from San José to Cartago and then transfer in Cartago onto the bus for Cachi. The bus from San José to Cartago takes approximately an hour and will cost just under 500 colones (or take a 700 colones direct bus). Get off in the center of Cartago. Pay attention for the soccer pitch on your right hand side once you get into Cartago. Your stop is the one following the soccer pitch, which is beside a large white-walled Cathedral with red painted trim around the base of it, in the middle of town (this is located at Avenida 3 and Calle 6).

Most Ticos will get off the bus here, as should you. Don’t forget to thank your bus driver. Once off the bus directly across the street is the bus stop for the Cachi bus. This stop is kitty-corner (diagonal) to a MusManni bakery. The bus to Cachi will take approximately an hour and will also cost just under 500 colones.


29 A

B

You must get off the bus before it gets to Cachi. Keep an eye open for the dam at Lago Cachi. The bus will cross the bridge with the dam on the right hand side and then take a left at the next street. It will climb a small hill and then take a right, turn a bend and go through a small town (this is not Cachi). Shortly, the town will thin out and the bus will reach a large green church where it will do a three point turn and go back the way it came (it will now go to the town of Cachi). Get off the bus here when it is doing it’s three point turn (at the green church). Remember that this is also where to catch the bus back to Cartago. LEGEND

Just ensure the bus is going to Cartago and not Cachi. Note: You never actually go to the town of Cachi (see further instructions on the return trip via bus). Walk the opposite direction the bus came from towards the church and then around the bend past the school on the left hand side. Continue down the road for approximately 500m. You know you are close when you pass a small, white, ceramic clad cemetery on the left hand side. The next major unpaved driveway on the left that goes down into the valley is the Don Vidal’s house

Cachi Crag

River Road

Unpaved road Dam

Cemetery

Town Cemetery School Church Point of Interest Bus Stop

To Cartago

Lago Cachi (Cachi Lake)

To Cachi

CACHI


30

entry point for the crag. Standing at the roadside you should be able to see the crag across the valley. Don Vidal’s home is another 300m past the entrance on the left. You can identify his residence by a sign reading Cachi Escalada. The approach is a beautiful yet steep downhill walk to the river at the valley floor. When you get to an obvious fork in the road, stay left in order to use the bridge to cross the river. Once across the bridge, follow the road past the gate to the crag. If the gate is closed (it may be closed if Don Vidal has yet to open it) you will need to contact Don Vidal to obtain the key.

Returning by Bus

In order to return to San José by bus, head back to the bus stop near the school and the church. On regular hours the bus comes about every 45 minutes. Ensure that the bus you get on is going to Cartago and not Cachi. Once you arrive back in Cartago, the bus will drop you off at the same stop you you originally picked it up to head towards Cachi. This is where your return trip differs slightly from your trip to the crag. You can either get a taxi to take you to the terminal for San José bound buses, or you can walk for about 20 minutes. Walking central Cartago can be a bit confusing and from where the Cachi bus drops you off, the San José bus terminal is 6 blocks North and 5 blocks West. It is best to ask a local how to get to the terminal.

CACHI

Joel Sundqvist shaking out after the crux of Cachi Cross.


31

Routes

The following routes are those that can be found at Cachi crag at the time of writing of this guide. The routes are in order from right to left when facing the wall and having your back to the river.

1) FA:

Llalan-Llalan Caminando, 5.10a, 6a

Facing the wall with your back to the river and the camping hut, this is the very first route on the wall from right to left. A fun and juggy route with an extended left traverse about half way up where the climb goes directly overtop the anchors for Como Tu Sabe. Due to the traverse feature of this climb, it is recommended to take extendable draws in order to reduce rope drag. End on the same anchors as Para Sayang. Approximate Height 25m, 12 draws

2) Como Tu Sabe, 5.7, 5a FA:

This is the second route from the right. Forward leaning with great jugs, crimps and slopers, this climb provides a good starting point for beginners. The route ends at the clearly visible anchors (shared with 5 Minutes More) which also hosts a no hands, no feet sitting rest for the beginners who need a break after their introductory ascent. Approximate Height 8m, 6 draws

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

CACHI


32

3) 5 Minutes More, 5.8, 5b FA:

Just to the right of Para Sayang, 5 Minutos Mas can be tricky before the first bolt as great handholds are seemingly scarce. Be patient and make it past the lower first bolt to find the jugs you have been looking for, moving slightly towards the right after the third bolt and finishing at the anchors that are shared with Como Tu Sabe. With a forward leaning angle to the wall, rests are made easy and completing the route is only 5 more minutes away. A word of warning, many of the juggier holds on this route seem to be loose, so please be aware of shifting rock. Approximate Height 8m, 6 draws

4) Para Sayang (Con Coriño), 5.10c, 6b FA:

This route starts to the the right of the boulder at the base of the wall, and has its first anchor about 3 meters off the ground. A seemingly conservative climb, Para Sayang’s true colours come out when handholds run out and a sequential crux stares you in the face. Once clipped to the anchors don’t forget to turn around and take in one of the best views of the river and the surrounding farm covered valley. Approximate Height 25m, 12 draws

5) Vaca Caca, 5.6, 4c FA:

Vaca Caca is a traverse route that starts to the left of Para Sayang and travels left utilizing all the jugs until the hanging chain anchors shared with Viagra. As a lead route this climb can be confusing as it overlays other routes on the wall. Remember to keep the left after the fourth bolt and make way for the locked carabiner on the chains. This is a good route for learning to lead, warming up, or beginners to get a taste of outdoor rock climbing.` Approximate Height 10m, 6 draws

CACHI

6

2 1

5

4

3


33

6) Lo Tocar a Mi, 5.8, 5b FA:

A straight forward 5.8 climb that is good for both beginners and intermediate warm-up alike. This climb is often set up as a top-rope for beginner climbers as the forward leaning angle of the wall provides a great learning experience. As a lead climb this route should not be taken lightly despite the low grade. This is because the first three bolts all have ground fall potential. Approximate Height 9m, 8 draws

7) FA:

5

Verde, 5.7, 5a

6

To the left of Lo Tacar Mi you will find Verde and No Hablar Espa単ol. These two routes are essentially the same, except that Verde moves to the right for one bolt while the route No Hablar Espanol moves to the left for one bolt. The split occurs after the second bolt from the ground, and then the two routes reunite on the fourth bolt before ascending to the chain anchor which lies to the left of the large crack. The traverse route Vaca Caca also ends on the same chain anchor. 8 Much like La Impotencia and Pura Vida Mae, the duel route of Verde and No Hablar Espanol are good routes for top-rope and for beginners. Approximate Height 9m, 6 draws

11

10

9

7

6

CACHI


34

8) El Pichon, 5.9, 5c FA:

If you are looking for a mental challenge more than a physical one, El Pichon may be the climb for you. The route starts on the same line as Verde however instead of heading for the chains after the fourth bolt climb towards the large crack on the right. Run out the crack for about five meters and you will find yourself at a small dark roof with the next bolt in reachable distance. Climb over the roof and briefly to the right before traversing back left to the anchors. Approximate Height 11m, 10 draws

9) No Hablar Espa単ol, 5.7, 5a FA:

No Hablar Espanol and Verde begin at the same point at the base of the wall and end at the same chain anchor. Climb the easy jugs and slopers to the second bolt. Here the route splits right or left. For No Hablar Espanol, climb left for one bolt and then move back right to a bolt before finishing on the anchors. This route is commonly used as a top-rope route and is a good place for beginners to get some real rock experience. Approximate Height 9m, 6 draws

10) Pura Vida Mae, 5.8, 5b FA:

Finishing at the lower hanging chain anchors with the green protective tarp, Pura Vida Mae shares its start and finish with La Impotencia. The only difference in the two climbs, other than the grade point difference and the number of quickdraws needed, is the direction to follow after the third bolt. For the easier of the two routes after the third bolt climb towards the right to the next bolt before moving back left and finishing on the anchors. For La Impotencia, from the third bolt head left and utilize the two bolts before moving up and right to the anchors. Pura Vida Mae is a good climb to set up a top-rope for beginners as both on and off the line are littered with good hand holds and good feet. It also has a forward leaning wall, allowing for long rests. I would not recommend this climb for someone learning to lead, as protection is not abundant. Approximate Height 9m, 6 draws

CACHI


11) FA:

35

La Impotencia, 5.9, 5c

As mentioned in the Pura Vida Mae description, La Impotencia shares the same start and finish as Pura Vida Mae. For La Impotencia, the harder of the two climbs, ensure that you stay left after the third bolt, use the following tow bolts above, and then move back right for the chain anchor with the green tarp. Approximate Height 9m, 7 draws

The holds on La Impotencia, 5.9, are not always so obvious, as Teelo Rooke discovers.

CACHI


36

Jayson Bable fighting the pump on Caca Vaca, 5.10a.

CACHI


37

12) Unidentified FA:

Not a route. Same climb as La Impotencia but surpasses the anchors on the left side and continues well into the 20 m range with three precariously hanging biners on three seldom tested bolts. Anchors, however, are either not visible or nonexistent. Not recommended. Approximate Height ??m, ?? draws

13) Caca Vaca, 5.9/5.10a, 5c FA:

To the right of the middle of the wall is Caca Vaca. You will find that the bolts on this line are spaced a little further apart than on other climbs the same height, and as a result, less draws are needed. The climbing is crimpy with well placed resting jugs until you reach the small roof. Here you will find a heady move that may require the commitment your partner has been looking for. Pull through the roof and you are only two bolts and some friendly crimps away from the chain anchor. Well, almost. The final anchors can be a bit of a challenge to clip. Approximate Height 11m, 8 draws

13

14) La Luz, 5.11b, 6c FA:

Almost directly in the middle of the wall La Luz hosts a good mixture of jugs, crimps and sloped feet. La Luz starts off pumpy as slopers are the hold of choice, but then eases into some monstrous jugs around the middle of the climb. The wise would exploit this rest as best as possible. Don’t become cocky by the perception of easier climbing halfway and shoot for the top, most blow off in the final stretch for the anchors as handholds become smaller and jugs are replaced by pinches. If you get the leg shakes as you hurriedly apply the anchors, you are not the first, and doubtfullythe last. Approximate Height 11m, 11 draws

CACHI


38

15) Breathe, 5.11c, 6c+ FA:

Very similar to La Luz, Breathe is one climb to the left and one letter grade harder. The two climbs have a number of similarities. For starters, both end on the same anchors, have sloping, pumpy starts and have decent resting spots at about half way. Also, much like La Luz, the crux of Breathe only makes itself fully apparent when you are already in the middle of it. The crux is a stretched move, so this climb may be significantly harder for shorter individuals. Once the final piece of protection has been utilized make a short and easy traverse to the right for the anchors. Approximate Height 11m, 11 draws

15

14

13

16) Khadijah, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

To the left of the middle of the wall you will find Khadijah which hosts a technical start, pumping the ill-prepared early. Climb through the small ledges to the crux and make the undercling dependent move in the middle of the steepest section, grabbing the good ledges to follow. Another option is to pinch up the left side and by applying compression strength, although this path would most likely not be 5.12a. With the crux complete, use the randomly placed good holds to rest and reserve your energy in order to make it to the anchors. The climb will drift left and, at one point, almost overlap No Soy Chino, however do not become confused. Climb around the anchors of No Soy Chino into the lighter coloured rock to find the jugs you have been dreaming of and the end of the route. Approximate Height 18m, 11 draws

CACHI


17) No Soy Chino, 5.11c, 6c+ FA:

20 18

17

This climb shares its start with Contigo Termina en Khadijah. Ensure that you stay towards the right when the bolts carry into two separate lines. This occurs at the fourth bolt where you should make your way towards a small tree growing out of the rock and then continue upward towards the anchors just before the large light coloured patch wall. Expect pumperific, 16 sloping, solid 5.11 climbing until a good rest that allows you to prepare both mentally and physically for the crux to the hallelujah jug at the top. Approximate Height 11m, 11 draws

18) Contigo Termina en Khadijah, 5.11d/5.12a, 7a FA:

Starts with the same start as No Soy Chin and then cross Contigo Termina en Khadijah and finishes at the anchors for Khadijah. The route continually moves to the right until the anchors of No Soy Chino are passed and then runs out straight up to the anchors of Khaddijah. With a large run out at the top of the route and decent beta scarce, it is not surprising that this route is hardly ever lead. Approximate Height 18m, 11 draws

19) RokRasta, 5.11d, 7a FA:

A tall, seldom climbed route to the right of Cachi Cross, Contigo Termina en Khadijah has the same start as No Soy Chino, but continues straight up the wall while No Soy Chino veers to the right after the forth bolt. When No Soy Chino breaks off to the right, climb through the overhang and continue on fair holds until the anchors. Approximate Height 18m, 12 draws

CACHI

39


40

Aziz Ftis Saenz ensures a good foot placement before proceeding on No Soy Chino, 5.11c.

