Sugarloaf–the Hard Way

It is one of the most dramatic and iconic images of Rio. When we learned we could hike it, we had to take advantage of the opportunity. After all, it is only a 2.5 hour, 1,750 feet elevation hike. There were only two slight drawbacks—it is straight up and it requires some technical climbing. so we arranged a hike with Rio Hiking.

View from Bottom-1View from Bottom-2

The hike started out easily enough. About an hour of reasonably steep climbing on a relatively difficult trail, but not bad. Although the views from the trail were few and generally modest, there were a few nice views along the way. We also met a new friend.

View from Mid-Way-3imageTom HikingMonkey Close Up-5

Then we hit the hard part. We were told from the beginning that the hike did entail some technical climbing. We were, however, also told that (and I read for confirmation) that this section was only about 20 meters and a relatively easy climb. But, from what we learned on the trail, It was indeed relatively easy–for an experienced technical climber. (We had only taken one class a few years ago, and we didn’t do very well.) For us, the technical climb was incredibly tough. And to make things worse, it was about 85 degrees, very humid and, during most of the hike, including the technical climb, we had no cover from the sun.

We made it, but it took each of us about 30 minutes to climb those 20 meters and needed help from our wonderful guide, Eduardo. (Our hiking companions, who were 30-years old and experienced rock climbers, did it in about ten minutes apiece.) For us, it was one of the toughest hikes we had ever done. But, while we struggled to make it to the top, our younger companions had a race up the last steep incline!

It also taught us a tough lesson. No matter what type shape we think we are in, we can no longer do all that we think we can and even if we can do it, it is not fair for us to impose ourselves on a group of younger people.

We were, however, handsomely rewarded for our efforts–both by the satisfaction of completing the hike and by the incredible views from the top.

view from top-7View from Top-8imageJ T at Top-10

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.