CACHI


41

CACHI


42

20) Cachi Cross, 5.12b, 7b FA:

Place a V6/7 boulder problem on a sloper-centric wall, reduce the foot placement options, add a touch of â€œÂżwhere do I go next?â€? and bam! you have Cachi Cross. The early jugs on this route can be deceiving, causing some to rush, however this will most likely lead to being pumped for the big sloper move to the right of the forth bolt. Using a nylon jug in order to clip the fourth bolt is not uncommon, especially for the vertically challenged. Pull your way past the crux to consistently good holds until the anchors. The true test is keeping the lactic acid burn in your forearms under control in order to allow enough time to make it to the top of one of the tallest climbs on the wall. This often cruel climb meets its grade well and can be found directly to the right of Chino Clandestino. Approximate Height 24m, 13 draws

21) Chino Clandestino, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

To the left of Cachi Cross and before the talus on the left, Chino Clandestino is situated directly in front of the belayers bench. This tall test piece hosts a sustained crux that has well concealed rests and brutally apparent slopers. The beginning of the crux has multiple path options: either manage the classic Cachi slopers to the right, or crimp and pinch up the middle. Once you have managed the crux, traverse slightly to the left and you will be well rewarded with a much needed resting hold, and if you are creative, a no-hands rest. From here to the top the climb is easy as pie, so long as you utilize the provided underclings. Miss the underclings and you may be finding yourself at a second crux section. Approximate Height 21 18m, 12 draws 22 23

CACHI


43

22) Acido y Medio, 5.11d, 7a FA:

Directly to the left of Chino Clandestino and about half a meter longer, Acido y Medio provides a sustained and sometimes steep climb with good holds. Somewhat ladderish to begin, this climb rarely receives as much attention as other more technical routes. The difficulty on this route is consistent in a way that not any single move presents itself as substantially more challenging than the next, but rather that the entire route is a race before your forearms quit. A message of precaution, apparently bolts on this climb were not drilled into the rock as deep as they should have been. Therefore, if safety is a concern and you still want to give Acido y Medio a run, it is recommended that you ascent Chino Cladnestino and then traverse over to the Acido y Medio anchors in order to set up a top rope. Approximate Height 18m, 12 draws

23) Buen Ray, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

Much like Adios Hermanos, Buen Ray hosts its crux move close to the ground, and therefore clipping the first bolt prior to takeoff is highly recommended in the name of safety. Post crux, expect ladderish yet fun climbing on the crimps, slopers, and pinches that are characteristic of climbing at Cachi. The route eases at the top with larger holds and widely available resting positions. Approximate Height 20m, 10 draws

24) Chocolate Caliente, 5.12b, 7b FA:

To the left of Buen Ray and to the right of Adios Hermanos at the top of the talus pile you will find Chocolate Caliente. Finish the climb at the same anchors as Adios Hermanos. Approximate Height 18m, 10 draws

CACHI


44

25) Adios Hermanos, 5.12c/5.12d, 7b+ FA:

Start to the left of Chocolate Caliente on top of the talus. With a low percentage crux move that is low to the ground, this climb provides difficulty, frustration, and insecurity that keeps many climbers at bay. If you wish to attempt the 28 compression dependent V7 boulder problem of a crux, please strongly consider stickclipping the first two 26 pieces of protection 27 for safety as the crux is dangerously low to the ground. Finish the climb at the anchors shared with Cholcolate Caliente. Approximate Height 18m, 10 draws

26) Name Unknown, [PROJECT] FA:

To the right of Ojo del Tigre and just as high. Approximate Height 35m (70m rope required), 22 draws

CACHI

25


27) El Ojo del Tigre, 5.13a/5.13b, 7c+ FA:

Risn’ up, straight to the top, you’ll have the guts, you’ve got the glory, went the distance, just a man and his will to survive. An endurance of hard, pumpy, climbing. Only those who jog up the steps of the Capital building, train extra hard and wear sweat pants will survive. With three very separate crux areas, El Ojo del Tigre is an endurance spectacular. You will find all three of the cruxes come at each of the three major roofs on the route. The first is no more than three meters from the ground creating an early pump. The climb continues on good holds and even becomes forward leaning at the beginning of the first light coloured patch. Before the roof at the first light coloured patch of wall, clip a mentally committing bolt before approaching the second crux. Manage through the main crux, a sloper overhang move to a hard bump before you can muscle your way over the roof. Do not fret there are jugs to come, but only momentarily before you reach the larger light coloured patch of the wall and the final crux. Completely overhanging off the lip, falling off here due to pump is not uncommon and allows for sizable airtime. Once you have commanded the final crux, climb first to the right for a bolt and then up to the left for two more bolts and then the anchors at the vegetation line. It is recommended to utilize extended draws for bolts directly under each roof section as rope drag can become an issue. Also, I would recommend tying a knot in the end of your rope as to avoid losing the belay. A 70m road just squeaks in enough length to go the distance. Approximate Height 35m (70m rope required), 22 draws

28) La Cloe, [PROJECT] FA:

La Cloe, La Warefex and Espartans, were all added in late 2010 by professional Spanish climber Eduard Marin Garcia. All three routes front hard and consistent steep climbing that requires serious brawn and technique, and are reminiscent of elongated boulder problems. La Cloe is the first climb you will encounter past Ojo del Tigre. Between La Cloe and Ojo del Tigre there is also a small area for learning to deal with anchors. La Cloe starts directly overhanging and then ascents up and to the left, sharing a couple of moves with La Warefex before continuing straight up to the anchors. Approximate Height 18m, 15 draws

CACHI

45


46

29) La Warefex, 5.13a, 7c+ FA: Eduard Marin Garcia

With some technical movement and an almost constant overhang, La Warifex is sure to demand a truely physical effort. Begin with a couple of long moves to good holds before traversing right and working the underside of a crack that moves up a small roof section. At the top of the roof think big and go for the good hold; miss and keep your legs tucked as to avoid kicking your belayer in the head. Continue working the decent holds until you reach a more vertical section where handholds seem to disappear and big burly moves are the name of the game. Finishing La Warefex is a crowd pleaser: do or fly time. Throw to the jug and clip with pride or take flight. Approximate Height 18m, 15 draws

30) Espartans, [PROJECT] FA:

At the time of writing Esparteno has yet to see an ascent and is projected to be in the 5.13d range of difficulty. If it is confirmed at this grade it will be Costa Rica’s hardest climb. Start to the left of La Warefex. Approximate Height 18m, 15 draws The Following 5 Routes were added in late 2011 by David Ulloa, and at the time of writitng have not been climbed or officially graded.

31) Atheist FA:

Estimated at 5.11. Approximate Height 10m, 6 draws

32) Deception FA:

Estimated at 5.12. Approximate Height 10m, 6 draws

CACHI


47

Aziz Ftis Saenz finds a rest on La Warifex, 5.13a, before moving on to the crux.

CACHI


48

33) Susan FA:

Estimated at 5.10. Approximate Height 8m, 5 draws

34) +hot FA:

Estimated at 5.9. Approximate Height 10m, 6 draws

35) Flacatash FA:

Estimated at 5.11. Approximate Height 10m, 6 draws

Notes

30

35

33 34

CACHI

32

31


Carolina Arcila on Media Luna, 5.9.

Rio oro

RIO oro


50

Overview T.R.

2 4

P.M.

What to Expect Introduction to Rio Oro

Rio Oro is a small wall in a tributarie of the Virilla river system. Although not as fruitful as Forum, Cachi, or some of the other climbing locations in Costa Rica, Rio Oro does have some advantages. Firstly, the short walls, but higher grades provide an advanced version of El Coliseo that beginner climbers may find useful. Also if you like the idea of highball bouldering,

Rio oro

but don’t have the confidence to go the distance off a rope, this is a good training ground. Finally, the location and ease of accessibility make it a painless half day trip. This being said, Rio Oro does have a lot of home made anchors and bolts. It is highly recommended to bring some stoppers to back up your belay, or top rope off of one of the many trees, rather than lead some of the routes and chance a fall onto a homemade bolt. Accidents have happened here so if you choose to climb at Rio Oro, please stay safe and be cautious.

The wall

The routes at Rio Oro are either on the 9m high main wall or on a series of dislodged boulders that are a couple of meters shorter. The wall can often become dirty due to the rainy season, especially near the top of the wall, so it is recommended that you bring a brush. Many are in need of replacement, and proper anchors, however most can be climbed using top rope stations set up on trees.

The Rock

Like Forum and El Coliseo, the rock is Ignimbrite, giving characteristic pockets and large sections of featureless vertical wall. Here you are going to find two main features, cracks and shallow pockets, although the odd pinch does show face. The shallow pockets and knobby feet require finger strength and footwork that will hone your skills.


Difficulty

There are 10 climbs that range from 5.9 to 5.12b at Rio Oro. Most of the climbs are vertical or nearly vertical with the exception of a few that are slightly overhanging.

Eating

Because of its location in the center of a housing area, there are no grocery stores or restaurants in the direct vicinity of Rio Oro. The best option is to bring food and water with you down to the wall. Other options include stopping off at Forum along the way to grab a bite at Mega Super, or one of the many restaurants in Lindora (see Forum: Eating section), or continuing along the highway towards Ciudad Col贸n for the eatery options for El Coliseo (see El Coliseo section).

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.941143145598003 Longitude: -84.21022653579712

By Car

Approximate time: 20 minutes Take highway 27 from the south Sabana west out of San Jos茅 towards Escaz煤, Santa Ana, and Ciudad Col贸n. After the tollbooth, where you will have to pay 290 colones, you will pass Multiplaza (a large shopping mall) on the left hand side. Continue on the highway for approximately 10 minutes, passing the Forum complex

51 A

on the right after a large hill. After you pass the Forum Complex you will take the next exit off the highway. This off ramp will take you down to a housing complex on the right side with a large yellow wall. Do not stop here, but rather continue straight, driving back up and seemingly onto the highway, however stay in the right lane and exit on the road that goes off the highway to the right. This road will then bend to the left around a building with blue tinted windows and take you to a guard office with a large glass bestowed building directly in front of you, and a red walled house on the right. Tell the guards that you are going climbing and there should be no issues. Depending on the guard, they may not like the idea of you driving in, so instead offer to park in the parking lot in front of the large glass building. Whether you walk or drive in, follow the road into the housing complex. You will pass two T intersections, one on the right and then one on the left before coming to a 4-way intersection with a stop sign. At the stop sign make a left and then at the next street, turn right (there is a park on the left side once you have turned right). Follow this road as it curves

Rio oro


52 B

to the left and then drive/walk approximately 300m. The entrance to the climbing area requires you to cross an empty fenced off lot directly to the left of a small light coloured house with red roof (point of reference A). If you drove into the housing complex, park on the road in front of the empty lot. Make sure that you do not park in front of the small house with the red roof, as the owner has been known to be not overly welcoming to climbers. If she does say anything, be polite and mention you are climbing in the ravine. Cross the field and find a small opening in the trees from which you can rappel down into the ravine (point of reference B).

By Bus

Approximate time: 30 minutes Get yourself to the Comtrasuli (P: 2416-8036, 2258-3903) bus terminal, also the terminal for

Rio oro

Ciudad Col贸n. Take a collectors (not direct) bus towards Ciudad Col贸n, and get off two stops after Forum. The bus driver will only stop at the first stop after Forum if someone has requested it. If the bus has exited the highway and gone through the free tollbooth, then you have gone too far. The best option is to ask the driver for the Urbanization de Rio Oro. The bus will let you off just after the pedestrian overpass with a blue guard rail, past the main entrance for the housing complex that is Urbanization de Rio Oro. You will need to walk back (opposite direction of traffic) approximately 50m and cross in front of the large glass building. The guards may ask you some questions, or they may just let you go without waking up. If they do request some information, just let them know that you are going climbing. Continue walking down the street into the housing complex until you reach the first 4-way intersection (also the first stop sign). Make a left and then take your first right at the small park. This street will bend to the left, and then walk 300m to where you will find multiple vacant lots before a small light coloured house with a red roof (see point of reference A). Cross the last lot just to the left of the house and in the middle of the back of the lot you will find a small opening in the trees (see point of reference B) from which you can rappel down to the base of the main wall infront of Media Luna.

Exiting Rio Oro In order to exit the ravine, you can either leave a rope on the large tree


53

and climb out, then providing a top belay to your partner, or you can climb the large tree roots that run up the main wall. The roots can sometimes be dirty, and the most difficult section is at the top, so make sure that you are feeling strong and confident before scaling the roots.

36

37

38

39

40

44

43

41

42 45

Legend P

Parking

X

Bus Stop Drive Route Walk Route Road Highway

A

B

P

~200m

To San Jose

X X

To Ciudad Colon

Rio oro


54

Routes

Rio Oro hosts 5 routes on the main wall and 5 routes on the free standing boulders. Routes are listed left to right on the main wall (when facing the main wall), and counter clockwise on the free standing boulders. Many routes have homemade hardware and therefore cautious climbers may wish to back-up their lead with trad gear or slings. All routes are short, but most pack a punch worth their weight.

36) No Name, 5.11/5.12a, 7b FA:

The left most route has no name but many people call it La Comadreja Enchilada and at the time of writing the only route with seemingly bombproof protection, is also the hardest at Rio Oro. Start to the left of the thin crack with a good three finger pocket and a home made first bolt. Make finger strength and clean footwork dependant moves up and to the right to the commercial bolt for a feeling of security, and clip while pinching with the left. With a slight overhang, from here work your way through the crux, using the thin crack for a couple of moves before climbing back towards the left and finishing on a high step with great pockets before the anchors. As with most routes on the wall, dirt and overgrowth can be a problem, especially near the rounded top of the climb. Approximate Height 8m, 6 draws

37) La Virgen, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

Directly to the right of David Ulloa and just to the right of the thin crack is the delicate and resolute La Virgen. Climb up the crack using the odd face hold clipping the homemade bolts along the way. Past the third and final bolt climb up and to the left using large pockets and slopers until you reach the same anchors as David Ulloa. This route has yet to see a successful headpoint. Approximate Height 8m, 5 draws

Rio oro

36

37


55

38) El Pedo Loco, 5.11d, 7a FA:

For this climb follow the kinked pen mark crack directly to the left of the easily identifiable Media Luna. At the time of writing this route does not have any top anchors and is missing a first bolt, and therefore the best thing to do is to set up a top rope on one of the trees at the top of the wall. Climb directly up the face using some well placed feet to ensure a successful attempt for the top. Approximate Height 8m, 4 draws

39) La Media Luna, 5.9, 5c FA:

Media Luna is the most apparent climb on the wall as it follows the obvious crack that is just to the left of the strangler fig tree roots. This is also the route that you will rappel in from when entering Rio Oro. Start with an easy step up onto a ledge before using a mix of layback and juggy crack moves to make your ascent. The homemade anchors at the top of this climb are a little sketchy, I would recommend creating a top rope from a tree, or if leading, topping out and then down climbing the roots. This climb can also be completed as a trad route. Approximate Height 8m, 5 draws, Trad

40) La Galleta de Soda, 5.9, 5c FA:

This climb is just to the right of the tree roots. At this climb the wall is slightly forward leaning and therefore this route provides a good warm-up for others on the wall. At the time of writing, all the bolts on this climb are homemade and one of the two anchors is missing, which is sad as it would be good to see one of Costa Rica’s first bolted climbs retrofitted with a new set of hardware. Approxiamte Height 8m, 5 draws 38

Rio oro


56

38

39

40

41) La Chimbombina, 5.11b, 6c FA:

This scarcely bolted route is the most easterly climb on the set of freestanding boulders. Climb the face using a series of slopping crimps and slippery feet. Despite bearing only a single bolt if you are confident and courageous, you can always boulder the route at about V5. Approximate Height 7m, 3 draws

42) La Viagra, 5.11c, 6c+ FA:

The middle north facing climb on the dislodged boulders is La Viagara. Using solely the face of the boulder, gloriously crimp this short route to the hanging chains above. You will find the climbing to be discreet and you will be at the anchors before you know it. For a much easier version of the same route, use the large crack between the boulders in a layback style to make the ascent. Sending the route in this manner brings the grad down to 5.9. Approxiamte Heigh 7m, 4 draws

Rio oro


57

41 42 43

44

45

43) La Caja de Leche, 5.9, 5c FA:

Directly beside a tree (across from Media Luna and the strangler fig tree routes) and on the shortest boulder’s north face, La Caja de Leche uses a set of homemade bolts and chain anchors. Squeeze milk out of the box by hugging the boulder and compressing inward with all four limbs, trading movements between extremities until you reach the anchors. Due to the low height of this climb, it can easily be bouldered if you are really antsy to get on it. Approximate Height 6m, 3 draws

44) Katanga, 5.9, 5c FA:

This route is on the west face of the most westerly dislodged boulder, directly in front of the tree, just around the corner from La Caja de Leche. There are no bolts on this climb, and the anchors are homemade with chains. You can use the anchors to set up a top rope if you trust the homemade chains, or you can boulder the relatively short route; be careful of the tree. Approximate Heigh 6m, 2 draws, Top Rope

Rio oro


58

45) El Pecho del Palomo, 5.9, 5c

On the back of La Viagara is El Pecho del Palomo, a short, dashing, classic with a vivacious crux. Start by standing on the small boulder and then follow the side pull up to a good horizontal crack. Pull on the crack to work your way onto the slopping ledge before reaching around the overhang and clipping the anchors. At the time of writing, this climb has all homemade bolts and anchors. Approximate Height 7m, 6 draws

Carolina Arcila works the first couple of moves on the crack climb Media Luna, 5.9.

Rio oro


Teelo Rooke on Piolon, 5.9

El Coliseo

El Coliseo


60

Overview 1

P.M.

What to Expect

Introduction to El Coliseo

El Coliseo is slightly west of the town of Piedades and hosts a very modest three climbs on a small wall on the edge of a farm. Despite the lack of route quantity, the area is a good spot for strong beginners who are starting to lead, is relatively close to San JosĂŠ, and is free.

The wall

A single wall of approximately 10m hosts all three of the routes at this area. The wall is situated near the entrance of a farm and you should ask permission from the landowners in order to climb. The wall itself is practically vertical, with a slight forward lean, and

large overhanging trees. The section that has been bolted is the only spot on the wall that is suitable for sport climbing as the remainder is either covered with vegetation (mostly tree roots or vines) or is too short to justify bolting. Bouldering is an option.

The Rock

The rock here is ignimbrite and has a good number of deep pockets, cracks and crimps. Rock quality is good; just expect to do a little cleaning early in the climbing season.

Difficulty

All three routes here are in the 5.10 range and under. There is also the possibility to do some bouldering. Despite only having three routes, all three are of good quality.

Eating

Although El Coliseo may not provide as many routes as some other areas in Costa Rica, there are some good eating locations in the area. Da Marco Ristorante Italiano (P:22824103) and La Oveja Negra Bar y Ristorante (P:2203-0606) are highly regarded by locals and visitors alike. Da Marco serves up homemade Italian (obviously) cuisine and mainly caters to the Hotel Canal Grande customers, while the later has a tasty tapas menu. You also have the option to head into Piedades for Chinese, or Tico cuisine. For those tight on budget, there is a supermarket just down the road from the crag.

El Coliseo


How To Get There

Ciudad Colón. Just before exiting the highway on the turn off for Ciudad Colón, you will pass a Ducati Motorcycles dealership and a large Bali store which is part of a larger modern looking glass and steel building on the right side. Take the turn off, and pass through a second (free) tollbooth. The off ramp will bend to the left and then lead you down onto a road. Take your first, immediate left, the resturant La Oveja Negra will be on the left side. Follow this road until the T intersection. Take a right and drive for about

Latitude: 9.926522337844581 Longitude: -84.2209580540657

By Car

Approximate time: 25 minutes

Toll

On highway 27 out of San José head west towards Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colón. The highway is at the far west side of Paseo Colón and travels south of La Sabana. Just outside of San José you will have to go through a tollbooth, which currently costs 290 colones. Continue driving for about 20-30 minutes and X pay attention to X signs for

To San Jose ~9km

La O Ne veja gra

To Ciudad Colon ~2km Legend X

Bus Stop

To Ciudad Colon ~2km

Da Marco’s

Route

~ 200m

To Piedades ~50m

B

A

El Coliseo

61


62

2 minutes to the rock, keeping to the left of the San Marcos shrine (point of interest A on the map). The rock is at the entrance to a farm (finca) with a blue gate (point of interest B on the map), just before the road becomes gravel.

the same route to your destination, however they cost 20 colones more. After approximately 30 minutes on the bus pay attention for the second tollbooth you will go through. Unlike the first tollbooth just outside of San Jos茅, the bus will come off the highway and pass through the second one without paying, as this tollbooth is out of commission. After going through the tollbooth, the next stop is yours. The bus will take the off ramp, which bends to the left, and then drive down onto a street. Request for the next stop as you go through the tollbooth. The bus will stop at the first intersection, which is where you get off. Begin the approach.

By Bus

Approximate time: 35 minutes From anywhere in San Jos茅 take a taxi or walk to the Comtrasuli Terminal (P:2258-3903, 24168036) (also known as the terminal for Ciudad Col贸n). Any of the collector buses for Ciudad Col贸n will do and should cost no more than 500 colones (350 at the time of writing). You can also catch one of the collector buses to Puriscal or Palmichel, as they take

46

El Coliseo

47

48


63 A

B

Approach

Approximate time: 20 minutes From the bus stop, take the south leading road up a short hill (no more than a 10-12 minute walk).When you reach the end of the road, you will have a choice to go either right (towards El Coliseo) or left (towards Piedades). Turn right, and pass the Super El Piedades on the right side. The first street you pass on the right leads to Ciudad Col贸n. When you see the shrine with a statuette reading San

Marcos (point of reference A on the map), keep left and continue down the road for about another 3-5 minutes. The rock will be to the left just beyond the entrance to a farm (finca) with a blue gate (point of reference B on the map), before the road becomes gravel. Watch out for snakes as you cross the field! There are over 130 species of snake in Costa Rica, 17 of which are venomous. Make a lot of noise and be aware.

El Coliseo


64

Routes

A single small wall of approximately 10m hosts only 3 routes that provide a good learning ground for those not wanting to jump head first into lead rock climbing. During the wet season, the wall can become very dirty due to the rain, therefore summer climbing is recommended and you may need to do a quick cleaning of some of the holds. Climbs are listed from let to right when facing the wall and your back is to the road.

46) Piolin, 5.9, 5a FA: Ry Morrison

Start directly to the right of the large tree root. The beginning moves of this climb are by far the hardest. If you are looking for an easier start (and a grade closer to 5.7 than 5.9), use the root to work your way up to the beginning of the crack. For a greater challenge, attempt to climb solely the face on small ledges and crimps. Continue through the good holds and high steps to follow the right side of the crack before traversing slightly to the right to a mailbox slot ledge and then directly up to a second ledge and the anchors. Movement from the first ledge to the second ledge can be a bit of a reach for shorter climbers, although, some fairly creative ways to get to the anchors have been successfully applied. Approximate Height 7m, 5 draws

47) Diedro, 5.10c, 6b FA: Ry Morrison

Just to the right of Piolin, and ending with the same anchors, is Diedro. Start by standing on the protruding ramp that moves up to the right towards Ron. Use the two low pockets to position yourself before traversing right onto a crimp and geston. Use some burly strength to get to the pocket just above and then clip the second bolt on the extremely deep monster pocket. From here traverse to the left using a sloper and a couple of wide stances with decent ledges before getting to the anchors shared with Piolin. In the final push for the anchors Diedro uses some of the same holds as Piolin, but to maintian the 5.10c difficulty try to stay as far to the right as possible. Approximate Height 7m, 5 draws

El Coliseo


65

48) Ron, 5.10b, 6a FA: Ry Morrison

Named after pioneer Costa Rican climber Ry Morrison’s brother, on the other side of the fat arête you will find Ron, which begins at the base of the right parallel cracks. Dynamically thrust two hands up and grab the obvious monster jug, and you are already at the technical crux. Get the feet high and then pull a stylish, and photo friendly, move that uses some important footwork, and a pocket left hand. Move up over the bulge and onto the more forward leaning part of the wall. For the remainder of the climb it is big holds and the right sided crack until the anchors. Approximate Height 7m, 5 draws

Notes

El Coliseo


66

El Coliseo


Eduardo Baldioceda Baltodano working out the delicate crux of El Trepon de la Zeguea, 5.11c.

Pico Blan co

Pico Blanco


68

Overview

Pico Blanco suitable for only the fit, strong-willed, adventure seeker.

2

4

1

A.M.

4

The Wall

There are multiple walls on a single large feature of rock called El Torre (The Tower), which is visible and aesthetically magnificent from a good portion of the latter bit of the approach. El Torre jets up out of the hillside and provides a view of San JosĂŠ as an incredible backdrop while climbing. Because of the high altitude, cool temperatures, and amount of mist, lichen has coloured much of the wall in bright oranges, yellows, and greens.

What to Expect

There are various features such as a large slab section, an arĂŞte, and straight vertical wall. Also a large ledge provides a second belay for multi-pitch climbing. There is great potential for expansion on this rock, as the wall around the 6 routes that have been bolted is vacant.

Climbing at Pico Blanco is one hell of an adventure. Including the fact that it is best to stay for the night, one could say that it has the feel of a mini expedition climb. All factors combined, this is the most extreme location of all mentioned in this guide. Not only is getting to the top of the wall a challenge, with the lowest grade being 5.11c, but getting to the base of the wall is also a challenge with solid class 4 trekking constantly uphill through venomous snake inhabited forests with no or little trail to follow. Moreover, the weather and amount of time it takes to get there makes

The Rock

Introduction to Pico Blanco

The metamorphic rock provides visually pleasing arrays of colours, and a physically enjoyable selection of pockets, ledges, and crimps. The rock can be a bit chossy due to the constant heating and cooling from the changing weather. I would highly recommend a helmet.

Difficulty

Hard. Pico is currently home to a number of routes betwee 5.11c, and a project that is estimated to be 5.13b.

Pico Blanco


Eating

Bring all food and water as the closest source of either is a 2 hour hike into San Antonio. Many locals drink from the nearby river regularly without problems. If you are bringing food in, please ensure you take your garbage out.

Camping

Pico Blanco can be climbed in a day, but it is a long day – up early, back late. If you do not wish to get caught in the dark or do not fancy a sunrise wake-up, a less rushed option is to camp and stay overnight, allowing for more time to work the wicked crux on Julieta-ta. The best place to camp is within the pine forest at the base of the rock. There are multiple flat areas where pitching a tent is feasible, and to go to the crag is only a 5 minute walk.

The Weather

The elevation of Pico Blanco (2428m) can be both friend and enemy as weather can change quickly from sunny, windy, and cool, to cloudy, windy, and cold. In the heat of the Costa Rican summer, Pico can be a comforting place to climb thanks to the much cooler temperatures (sometimes 10°C difference or more) found in the mountains in comparison to the valley and city. However the weather can also wreck havoc on your climbing plans. If the cloud ceiling is particularly low, expect the weather on Pico Blanco to be wet, cold, and windy, even if it is hot and sunny in the city. For this reason, it is always good to not only check

the weather forecast before you leave to climb, but also to look up at Pico Blanco and determine if clouds are engulfing the peak.

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.87547121307307 Longitude: -84.14018467068672

By Car

Approximate time: 20 minutes Take highway 27 from the South Sabana west out of San José. You will go under a bridge with a green mural of a butterfly, frog, and train painted on it and then over a large ravine. Take the first exit off the highway after the ravine. There is an EPA on the right and this road will take you down and around to the left under the highway heading southbound. Directly after going under the highway, there will be a Walmart on the right hand side and then a set of lights. Continue straight through the set of lights past a T.G.I.F. restaurant. Maintain on this road, keeping to the left at the gas station. This will take you into central Escazu. You will be forced to take a right (due to the one way streets) and then at Calle 1 make a left. Go south on Calle 1 for approximately 1km, then make a left onto Avenida 8 (this is directly after the Colegio Nuestra Senora del

Pico Blanco

69


70

Pillar). Go to the end of the street and make a right onto Calle 5. Take Calle 5 south for about 1.5km into the town of San Antonio de Escazu. Immediately after the large yellow church with red trim in the center of San Antonio de Escazu, make a right, pass the side of the church, the soccer field, cross a small bridge, and then keep to the left at the merging streets. Follow this road south past the Cementerio San Antonio. At anytime if you are lost or unsure of your bearings, ask for directions to Cementerio San Antonio. Continue south, passing The White House hotel and casino on the left and keeping to the right at Parliament Hill. Another 750m after Parliament Hill the paved road will end. If you think your vehicle can handle light off-roading, continue to the top of the hill, and make a right in the opposite direction of the house with the high cement wall. Follow the dirt road, which will return to being paved for a short hill. At the

top of the hill make a right and park along the trailhead, continuing the remainder of the approach on foot.

By Bus

Approximate time: 30 minutes From San José take the blue San Antonio de Escazu bus from the Coca Cola area. The bus picks up from multiple stops around the Coca Cola, so the best thing to do is to ask where the closest stop is relative to your current location. Get off the bus in San Antonio de Escazu. There is a yellow church with red trim that has a bleak looking rose garden and twin clock towers. There is also a soccer pitch directly in front of the main entrance of the church. After dismounting from the bus it is ‘choose your own adventure’ time. You can: (A) take a 1.5 hour hike up the streets of Escazu until you reach the trailhead, and then hike another 1.5 hours to the rock face. Alternatively, (B) you can take a taxi as far as it will take you and then hike the rest. How far the taxi can take you will depend on if your taxi is fourwheel drive, or if your driver thinks

Pico Blanco


his compact can handle the rough roads. Either way, ask your driver to take you to the White House (La Casa Blanca) Hotel/Casino/Restaurant. From this easily identifiable landmark (via taxi or heel-toe express) continue up the hill, choosing either the right or left of the building marked “Parliament Hill.” If you stay to the right (the shorter route), the paved road will end with a heavily fortified (a retaining wall, electric fence and security cameras) house on the left. Make your way to the top of the fortified house’s property where the road splits to the left and to the right. Make a right turn and continue on the unpaved road for approximately 500 meters until the road becomes paved again and bends up a hill to the left. If you stay to the left of “Parliment Hill” the road remains paved until you hit the dirt raod at the top of the hill next to the heavily fortified house. If your vehicle is not ‘hearty’ I would recommend the longer but paved left route. Continue on the unpaved road.

Along the way you will be able to see rock formations above you on the mountain, but this is not where you will be climbing – although future development may open up this side of the mountain to climbing as well. The rock you are going to faces the opposite way, overlooking San José. After approximately 200 meters the paved hill will summit with a slight turn to the right. At the top of the hill the road will continue to the left, and there on your right will be the main trailhead (which is actually a dirt road for the first 150 meters, but thereafter thins out into a rocky trail only accessible by ATV, horse, dirtbike, mountain bike and foot). Begin the appraoch on foot or ATV, dirtbike, mountain bike, horse, if available.

Approach

Approximate time: 1.5 hours From the trailhead, walk away from the paved road passing the ‘container’ house on the left, followed by a chain-linked fence

Pico Blanco

71


72

that is blocking a driveway leading down to a property. The trail will continue for approximately 10 minutes, until you begin walking parallel to a river. At one point the trail will move closer to the river so that there is direct access to the river. Just after this you will see a potrero on the right hand side. A potrero is a Spanish word that means an area of land that has been cleared for cattle grazing. In this case, this potrero is on the side of Pico Blanco and is surrounded by a barbed wire fence (point of reference A). You will notice many large boulders and trees across the uphill potrero, however for the most part, the land is clear and there is grass. Climb over the fence and enter the portero, being mindful of snakes when crossing the land. As you hike the hill you will be able to see El Torre directly infront of you (point of reference B). Work your way up and to the left, until you reach a pine forest, which is bordered by another barbed wire fence indicating the end of the potrero land. Climb over this fence and continue up the center of the pine forest (point of reference C) for approximately 10 minutes. Where the pine forest ends and the tropical forest begins, slightly to the right, there is a small, easy to miss trail that goes up between two partially ground embedded boulders (point of reference D). If you have a machete and have not been using it, now would be a good time to dawn this tool. Follow the thin trail through athe tropical forest for about 7 minutes until you reach the wall. Be careful for loose

soil as the hiking is steep at some places. Use the surrounding trees to stabilize yourself being mindful of loose or uprooted vegetation that will not hold your bodyweight should you slip. For this part of the trek, bring a walking stick to help ground yourself. The first climbs are directly to the left as you reach the wall.

A

B

C

Pico Blanco


73 D Central San Antonio

~1km

Church

Legend

Cementerio San Antonio

Walk Route Trail Road Potrero Pine Forest Rain Forest The Wall Rock

~200m

~50m

53

52

51 50 49

D A

C B

Pico Blanco


74

Routes

Pico Blanco hosts a great potential for more than the 6 routes that are currently found on a single section of the mountain. With many other rock faces around the summit of Pico Blano, it would not be a suprise if future developments were targeted for this area. All of the routes here are at the harder end of the spectrum and have incredible exposure, with views of San JosĂŠ and the surrounding valley, giving Pico Blanco the feeling of being more like a big wall climb that single pitch sport climbs. Routes are listed counter clockwise starting with El Trepon de la Zeguea.

49) El Trepon de la Zegua, 5.11b, 6c FA:

El Trepon de la Zegua is a fun two-pitch climb, split in the middle by a large sloping, vegetation covered ledge. Although, hardly a true two pitch climb (a 70m rope will run the whole route), the ledge does provide for a very convenient second belay. The first pitch goes at 5.11b, while the second pitch is rated at 5.10b. Start at the large crack and follow it up to the horizontal ledge before traversing to the right, and then continue to follow the crack up the wall into pockets and ledges before the first set of anchors. Top out and set up a top belay on the large ledge before moving on to the juggier second pitch, which continues up the rock tower to the final anchors. Find the very difficult and technical crux at the third bolt. Some may say that this climb is harder than the given grade. Approximate Height 48m (P1 22m, P2 16m), 10 draws

Pico Blanco


75

50) Julieta-ta, 5.12b, 7b FA: David Ulloa

This crazy route has a large roof that you may want to protect with an extended quickdraw. Falling on the crux just after the roof means big whippers for those who venture up this climb. Continue past the crux to the anchors shared with the second pitch of El Trepon de la Zeguea. A 30m rope is just long enough, so make sure to tie a know in the end for safety. Worse case scenario, you rap down to the first pitch anchors of El Trepon de la Zeguea, and then rap again to the ground. Approximate Height 30m, 18 draws

49

51) El Pipiribao, 5.12a, 7a+ FA: David Ulloa

This climb follows a technical crack to a big ledge. On the ledge let your arms take a well-deserved rest before finishing on fun entertaining jugs. If you don’t rest well enough on the ledge, the jugs may make you more pumped that you anticipate. At the top of the route don’t forget to turn around and take in the breath taking views of San José and the surrounding valley. Approximate Height 30m, 18 draws 53

Pico Blanco


76

52) Mangulile, 5.13b, 8a [PROJECT] FA:

Project. Climb the irregularly shaped orange arête. Approximate Height 30m, 18 draws

53) El Cuzuko Sieve, 5.12c, 7b FA:

This large slab that becomes vertical and then slightly overhung is often described as “the best face climb in CR.” Start on the large boulder with a single bolt near the top of the boulder, before climbing up over a smaller boulder and onto the face of the wall where the second bold awaits. Make technical, fun and ever interesting moves to the anchors. Like a great lover, this classic only gets better and better the more you climb it. Approximate Height 20m, 12 draws

Notes

Pico Blanco


Forum

Forum


78

Overview

P.M.

(Only East Wall)

4

What to Expect

Introducition To Forum

Climbing at Forum is a true Costa Rican adventure: Pura Vida! When climbing here don’t expect anything short of thrashing through the jungle, belaying in ferns and vines, and climbing tree roots out of necessity. Sadly Forum can be a little dirty, in almost ever sense of the word, but don’t let that stop you from coming out. Here you are sure to find awesome technical routes worth their sleepless nights.

The wall

There are multiple walls at Forem indicated both by their alphabetical names given on RockClimbing.com and by their nautical manifestations.

FORUM

Section B (The East Wall) is a large flat wall with great exposure but often is extremely dirty after the rainy season. If traffic is low and it is still early in the dry season, you may want to bring some brushes and plan some time to clean some of the holds. With little tree cover, and facing westerly, the East wall also receives the most sun. Climbing midday may be out of the question as the sun makes doing almost anything on the east side of the river extremely sweaty. Section A (The West Wall) is much more featured and therefore does not become as dirty during the rains. Still, a good scrubbing may be needed if you are one of the first on the route after the rainy season. Also the west side of the ravine has much more tree cover and therefore is basically completely shaded by about 11AM onward.

The Rock

The rock at Forum is ignimbrite. Expect pockets, tall vertical cracks and block formations. Forum can be a little sketchy. The heavy rains of the wet season erode the walls and over time large sections of wall have fallen to the ravine floor. It can be an intimidating fact that most of what you are stepping on had to come from where you are climbing at one point in time. Thankfully, to date, no routes have been affected by rock fall and no climbers have been injured. This being said it is important to remember that no matter where you climb, no rock is 100% solid, and all rock


must abide to the natural laws of the environment. Forum is no exception. Take caution when climbing near large blocks, the waterfall, overhanging sections, or loose looking pieces of wall. Also take notice to how cracks may have changed in size and shape. In general, the rock is better to climb later in the dry season, as it is easier to clean, is drier, and is more likely to be settled after the rains. This in mind, the overall rock quality is good and choss is rare.

Difficulty

At the time of writing Forum hosts a great variety of routes ranging in grade from 5.9 to 5.13b. A day out to Forum generally requires serious technical ability and some confidence in climbing prowness. Even the easiest exit out of the ravine, while only being a mild scramble is committing at some areas. At the time of writing 36 routes were available.

Eating

The closest place to get some grub is the Mega Super grocery store across from the Forum Business Complex. If you are looking for a restaurant, you are definitely in the right area. North on the road that is perpendicular to the highway is an area called Lindora, which hosts a plethora of restaurants that serve everything from traditional Tico cuisine to sushi and fast food (including Pizza Hut). Interestingly, Pizza Hut opened its first international franchise location in Costa Rica in 1972, and as a result was one of the first American fast food chains in Costa Rica.

The River

Sadly the potential pure beauty of Forum is seriously tainted by pollution. The river can sometimes smell like sewage and has litter in almost every direction of sight. During the wet season, due to torrential downpour, the river can rapidly swell and therefore extreme caution should be taken. During the dry season the river levels drop so low that you can cross it at almost any point by stepping from stone to stone. Also, as the middle of the day can become quite hot, you can often find cooler air temperatures down by the water.

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.944619916580962 Longitude: -84.19729828834534

By Car

Approximate time: 15 minutes From San José take highway 27 west towards Escazu and Santa Ana. This highway is just south of La Sabaña. Continue on the highway out of San José. You will have to go through the toll, which costs 290 colones. After the toll, you will pass the Multi Plaza mall on the left hand side. You will drive over a large hill and then after about 2km from Multi Plaza you will come to the Forum Business

FORUM

79


80

Complex on the right hand side. Keep your eyes open for a 3-plated road sign indicating the exit for Belen and Santa Ana, as well as the continued highway route to Ciudad Colón. Do not take this exit, but rather exit the highway on the next off ramp. This will be as soon as you see the Forum Business Complex – if you pass it, you can exit at the next off-ramp, take a left through the tunnel and back track.

highway, stay in the right lane as you come down off the overpass and take the first right turn into the Mega Super parking lot. This turn comes before you reach the lights, and is still technically on the offramp. If you miss this turn then take a right at the lights and make your next right to back track to the Mega Super parking lot. Park at the west end of the lot before you start your on foot approach to the crag.

If you exit correctly the road will take you parallel the Forum Business Complex’s main gate. Follow the road onto the overpass, which will allow you to go back towards San José. However instead of getting back onto the

By Bus

FORUM

Approximate time: 30 minutes Getting to Forum is very easy by bus. When in San José get yourself either to the bus terminal for Ciudad Colón


81 Jin Kim takes the lead on Pupis, 5.9.

(called the Comtrasuli Terminal, P: 2416-8036, 2258-3903) or the bus for Santa Ana. The buses for Ciudad Colón are usually white with an orange base, while the buses for Santa Ana are blue. Make sure that the bus you take to Santa Ana is going to Forum 1. I would recommend the bus for Ciudad Colón over that for Santa Ana, as it lets you off directly in front of the Forum Building complex, and hence closer to the climbing. The bus terminal for Ciudad Colón is located on Avenida 1 west of the Coca Cola Market. The bus costs no more than 500 colones (350 colones at the time of this writing, to be exact) and will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Disembark from the bus at the Forum stop. You can ask which stop, or keep your eyes peeled for a large complex of yellow business buildings on the right hand side of the road. The buildings are surrounded by a long yellowish wall. On the wall a metal sign reads “Genesis” in cursive writing. Across the highway there is a Mega Super grocery store. In order to catch the bus back to San José, from where the bus dropped you off, walk across the highway and east for about 20m to the trees. The trees are situated inbetween the off-ramp adjacent to Mega Super and the highway. A Ciudad Colón bus heading back to San José pases

FORUM


82

by here every 30 minutes and will pick you up if you flag it down.

The Approach

Approximate time: 12 miuntes The bus will let you off on the side of the highway. If you arrived by car, a good place to park is on the south side of the highway in the Mega Super parking lot (see green P on map). There are multiple ways to get into the ravine of Rio Uruca, all of which require rappelling down into the ravine from a tree. You can enter the ravine from the west or the east side. If it is late in the dry season, the river is very easy to cross and therefore it does not matter which side you enter from. However, if you are entering Forum in the early dry season, or anytime during the wet season (not recommended), the river may still be high and therefore crossing the river once in the ravine may not be an option. If this is the case, you will want to enter from the side you wish to climb, keeping in mind the inability to cross the river.

Entering from the West Wall (Section A) To enter Forum from the west side, starting at Mega Super walk west for 100m. This will take you under the overpass and over a bridge that is overtop the Rio

FORUM

Manuel Ibarra on La Raimunda, 5.12a.


Uruca. After the river there is a path below the highway running parallel to the river. Walk north along the path in the same direction as the river’s flow. If you are on the south side of the highway, there is no need to cross the highway and chance being struck by a car. Instead, hop the guardrail and walk down to the path; there is a tunnel that runs under the highway. From the highway walk north approximately 100m until an obviously large tree on the right hand side indicates a smaller trail that moves toward the ravines edge. This is indicated as point of reference A on the accompanying map. By chance if you miss the large tree the path will continue towards a group of houses. If you see the houses you have gone too far. Follow the smaller trail and on the right side you will find a small opening in the trees. A second small opening hosts a tree that overhangs the ravine and is your rappel point (shown as point of reference B on the map). To the bottom of the ravine is just under 30m, and therefore you will need to rappel down to the anchors of La Buseta, or set up a rappel station on the overhanging tree. About 1.5m under the edge, there is a ledge from where you can set up a station; make sure you are secure and safe before going down to the ledge. You may notice that the overhanging tree has a reddish bark that flakes. Interestingly, in Belize, the locals have nicknamed these trees ‘tourist trees’ because their skin peels like that of a tourist who has seen too much sun.

Exiting from the West Wall In order to exit the ravine from the west there are two options. The first is to climb out using La Buseta. Climb to the anchors, and then continue up the parallel cracks toward the next, extra, bolt. From the extra bolt traverse left to the small ledge. From here you can either top out and set up a top belay or use the ledge to set up a top belay. However, after a long day of climbing, perhaps your arms are tired and topping out the 5.11a extension of La Buseta does not appear so appealing. The second option for exiting the ravine from the West Wall is to climb out using a strangler fig tree near the rivers merger. Hike north (downriver) until you reach a large tree with a waist high column root near the merger of the rivers (see point of interest C on the accompanying map). Getting to the tree may require crossing the river multiple times if debris blocks direct access on the west bank. From the large tree with the protruding waist high column root, scramble up the hill to a small boulder pile. Continue hiking towards the wall, moving right about 10m as you ascent. Keep your eyes open for a relatively flat, open area of the wall that has a perfectly formed root ladder (point of reference D on the accompanying map). Perhaps some of the most fun climbing you can do, jug-haul

FORUM

83


84

up the roots to the path, and head back south towards the highway.

Entering From The East Wall (Section B) Before venturing access from the east side of the ravine, it is important to note the following. Although The Clinic has been out of use for nearly 40 years, it is still private property. There have been rumors of a displeased landowner who does not enjoy people walking to the ravine across his land. However most trips in and out are completed without complication or even seeing anyone on the deserted land. Also through the grapevine, The Clinic itself, which is rather creepy, was a corrupt business venture that saw investors loose their money. Interestingly, despite being on prime real estate to cater to Costa Rica’s wealthier communities, no mention of sale or redevelopment has surfaced. At the time of writing, some members in the climbing community are actively working towards resolving the eastside access issues. From Mega Super cross the highway so that you are directly in front of the large arched entrance to Forum Business Complex. Walk in the same direction of highway traffic (west), towards the overpass. To the right of the overpass is a large red gate. Climb over or under the gate and then follow the road north. You will approach an old run down building known as The Clinic. Stay to the left of the building,

FORUM

following the road. On the right you will pass what was at one time to be the reception area, and flagpole of The Clinic. The road will take a bend to the right, from here turn 90Âş to the left and walk to the tree line at the top of the ravine. Be careful, the cliff is just beyond the tree line and can be hard to identify. Continue north along the tree line until there is a small break in the trees with the exception of a single large tree with a dark spot near the ground on its trunk close to the cliffs edge. On the accompanying map this tree is indicated as point of reference F. This tree acts as a marker for the top of La Raimunda, which is the northern most route on The East Wall. Use the smaller tree about 3 meters from the edge to rappel to the anchors of La Raimunda, secure yourself, pull the rope to the anchors, and then rappel the remainder of the length to the bottom of the ravine.

Exiting from The East Wall To get out of Forum from the East Wall, walk north (direction of river flow) along the base of The East Wall past La Raimunda. Just around the arĂŞte of the large detached section of rock (easily identifiable by the chimney to the left of La Raimunda) at the end of the wall you will find the large roots of a strangler fig tree that clings to the rock wall. Using the roots, scramble out of the ravine. This is illustrated as point of reference E on the accompanying map. For the easiest exit, traverse left while climbing to find an opening that leads you to The Clinic.


85

Manuel Ibarra a couple moves shy of the prize on La Raimunda, 5.12a.

FORUM


86

A

B

C

E

F

G

D

The Clinic

e Se

Rio

Forum Comple Ur

t

en m

ge ar

l En

uc a

To Ciudad Colon ~6km

FORUM


87

F E C D

G A

B

To Lindora and Juan SantamarĂ­a International Airport ~12km l ote yH alit eal R ose nJ Sa

Qu

~ 100m

Pizza Hut

tel Ho rt Inn o f m Co

To San Jose ~7km

m ex

Legend X

X

To Santa Ana ~1.5km

P Mega Super

P

Parking

X

Bus Stop Drive Route Walk Route Small Trail BigTrail

FORUM


88

Routes

There are 4 areas to explore at Forum. These ares are The East Wall, The West Wall, The Waterfall, and The River Fork.

The East Wall (Section B)

This side of the ravine hosts a large, flat wall with great climbs such as La Raimunda, and La Paulina which follow the long cracks that stretch from the base of the wall to the top. Becuase the wall has few features and the grounds surrounding The Clinic does not host an abundance of vegetation, during the rainy season runoff can fill holds and cracks with mud. If the wall is not cleaned for seasons at a time, vegetation taking advantage of the year long growing season can often begin to grow. Therefore it is a good idea to bring some cleaning gear (brushes, machete, etc.), just in case.

54) La Raimunda, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

A Forum favorite with many climbers, La Raimunda is named after Ry Morrison, who besides being one of the first Costa Rican climbers to explore Forum, also bolted and supplied the bolts for the route. The climb is half balancing act, half pocketish-crimp fest worth the early rise or patient wait to beat out the intensely hot midday sun. Due to its position on the wall La Raimunda receives sun as early as 10:30am, which continues until about 2:30pm. As for the climbing, expect easy juggy moves until the ledge: this is where the climb really starts. After the ledge, an enjoyable no hands rest, a mix of laybacks, crimps, and a wild right handed catch to a pocket, you will work your way to the crux. If your fingers are feeling strong, then breeze through the crux to the larger holds just before the super shut anchors. If your fingers have gone on strike, don’t worry the falls are all clean. Approximate Height 18m, 8 draws

FORUM


89

55) La Paulina, 5.11d, 7a FA:

Just to the right of La Raimunda, is La Paulina, named after Paul, who also donated the funds for the bolts and anchors. La Paulina starts off difficult as it follows a finger-sized crack before it reaches some fun movements and then eases up with large juggy cracks near the top. Stand on the boulder to clip the first bolt and then use the obvious thin crack to crank up over the lip. An extremely enjoyable climb with hard moves early and a rewarding final 5 meters. Finish at the super shuts. Approximate Height 18m, 8 draws

56) Lateralus, 5.11d, 7a FA:

Directly to the right of La Paulina, Lateralus begins slightly to the left of the large crescent shaped dislodged rock at the base of the wall. Use a couple of large angled cracks to rest during your push for the anchors. Approximate Height 18m, 8 draws

Carolina Arcila and Eduardo Baldioceda Baltodano climb Biscochelo de Fresa and Pupis, respectively.

FORUM


90

57) Boca del Diablo, 5.12d, 7c FA:

Easy to identify thanks to a homemade bolt about 5 meters off the ground and near the center of the wall, Boca del Diablo is a combination of hard crimp moves with an evident dynamic crux for a splash of extra spicy. Approximate Height 18m, 9 draws

58) La Usurpadora, 5.12d, 7c FA:

Use the jug above the lip of the roof to pull onto the face and then continue on shallow pockets. Approximate Height 18m, 9 draws

55

FORUM

56

57


91

59) La Mala Vibra, 5.13a, 7c+ FA:

Make it over the initial lip and continue onto the face and don’t be too disappointed if you get turned down by the 5.13 dyno move that makes up the crux. Good luck. Approximate Height 20m, 9 draws

60) Sensortrifulcador, 5.12d, 7c FA:

A difficult and sustained climb inbetween La Mala Vibra and Extractor. Make magic happen by getting through the roof, and then follow the thin pockets and flaring finger cracks to the top of the wall. Approximate Height 18m, 9 draws

64

58

59

60

61

62

63

FORUM


92

61) Extractor, 5.12a, 7a FA:

Easy jug hauln’ until the face where it’s down to buisness. Getting over the lip or trying not to pump out, choose your crux. Approximate Height 18m, 10 draws

62) Al-Qaeda, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

Start on the irregularly shaped arête to the left of Biscochelo de Fresa. Climb to the roof and pull through the easy jugs and onto the face, finishing at the bolts just below a small overhanging tree. Approximate Height 18m, 8 draws

63) Biscochuelo de Fresa, 5.10b, 6a+ FA:

Use the protruding crack of Dos Cortos and the face to the left to stem all the way up to the anchors. If your legs get tired there are some pockets, ledges, and larger cracks that will allow a rest or two, but for the real experience, go the whole way. Finish at the same anchors as Dos Cortos. Approximate Height 15m, 8 draws

64) Dos Cortos, 5.10a, 6a FA:

Easily distinguishable by the parallel vertical running finger cracks, you will find this climb at the far right of the East Wall. The climb is a great warm-up for some of the others in the ravine. If you are familiar with jamming, and the cracks are clean, 5.9 may seem more appropriate. However the cracks are rarely clean enough to provide a feeling of security and if climbing the route without solid jamming ability, more than not, the grade of 5.10a seems appropriate. Whether you are jamming or not, climb directly up the vertical cracks to the horizontal crack and high step over the ledge for a rest. Use the cracks and good feet to get up to the slight overhang and the real challenge. As feet and hands thin out and you are forced to decide for more crack or big stretchy moves, your head will become the crux. Make some commitment and pull through the overhang to the anchors. This route is also a great route to be done on trad. Approximate Height 12m, 7 draws, Trad

FORUM


93

65) La Pupy, 5.9, 5c FA:

To the left of Dos Cortos you will find Pupis. A great climb for beginners who are looking for a mental challenge as the crux move requires commitment to pull 64 off. This climb starts off by following the large crack up to a high first bolt. Continue towards the crux, where you must get a good stance to go wide with your hands and pull up onto the face. Once you have managed to go around the overhand and are on the face, use the two cracks to shimmy 65 up to the anchors that lay slightly to the upper left of the final bolt. This route can also be done on trad. Approximate Height 12m, 6 draws, Trad

66

66) EccĂŠntrica, 5.10a, 6a FA:

Just around the corner to the right from Biscochuelo de Fresa, Dos Cortos, and Pupis, is another wonderful crack climb: Hexentrica. Follow the large cracks straight up to the anchors. This route can also be done on trad. Because this area is exposed to a lot of sunlight, overgrowth occurs fairly quickly. Approximate Height 12m, 7 draws

FORUM


94

Jin Kim takes the lead on Pupis, 5.9.

FORUM


95

The West Wall (Section A)

The west side of the ravine hosts an excellent variety of climbs. Everything from 5.5 to 5.13b can be found here. Climbs are lsited right to left when facing the wall starting with the northern most climb.

67) KinderGrieta, 5.5, 4b FA:

Whack your way through the bush to the left of La Buseta and hidden in a chute you will find the sure to be overgrown and dirty KinderGrieta. An easy climb that can also act as an exit route from the ravine. Climb the large blocks to the top. Approximate Height, 19m

68) La Pupynela, 5.9, 5c FA:

Missing bolts. Can be done on trad. Approximate Height 16m, 2 draws, Trad

69) La Buseta, 5.10b, 6a+ FA:

With an overhanging tree at the top of the route, La Buseta is often used as the rappel spot for a West wall entry. The climb is easily distinguishable by its vertical white watermark and it’s parallel running hand-sized cracks at the top of the route. It is also the most northern (farthest to the right, when facing the wall) route on the west wall. The large cracks on the route allow for trad climbing, although the route is bolted. Expect a tricky start up multiple finger cracks to a rest ledge before moving into the larger hand cracks and layback moves. Finish at the anchors, or continue climbing past the anchors to the extra bolt and then the rappelling tree if you wish to climb out of the ravine. Note that climbing out by La Buseta increases the difficulty to 5.10d. Approximate Height 16m (20m with top out), 6 draws (8 draws), Trad

FORUM


96

70) El Vuelo del Palomo, 5.10d, 6b+ FA:

This fun climb starts to the left of La Buseta. Ascend your way up to the overhanging cobra head-like rock formation before you make the high and wide crux grab. Missing the move on lead provides riders with big, clean falls. It is a good route to learn how to handle a roof section. If you are short, this route becomes much much harder, as the crux is now a dyno or a thin crack that acts as an intermediate to get you to the jug. Approximate Height 19m, 9 draws

71) La Eleccion, 5.11a, 6c FA:

This route hosts a great mix of crimps, pockets, jugs and stemming. Located two routes to the left of La Buseta, start on some technical and crimpy moves that traverse slightly to the right before making headway to a horizontal crack with a rest. The mildly overhanging section of the climb provides the physical crux of the route, with a key two-finger pocket that allows for quick movement onto a more vertical face with a ledge. Most likely to be dirty, but a great resting location nonetheless, the ledge also provides a little mental confidence before you continue upward through the final section of the route where handholds become scarce and stemming and friction based moves are more likely to get you to the super shuts. Approximate Height 16m, 6 draws

72) La Via Lactea, 5.12b, 7b FA:

This extremely technical climb is an instant classic with it’s variety of moves, holds and climbing styles. Two climbs to the right of Chiquisa (with it’s easily identifiable overhang) La Via Lactea begins with tactful moves up the small arête to the left of the first bolt before a layback allows you to reach the two finger pocket (mono if your fingers are really large) and hoist up to the horizontal crack. Sneak a rest before using the sharp crimp to assist your attempt to the small jug. From here things really start to get fun with a gaston, a high step, a compression, and a stretch for a taxing pocket that is deceivingly comfortable. If you find yourself on a right facing block handhold, congratulations your work, for the most part, is complete. Finish the remainder of the route with everyone’s favorite type of climbing; big moves to big jugs. Just hope that the lactic acid in your arms hasn’t reached a tipping point that will see your send attempt take a downfall. Approximate Height 16m, 6 draws

FORUM


97

Carolina Arcila eyes her next hold on El Vuelo del Palmono, 5.10d.

FORUM


98

74

76

75

73) Aquella Via [PROJECT] FA:

Start with the two mono pockets on an otherwise blank face and go directly up. Includes a uber hard dyno from two crimps, a bad left foot, to a sloping crimp. Complete that and then finish Aquella directly above. Good luck. Approximate Height 16m, 7 draws

74) Aquella, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

Start on the same line as Chiquisa,using a side pull and some delicate moves to climb up to the second bolt and then head right. Continue towards the roof keeping right of the overhang to a open book. Use a mixture of stemming and higgen hand and foot holds to work your way up the open book before some lovable jugs, and a final push for the anchors. Approximate Height 16m, 7 draws

FORUM


99

75) ChiquizĂĄ, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

This route has a little bit of everything. Technical and delicate, yet fun climbing on crimps with seemingly perfectly placed jugs for resting. Climb to the large overhanging roof where large jugs reside. In order to avoid some serious rope drag on the sharp edge of the overhang, don’t forget your extended draw. After resting under the roof, make the bold brawny moves through the monster jugs to haul yourself on top of the overhang. Now that you are done with the fun, get down to business as hand and foot holds almost completely disappear. Hug the refrigerator sized block with all four limbs, pray for great friction, think like a boulderer, and scramble to the anchors shared with Aquella to the left Approximate Height: 16m, 7 draws

76) Mr. Ed, 5.9, 5c FA:

The large features and low overhanging cover of Mr. Ed often means that the climb can be dirty. However the route still acts as a good warm up, both physically and mentally. Start climbing difficult, almost awkward moves traversing up and to the left. Rest on a large ledge before looking up and realizing that your next bolt is further away than anticipated. Grow a pair and move with confidence through the easy moves to the anchors. Approximate Height: 16m, 6 draws

77) Avispon Negro, 5.11b, 6c FA:

The first route after you walk past Mr. Ed down a small hill towards the waterfall. Start on a large obvious jug at about arms reach above head level. Incomplete information on this route. Approxiamate Height 16m, 6 draws

73

FORUM


100

78) La Berraca, 5.11b, 6c FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 16m, 5 draws

79) Tractomula, 5.12a, 7a+ FA:

Start on a slightly overhanging dihedral with a layback crack across from a tree. Work the layback to a good rest, and then continue to follow the crack until a ledge where you can really rest it out, no-hands style. From the ledge use the pockets and some high feet to haul over the overhang and onto the slab before the anchors. Handholds really start to disappear as you climb over the final bolt and make for the super shuts. A word of warning, the slab at the top of the route is often very dirty after the rainy season. Approximate Height 18m, 8 draws

80) El Bejuco, 5.10a, 6a FA:

Aptly named El Bejuco is easily identifiable due to the long strangler fig root that stretches from the top of the wall, all the way to the bottom of the ravine. Approximate Height 16m, 5 draws

81) Toxicity, 5.12c, 7b+ FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 18m, 7 draws

82) Astro-Boy, 5.9, 5c FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 16m, 6 draws

83 82

FORUM

81

80


83) Astro-Boy Extension, 5.12d, 7c FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 18m, 7 draws

The Waterfall (Section E)

This area is situated at the south easternly most section of the ravine, directly to the left of the waterfall, when facing the waterfall. The routes here are all long and hard. Spray from the waterfall can lead to dirt and mud on the climbs, especially during the rainy season. Rock fall has been whitnessed here. Little information has been gathered on this area.

84) Susan, 5.11b, 6c FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height ?m, ? draws `

85) El Dia Menos Pensado, 5.11c, 6c+ FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height ?m, ? draws

86) El Aprendiz, 5.12b, 7c FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 20m, 7 draws 79

78

FORUM

101


102

87) La Cuca, [PROJECT] FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 30m, 7 draws

88) Malacrianza, 5.12d, 7c FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 30m, 7 draws

89) La Juana, [PROJECT] FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 30m, 7 draws

The River Fork (Section D)

For the utterly curious, there is a single route near the fork of the two rivers, on the north side of the ravine.

90) La Malanga, 5.11a, 6c FA:

Being relatively far from the other climbs at Forum and hosting a physical scramble up to the uncleaned base of the climb, La Malanga, perhaps unsurprisingly, rarely sees action. If you do venture north to where the rivers meet and feel like giving it a shot, expect a decent mix of hold and crack climbing. A word of warning, the wall that La Malanga calls home can be a tad chossy; helmets are always a good idea. Approximate Height ?, ? draws, Trad

FORUM


103

Holds quickly disappear on Astro-Boy as Christian Schwagereit discovers.

FORUM


104

Notes

FORUM


Aserri

Piedra de aserri

Climbing pioneer Koky tackling the final moves of the crux on El Diedro, 5.11b.


106

Overview T.R.

A.M.

What to Expect

Introduction to Piedra de Aserri

Just south of San JosĂŠ, on the border of a town named Aserri, a 30m high boulder jets out of the hillside and is well known by locals due to its prominence on the landscape.

If you wish to visit Piedra de Aserri it is recommended by locals that you do so in a larger group of 5 to 10, stating that theft and muggings have been issues in the past.

The wall

A massive boulder displaying a large white cross on top composes all the routes on a single wall. For most of the wall the bottom 5 meters are vertical and therefore support the majority of the crux moves before the wall leans forward slightly and the climbing turns to slab. The top of the wall has some vegetation that can easily be removed, or avoided. Unfortunately, it would seem that a teenage ritual is to throw garbage off the top of the rock, and therefore some of the vegetation acts as a catch basin for debris. Likewise watch for glass at the bottom of the wall. The view while standing on top of the boulder is worthwhile, and given the accessibility to the top, this is one of the few climbing in Costa Rica where topping out is an option.

P i e d R a d e a s e rr i


107 A

B

The Rock

Unique to any other climbing in Costa Rica, at Piedra de Aserri you will find tons of small knobby rock protrusions that act as both crimps and pinches. As you stand with all your weight bearing down on a knob the size of a black bean, the thought of the tiny protruding rock breaking off commonly drifts through your mind, however the rock is surprisingly strong and of good quality. The texture of the rock is very rough, and finger pads wear down fairly quickly.

Eating

The 30 minute walk up to the rock puts you 30 minutes from your closest food source, so it is best to plan ahead and take some food and water with you. At the base of the approach there is a small super market (point of interest A) where you can get some last minute munchies or some after climbing rehydration. Within the town of Aserri there are also restaurants, sodas, and larger grocery stores.

Difficulty

Eight routes range in difficulty from 5.10a to 5.12a. The slab nature of the rock provides finger strength moves with key balancing poses.

p i e d R a DE a s e rr i


108

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.86144073936831 Longitude: -84.10413846373558

By Car

Approximate time: 35 minutes The combination of congestion, one way roads, and nameless streets makes getting to Aserri a challenge to say the least. The best thing to do is to constantly ask locals for directions, first to Aserri, and then once in Aserri, to Piedra de Asseri. From downtown San José, take Calle Central south until it turns into Costa Rica Highway 214 (which is actually just a regular, busy Costa Rican road). You will come to a roundabout that goes under the highway; continue south on 214. Continue on 214 for approximately 5km where 214 will combine with 209 and become 209 on a single road continuing south. You will pass a cemetery on the right hand side and after another kilometer or so you have reached the town of Aserri. From here it is best to ask a local for directions to the rock. After passing the church and municipality building in the center of Aserri, continue straight through the next two intersections and then at the ‘Y’ in the road stay left. Drive for another 500m and park at the minisuper (small store or convenience store) on the

right side (see point of interest A). From here you will walk.

By Bus

Approximate time: 1hour Catch the bus to Aserri from the center of San José. Ask around for the correct bus stop as the bus goes past the very busy intersection of Calle Central and The Interamericana Highway. Ensure that the Aserri bus you get on is for Barrio Mercedes. Tell the bus driver that you are going to Piedra de Aserri and he will drop you off at the minisuper (point of reference A) where you will start your approach.

Approach

Approximate time: 20-30 miuntes From the minisuper (point of reference A), where you can already see the rock up on the hill above you, walk north east down the hill on the side of the minisuper. When a dirt road splits off the main road to the left, follow it up a short hill, and then when a smaller trail breaks off to the right (point of reference B) up the hill, follow it. This sometimes steep trail will go directly to the base of the rock and will continue to the top of the rock where the white cross is.

P i e d R a d e a s e rr i


B

209

A

Aserri

~ 100m

To San Jose

109

p i e d R a DE a s e rr i


110

Locking off on duel crimps, Luciana Smania pulls through the frist few moves on El Sombrero, 5.10b.

P i e d R a d e a s e rr i


Routes

Being so prominent on the landscape, it is of no surprise that Aserri was one of the first climbing areas bolted in Costa Rica. Relive some of the history and scale the climbs done by the pioneers. Climbs are listed from left to right when facing the wall.

91) Unidentified FA:

From left to right this is the first route on the wall. Start at the base of the left side of the wall under the large sloper ledge. Make the easy moves to mount the ledge and find the first bolt slightly above your head. Continue up the wall on decent holds until the crux at the slight overhang. Finish on the shared anchors with Verdugo. Approximate Height 20m, 7 draws

92) El Verdugo, 5.11b, 6c FA:

From left to right, El Verdugo is the second route on the wall and shares the anchors with the above unknown climb. Find the crux where you would expect it, with the overhang near the anchors. Approximate Height 20m, 7 draws

93) Pan Comida, 5.10a, 6a FA:

The third climb from the left, Pan Comido is a fun and crimpy route that is a good finger warm up before trying out some of the 5.11’s. Atypical for many of the routes here, the crux can be found almost directly in the center of the climb where you will meet a bit of an overhang and a somewhat burly move for Aserri’s normally delicate personality. If you can find the good hold, the crux move is piece of cake. Post crux, easy, big holds on slab are worked until the anchors up and to the right. Approximate Height 25m, 8 draws

p i e d R a DE a s e rr i

111


112

94) El Diablo, 5.10a, 6a FA:

This top rope route goes directly up the wall between the two black water marks. Expect small rock knobs and crimpy pinch climbing for the first half, and then easier slab for the second half. This is quintessential Piedra de Aserri climbing. Meet the crux about a quarter of the way up the route as obvious hand holds become not so obvious. Approximate Height 25m, Top Rope

95) El Sombrero, 5.10b, 6a+ FA:

Find this bolted climb running slightly to the right of the larger black water mark. Start at the dislodged triangle rock at the bottom of the wall, pulling a couple of easy moves to stand on top and clip the first piece of protection. The crux of this particular climb is getting above the first bolt, and once this is accomplished you will find fun knobby climbing until a large ledge that splits the route in half. Continue to the anchors and keep a level head as you runout from the last bolt to the anchors for a little more than 5 meters. Approximate Height 25m, 8 draws

96) La Placa, 5.10a, 6a FA:

Starting just to the right of the trianglular rock, La Placa is a decent top rope climb that moves up the wall in between El Sombrero and El Diedro. Start with crimpy moves on nearly vertical wall and feet that you need to trust will do their job. If your feet keep good on their responsibilities you will make it to the large ledge. After the ledge the climb turns into slab and small knobs characteristic of Aserri. Approximate Height 25m, Top Rope

P i e d R a d e a s e rr i


113

Alejandro Marten keeps his balance with a pinch as he scouts out his next hold on Pan Comida.

p i e d R a DE a s e rr i


114

97) El Diedro, 5.11c, 6c+ FA:

This climb starts at the small dihedral to the right of the center of the wall. The first moves are bouldery, fun and technical, making an onsight to this route a real challenge. Once you have reached the first bolt, continue directly up and then slightly to the left for easier slab climbing and then finally the anchors shared with El Sombrero. Keep your nerves intact for the 5 meter run out between the last bolt and the anchors. Approximate Height 25m, 8 draws

92

93

94

P i e d R a d e a s e rr i


115

98) El Gerrero FA:

Just around the corner of the rock to the right of El Diedro is El Gerrero. This bolted climb offers a bit of variation from the other climbs on the wall. It starts with technical moves on holds other than crimps, however if you miss the crimps and knobs then all you have to do is climb on, and you will find what you have been looking for a little higher up. Approximate Height 25m, 8 draws There are an additional 4 unidentified routes around the right side of the boulder. More information on these routes needs to be collected.

99

95

96

97

98

p i e d R a DE a s e rr i


116

Notes

P i e d R a d e a s e rr i


Providencia

Providencia


118

Overview T.R.

Variable

Variable

place bursting with opportunity for the adventure lover. Already well known for its great quantity and quality of bouldering, Provi also hosts amazing hiking, and mountain biking and even some serious tree climbing with 30+ meter high trees and grades estimated up to 5.12 Although rock route climbing is still in the development stage, with much of the work being done by Eric Allen, some top rope and sport climbs are scattered around the valley. The map of the town provided is meant to be a rough outline to what is where. However it is highly recommended that you inquire about a guide in town if you wish to get a full experience. All the climbs, bouldering and non-bouldering, are on private land, so please ask the landowner for permission to climb prior to doing so.

What to Expect

Introduction to Providencia

If visiting Provi for its superb bouldering, I would highly recommend picking up Sierra Allen’s Costa Rica Bouldering guidebook. This comprehensive guidebook provides all the beta for the boulders in Provi, Cerro de la Muerte and beyond.

Situated in a valley in the heart of the Talamanca mountain range, Providencia (or Provi) is a magical

Providencia


119

The wall

Many of the ‘walls’ you will be climbing are in fact boulders that are too high for unroped climbing. Each particular wall will be described in the routes section.

The Rock

In general you can expect weather worn rock that is slabby with loads of crimps.

Difficulty

Sleeping

The development of the town’s reputation for bouldering has sparked climbers to come from San José on weekends and vacations. In turn, locals have met the demand for sleeping arrangements and now there are numerous places to stay in the valley. For real at home charm I would recommend Doña Ana’s Bed and Breakfast (point of interest F on the provided map). For any bed expect to pay $10 to $20 per person per night.

Expect to find a find a good range of climbs from 5.7 to 5.13, however the exact current quantity of climbs is unknown.

Eating

There is a couple of restaurant/soda and small grocery store options in town. Most places that offer a bed also offer meals at a fixed price – just ask.

Providencia


120 A

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.556740241499645 Longitude: -83.86619567871094

By Car

Approximate travel time: 2 hours 4x4 vehicle required Exit San José on the Interamerican Highway (also called the Pan American Highway and Costa Rica Highway 2) eastbound towards Cartago. Just outside of San José you will pass a large mall with movie theater on the left side. Immediately after the mall you will come to a toll booth (the toll is approximately 100 colones). Continue on Highway 2 for another hour, passing the turnoff for Cartago. The highway will take you up into the mountains surrounding Cartago. As you drive the curving and continuously upward sloping road, take in the great vistas of Cartago city and Irazú volcano. On Highway 2, approximately 75km’s from San Jose, you will arrive near the top Cerro De La

Muerte where on the left hand side of the road you will find Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1 (point of reference A). Note that there are 3 Cafeteria Los Chespiritos that you will pass, and the final one is the one you are interested in. If you need a snack, here is a good place to get it before you go off the highway, however there are a couple of small grocery stores in Provi. From Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1 make the next right turn onto a dirt road beside the office for Parque National Los Quetzales (point of reference B). Follow the road down to the town in the valley for approximately 14km of scenic driving.

By Bus

Approximate time: 4-6 hous In San José make your way to the new MUSOC bus terminal (P:22222422 or 2223-0686) on Calle Central in between avenidas 22 and 24. It is best to buy your tickets in advance during the weekday, and make sure that you are there at least 30 minutes prior to departure. You want to buy a ticket to San Isidro which will cost approximately 3000 colones. Mention that you are disembarking the bus on Cerro de la Muerte at the Cafeteria Los Chesporitos #1 (point of reference A). Likewise you can also say that you

Providencia


B

To Interamericana Hwy

121 To Multipitch 100

101

C

D

~ 1km

Town Center

C

D

E Waterfall/ Swimming Hole

F

E

F 102

103

104

Providencia


122

are getting off at Parque National Los Quetzales (point of reference B). It is best to ask about returning by bus in advance to determine if you are required to purchase a ticket. The bus leaves at 5:30 am, 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5:00 pm. After getting off the bus you can either walk the very beautiful, but very long, 14km hike down into Providencia, or you can

stand near the entrance to the national park office and hitch a ride. Obviously, the latter option holds a greater deal of uncertainty. If you choose to walk down, it is very straightforward. There are no turns or places to get lost; so long you stay on the single road into Providencia.

Carolina Arcila top belays Christian Schwagereit on the final pitch of La Panzola, 5.8.

Providencia


123

Routes

Regretfully, the route information below is unrefined in comparison to the other sections of this guidebook. Hopefully there is enough information provided to scout out each climbing spot and build your own beta. The climbing walls (which more often than not are high highball boulders) are listed as numbered on the map in the How to Get There section of this chapter. Each wall has various climbs as listed below.

Wall 1: The Multipitch

Two anchor sets side by side are at the top of the wall. The large wall has great potential for numerous additional routes, although finding it can be a real challenge, and the chances of getting lost are too high to warrant the hike without a local guide. Take a 15 minute drive northeast of town and then a 25 minute hike to the wall. Best to ask a local about how to get here. It is easy to become lost and the thick vegetation makes finding the wall difficult.

99) La Panzola, 5.8, 5b FA:

This hard to find rote is the top pitch of a possible 5 or 6 pitch climb. At the time of writing only the top two pitches have been bolted, but plans are in the works to complete the entire length of the wall. Using the anchors to the left when facing the edge, climbing the final pitch is easy slab with good edge like pockets with a run out about half way, and a crux finish for the anchors. Approximate Height 20m, 9 draws Information regarding the remainder of the pitches is needed.

Wall 2: Near Pirate Boulder The Pirate boulder is a irregularly shaped boulder on the right side of the road as you enter the town coming from the highway. It has been painted to look like a pirate and hence the name. There are many excellent boulder routes in the area and even some top rope climbs. More information is needed regarding all the climbs in this area.

Providencia


124

100) Name Unknown FA:

A large rock hosts three routes with anchors at the top. Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height ?m, ? draws, Top Rope

Wall 3: Enrique and Ana’s Rock

Behind Enrique and Ana’s Bed and Breakfast there is a large rock surrounded by coffee plants that posses top anchors for setting up a top rope and having some fun. No actual routes have been designated, but roping in and warming up on this easy access highball prior to heading out for the day is always enjoyable.

101) Name Unknown

For the most part expect slab with small crimps, ledges and pinches, with the odd good hold thrown in. For some more physical movements to and from large huecos, move to the south side of the boulder where the climb is shorter but more vertical. Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 10m, Top Rope

Wall 4: Riverside Roped Climbs Down by the river, 3 routes are on a large rock with top anchors and one bolted climb.

102) Name Unknown FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height

Providencia


125

Great exposure on the 5.8 slab climb, La Panzola.

Wall 5: The South Rock 103) El Sendero de La Vida, 5.11b, 6c+ FA: Eric Allen

Start at the base of the rock and follow easy climbing until a large ledge. Continue up the rock and balance on micro crimps through the long crux before an easy finish, with the possibility for top out. Due to the nature of the rock and the heat and cooling cycles of the sun, holds can break, and sometimes the route must be reinvented. Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 25m, 11 draws

104) Name Unknown, 5.8, 5b FA: Eric Allen

When at the top of the rock facing east, this climb is to the right (at the base of the rock facing the wall, the climb is to the left) of El Sendero de La Vida. Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height, 27m, 11 draws

Providencia


126

Tree Climbing

Perhaps when you were younger your first adornment from the instinctive joy of climbing was from a tree. It would seem that climbing trees as a youth is ubiquitous across culture, race, and sex. Sadly for most, somewhere in the process of maturation, tree climbing becomes weaned out. Well my friend it is time to rediscover your inner tree climber, but in a whole new way. Providencia offers a variety of tree climbs that can be as easy as 5.5 rock climbing and as hard as 5.12. This unique climbing is mainly thanks to the strangler fig trees, which provide up to 35 meter high climbable ‘routes’. By no means are any of the tree climbs here a small feat and therefore protection for potential falls is required. The best solution for protection is to bring a ton of slings and girth hitch branches and columns of root as you go. Some of the better climbing trees are one road north (on the west side of the road before the bridge) of Enrique and Ana’s Bed and Breakfast (see subset of the map, below). Make sure to ask the landowner before you climb. Once you have permission, follow the easy trail to the trees. The first tree you will see has a steep overhang with a large column root starting at the base and following the underside of the tree up to the top. This climb is estimated to be in the hard 5.10 range, and is the only fully inverted climb listed in this guidebook. Continuing up the path towards the right you will come across an obvious and very tall strangler fig. The west side of the tree (much vegetation) provides easy climbing around 5.8, while the east side (no vegetation) includes a much harder pinchy 5.12 climb with little protection. At the base of the same tree you will notice an area cut out that allows you to step inside the tree. Stepping inside you will notice that the strangler fig has killed off the Waterfall/ original tree, and now leaves Swimming E a tall hollow column. You can climb the inside of the tree as Hole well, which may be a good method for setting up top ropes. As with most of Providencia, the best way to get the most out of your experience in the valley is to acquire the assistance of a local guide to take you to these locations.

F

Providencia


127

Providencia


128

Notes

Providencia


Cerro de La Muerte Cerro De la


130

Overview

of the Interamericana connecting north and south Costa Rica.

T.R.

A.M.

2

What to Expect

Introduction to Cerro de la Muerte

The name for this ominous peak was derived from historical incidences of travelers attempting to go over the mountain on foot and being improperly prepared for the cold, rainy conditions and often paying the ultimate price. Today the mountain is easily accessible by car, and acts as a major artery

In view of the climber, Cerro de la Muerte is better known for its rather precariously located boulder field, and subsequently vast amount of high quality bouldering, Cerro de la Muerte also hosts a modest three roped climbs. Although most come here for the bouldering, there is potential to bolt more climbs on some of the higher boulders.

The wall

All three climbs are on a single massive boulder formation approximately 20 meters high. The wall is nearly vertical and provides balanced climbing.

The Rock The massive boulders at the top of the mountain are dark in colour and are very rough on hand and finger skin. Expect a lot of crimps and friction dependant holds on large rounded rocks. For the most part rock quality is good. Some cleaning may be need, and some crimps may flake off it they are hollow, however it is nothing to be deterred about.

c e r r o d e l a M u e rt e


Difficulty

Three easier routes ranging from 5.8 to harder 5.10, with potential for many more.

Eating

The closest location for some eats is at the Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1 (point of reference A), which hosts a wide and fine variety of Tico roadside cuisine, from fresh blackberries to fried plantain. There are other restaurants and sodas along the highway in the direction of Cartago. Please do not leave any food wrappers or waste at the top of the mountain.

The Weather

Being on the very top of the mountain, the weather at Cerro de la Muerte is hardly every bright and sunny, and never balmy. Expect some cloud cover, cooler temperatures and chance of light precipitation as weather patterns constantly change around the mountain summit. Pack warm clothes, and bring a camera. If the clouds part, the views are impeccable, especially around sunrise and sunset.

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.554285687093168 Longitude: -83.75547409057617

By Car

Approximate travel time: 2 hours Exit San José on the Interamerican Highway (also called the Pan American Highway and Costa Rica Highway 2) eastbound towards Cartago. Just outside of San José you will pass a large mall with movie theater on the left side. Immediately after the mall you will come to a toll booth (the toll is approximately 100 colones). Continue on Highway 2, passing the turnoff for Cartago, for another hour. The highway will take you up into the mountains surrounding Cartago. As you drive the curving and continuously upward sloping road, take in the great vistas of Cartago city and Irazú volcano. On Highway 2, approximately 75km’s from San Jose, you will arrive near the top of Cerro De La Muerte where on the left hand side of the road you will find Cafetería Los Chespiritos #1 (there are three of these truck stop like cafeterias and they are numbered #1, #2 and #3 - you want #1, which is the last one as you come from Cartago) (point of reference A). If you need a snack, here is a good place to get it. From Cafetería Los Chespiritos continue in the same

c e r r o d e l a m u e rt e

131


132 A

direction of travel on Highway 2. If you wish to go to Providencia, you will make the next right turn onto a dirt road beside the office for the national park. If you are climbing or bouldering at the summit of Cerro De La Muerte continue on Highway 2 for approximately 7 more minutes (about 6km) and then make a right onto the dirt road the provides access to the antenna towers. There are very few recognizable landmarks for which to identify the turnoff. Just know that if you pass a broken down blue house on the left side of the road (point of reference C), then you just missed the turn. If that is the case, turn around and take your first left following the ruined house. Follow the dirt road about 1.5km up to the towers and park at their base. The climbing is on the opposite side of the road as the towers and should be visible from the road on a clear day.

By Bus

22 and 24. It is best to buy your tickets in advance during the weekday, and make sure that you are there at least 30 minutes prior to departure. You want to buy a ticket to San Isidro which will cost approximately 3000 colones. Mention that you are disembarking the bus on Cerro de la Muerte at the Cafeteria Los Chesporitos #1 (point of reference A). Likewise you can also say that you are getting off at Parque National Los Quetzales. It is best to ask about returning by bus in advance to determine if you are required to purchase a ticket. The bus leaves at 5:30 am, 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5:00 pm. Once you are off the the bus you will need to continue 6km in the same direction (away from San JosĂŠ), until you reach the unmarked radio tower access road on the right side of the highway (point of reference B). There is no easy way to identify this turn-

B

C

Approximate time: 2.5 hours In San JosĂŠ make your way to the new MUSOC bus terminal (P:2222-2422 or 2223-0686) on Calle Central in between avenidas

c e r r o d e l a M u e rt e


off, however if you come across a broken down blueish-green house on the left side of the road (point of reference C), you have gone too far and need to go back approximately 50m. Follow the access road up to the radio towers and the boulder field. The climbing is on the opposite side of the road as the towers and should be visible from the road on a clear day.

Routes

Despite the potential for many more, there are currently only 3 routes at Cerro de la Muerte.

105) El Gringo, 5.10a, 6a FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 8m, 2 draws (Top Rope)

106) Directisima Felix Mendez, 5.8, 5b FA:

Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 15m, 5 draws

107) El Medio Siglo, 5.10d, 6b+ FA:

Mantle move. Incomplete information on this route. Approximate Height 15m, 5 draws

c e r r o d e l a m u e rt e

133


134

Notes

c e r r o d e l a M u e rt e


Summiting the needle in Chirripo.

Chirripo

Chirripo


136

Overview

the national parks administration, climbers would flock to this Grade A area. This being said, there are two climbs in the park, both of which give a taste of what is yet to come.

The Wall

Big, hundreds of meter high walls occupy the mountain in various locations. Someone just needs to climb it, and sort out the access issues.

A.M.

3

What to Expect Introduction to Chirripo

The combination of cool weather, pristine natural environment and abundance of big walls and solid rock make Chirripo a climber’s dream playground. If only development of the area was allowed rather than prohibited by

Chirripo

The Rock

Expect huge variety of bolds and climbing styles. Cracks, jugs, crimps, pinches and everything inbetween.

Difficulty

The two current routes on Chirripo provide a warm up at 5.8 and then a bit of a challenge at 5.10b, but the potential for almost every grade is everywhere on the moutainside.

Eating

All food that you plan to eat on the mountain must be taken in and out with you. Make sure you do not leave behind any garbage, and please do not take any natural


137

elements from the park. If in doubt, check with park authorities.

Chirripo National Park

All activities on Chirripo, including climbing, are within the jurisdiction of Chirripo National Park. Because the peak of Chirripo is extremely popular (being the tallest) in Costa Rica and preserving the ecological wealth of the park is imperative, the park administration permits a limited number of visitors into the park each day. Therefore reservations are essential and come at a price. The best thing to do is to call the park administration at 771-5116, and if possible, months prior to your visit. The park is a good size at 508.49 km2, and therefore guides are highly recommended by the park administration.

Altitude

When climbing and hiking at Chirripo you should take into consideration the altitude. At 3820m above sea level, the peak of Chirripo is the highest in Costa Rica and affects athletic performance. Ensure to keep hydrated and well fed so to minimize the effects of the altitude. Remember that minor altitude sickness can occur as low as 2200 meters. Also prepare for much cooler temperatures as you scale the mountatin. Night time temperatures often dip close to or below freezing. If you lose control of body temperature due to cold, or if the altitude makes you feel faint, weak, out of breath, noxious, or ill, descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention.

How to Get There

Latitude: 9.458882958173092 Longitude: -83.48201751708984

By Car

Approximate time: 3.5-4.5 hours Out of San JosĂŠ take the Interamericana Highway east towards Cartago. Just outside of Cartago City, the highway will turn south, continue on the highway towards San Isidro de El General. Once in San Isidro de El General, take the road north east to San Gerardo de Rivas. This is the town from where you will launch your expedition. From San JosĂŠ to the park is approximately 165km. The time it takes to cover this distance

Chirripo


138

can depend on many uncontrollable factors such as weather, traffic, and road conditions. Plan accordingly.

By Bus

Approximate time: 4-5.5 hours In order to get to Chirripo Naitonal Park you must first take a bus to San Isidro. An hourly bus departs just outside of the Coca Cola terminal in San JosĂŠ from 5am until 5pm and should take about 3 hours and cost no more than $10. Once you arrive to San Isidro, then take another bus to San Gerardo de Rivas from the San Isidro terminal. This bus leaves the terminal twice daily at 5am or 2pm and costs no more than $2. In San Gerado de Rivas, either taxi or walk to the entrance of the park just outside of town.

A climber on the first pitch of Positive Way, 5.10b.

Chirripo


139

Routes

Chirripo hosts a massive potential for expansion in traditional, sport and multi pitch climbing. However due to red tape and bureaucratic apprehension climbing in the national park has been forbidden. Thankfully this minor setback did not stop an ambitious few that were ahead of their time and fully comprehended the great potential that Chirripo offers. Only two routes were able to go up, but these have inspired many to view Chirripo as having the promise to be Costa Rica’s premier climbing destination, if only its development will be permitted.

108) La Ruta Japonesa, 5.8, 5b FA:

La Ruta Japonesa, also known as La Aguja, is a fun 3 pitch mixed climb that starts with easy climbing with bolt protection for the first pitch and then a walking traverse second pitch before a traditional climb third pitch to the summit. The summit is equipped with anchors to allow rappelling down after the ascent. It took 3 days at the high altitude tower La Aguja� (The Needle) to rebolt the original route that was set by a Japanese man (hence the name). The rebolt team of Jorge Fuentes, Annuar Hassan, El Flaco, and Eduardo Baldioceda also put up Positive Way during their time on the mountain. Approximate Height 80m, P1: 5 draws, P2: walk, P3: trad

109) Positive Way, 5.10b, 6a+ FA: Anuar Hassan, Eduardo Baldioceda

Unlike its neighbour, Positive Way moves directly up the vertical section of the spire. The route will be three pitches once it ascends the entire wall to the summit, however currently only the first pitch is bolted. Approximate Height 30m, 9 draws

Chirripo


140

Chirripo


index Grade

141 Page OS F RP

Cachi 1)

Llalan-Llalan Caminando,

5.10a, 6a

31

2)

Como Tu Sabe,

5.7, 5a

31

3)

5 Minutes More,

5.8, 5b

32

4)

Para Sayang (Con Cori単o),

5.10c, 6b

32

5)

Vaca Caca,

5.6, 4c

32

6)

Lo Tocar a Mi,

5.8, 5b

33

7)

Verde,

5.7, 5a

33

8)

El Pichon,

5.9, 5c

34

9)

No Hablar Espa単ol,

5.7, 5a

34

10)

Pura Vida Mae,

5.8, 5b

34

11)

La Impotencia,

5.9, 5c

35

12)

Unidentified

13)

Caca Vaca,

5.9/5.10a, 5c

37

14)

La Luz,

5.11b, 6c

37

15)

Breathe,

5.11c, 6c+

38

16)

Khadijah,

5.12a, 7a+

38

17)

No Soy Chino,

5.11c, 6c+

39

18)

Contigo Termina en Khadijah,

5.11d/5.12a, 7a

39

19)

RokRasta,

5.11d, 7a

39

20)

Cachi Cross,

5.12b, 7b

42

21)

Chino Clandestino,

5.12a, 7a+

42

22)

Acido y Medio,

5.11d, 7a

43

23)

Buen Ray,

5.12a, 7a+

43

37

DAT E


142

24)

Chocolate Caliente,

5.12b, 7b

43

25)

Adios Hermanos,

5.12c/5.12d, 7b+ 44

26)

Name Unknown,

[PROJECT]

27)

El Ojo del Tigre,

5.13a/5.13b, 7c+ 45

28)

La Cloe,

[PROJECT]

45

29)

La Warefex,

5.13a, 7c+

46

30)

Espartans,

[PROJECT]

46

31)

Atheist

46

32)

Deception

46

33)

Susan

48

34)

+hot

48

35)

Flacatash

48

44

R I O or o 36)

No Name,

5.11/5.12a, 7b

54

37)

La Virgen,

5.12a, 7a+

54

38)

El Pedo Loco,

5.11d, 7a

55

39)

La Media Luna,

5.9, 5c

55

40)

La Galleta de Soda,

5.9, 5c

55

41)

La Chimbombina,

5.11b, 6c

56

42)

La Viagra,

5.11c, 6c+

56

43)

La Caja de Leche,

5.9, 5c

57

44)

Katanga,

5.9, 5c

57

45)

El Pecho del Palomo,

5.9, 5c

58

El Coliseo 46)

Piolin,

5.9, 5a

64

47)

Diedro,

5.10c, 6b

64

48)

Ron,

5.10b, 6a

65

P i co B l a n c o


49)

El Trepon de la Zegua,

5.11b, 6c

74

50)

Julieta-ta,

5.12b, 7b

75

51)

El Pipiribao,

5.12a, 7a+

75

52)

Mangulile,

[PROJECT]

76

53)

El Cuzuko Sieve, 5.12c, 7b

76

F or u m 54)

La Raimunda,

5.12a, 7a+

88

55)

La Paulina,

5.11d, 7a

89

56)

Lateralus,

5.11d, 7a

89

57)

Boca del Diablo,

5.12d, 7c

90

58)

La Usurpadora,

5.12d, 7c

90

59)

La Mala Vibra,

5.13a, 7c+

91

60)

Sensortrifulcador,

5.12d, 7c

91

61)

Extractor,

5.12a, 7a

92

62)

Al-Qaeda,

5.12a, 7a+

92

63)

Biscochuelo de Fresa,

5.10b, 6a+

92

64)

Dos Cortos,

5.10a, 6a

92

65)

La Pupy,

5.9, 5c

93

66)

Eccéntrica,

5.10a, 6a

93

67)

KinderGrieta,

5.5, 4b

95

68)

La Pupynela,

5.9, 5c

95

69)

La Buseta,

5.10b, 6a+

95

70)

El Vuelo del Palomo,

5.10d, 6b+

96

71)

La Eleccion,

5.11a, 6c

96

72)

La Via Lactea,

5.12b, 7b

96

73)

Aquella Via

[PROJECT]

98

74)

Aquella,

5.12a, 7a+

98

75)

Chiquizá,

5.12a, 7a+

99

143


144

76)

Mr. Ed,

5.9, 5c

99

77)

Avispon Negro,

5.11b, 6c

99

78)

La Berraca,

5.11b, 6c

100

79)

Tractomula,

5.12a, 7a+

100

80)

El Bejuco,

5.10a, 6a

100

81)

Toxicity,

5.12c, 7b+

100

82)

Astro-Boy,

5.9, 5c

100

83)

Astro-Boy Extension,

5.12d, 7c

101

84)

Susan,

5.11b, 6c

101

85)

El Dia Menos Pensado,

5.11c, 6c+

101

86)

El Aprendiz,

5.12b, 7c

101

87)

La Cuca,

[PROJECT]

102

88)

Malacrianza,

5.12d, 7c

102

89)

La Juana,

[PROJECT]

102

90)

La Malanga,

5.11a, 6c

102

P i e d r a d e a s e rr i 91)

Unidentified

111

92)

El Verdugo,

5.11b, 6c

111

93)

Pan Comida,

5.10a, 6a

111

94)

El Diablo,

5.10a, 6a

112

95)

El Sombrero,

5.10b, 6a+

112

96)

La Placa,

5.10a, 6a

112

97)

El Diedro,

5.11c, 6c+

114

98)

El Gerrero

115

P ro v i d e n c i a 99)

La Panzola,

5.8, 5b

123

100)

Name Unknown

124

101)

Name Unknown

124


102)

Name Unknown

124

103)

El Sendero de La Vida,

5.11b, 6c+

125

104)

Name Unknown,

5.8, 5b

125

C e rro D e l a M u e rt e 105)

El Gringo,

5.10a, 6a

133

106)

Directisima Felix Mendez,

5.8, 5b

133

107)

El Medio Siglo,

5.10d, 6b+

133

C h i rr i p o 108)

La Ruta Japonesa,

5.8, 5b

139

109)

Positive Way,

5.10b, 6a+

139

145


Thanks

A huge thank you goes out to all the climbers and non-climbers that helped me accomplish this guide. In order of no significance some of them are: Christain Schwagereit (for the love of pizza and constant psych), Marco Guie Cob, Gino Negrini, Joel, Melissa and Lua Sundqvist (for all the rides and friendship), Johnny Scottland, David Ulloa, Julio Arce, Teelo Rooke, Koky, Eduardo Baldioceda Baltodano and Steve Dutchak (for helping find Cachi, which sparked this whole thing). Finally a huge thank you to Carolina Arcila. Without you this would not have been possible. Costa Rica’s eternal sunshine will remain on a spotless mind.

Credits

All photographs were taken and are property of the author with exception of those lsited below. The photographs in this list were used with permission from their original owner/author. Cover, Marco Guie Cob p. 30, Joel, Melissa and Lua Sundqvist p. 35, Carolina Arcila p. 36, Carolina Arcila p. 40-41, Marco Guie Cob p.47 Macro Guie Cob p, 135-140 Eduardo Baldioceda Baltodano

147


148


Climbing Costa Rica