Pico Paraná Journey: a Lesson in Humility

Two months ago we started the prest age, after a lot of research, we decided that we were going to climb the Paraná Peak, the highest in southern Brazil. Much purchased equipment, many routes planning, menus and related. I even did a month of forced exercises at the academy and the bicycle.

The date finally arrives and we go for adventure. After a long and tiring journey taking a lot of rain and traffic in the Serra region and some stops for rest, we arrived at the Paraná farm. The weather was a little tricky, that thick fog that more like fine rain and a 14-degree cold that made me hit my chin.

Of course, I must admit that cold is somewhat unusual for my region, so I’m fairly sensitive to smaller temperatures.

Anyway, we fixed the backpacks (I had divided equipment with a colleague, so mine was relatively lightweight with its 12kg), we put layers and more layers of coats and with a look of uncertainty, we started the trail at 11:30 a.m. We all had in mind that that climate would not facilitate the ascent, but we still felt safe.

The beginning of the track by the Hill Getúlio is quite pulled with steep and steady climbs. Soon in the first fifteen minutes of track the group of five people ended up dividing, where three preferred to adopt a slower pace and I and one more colleague we proceeded. The ascent is heavy, but the most bothered were the snippets we were scraping in plants, because even with the anorak, slowly we were getting wet… But we barely knew what would come forward.

With determination and strength (and an appetizing noodle with soup and sardines that we eat from lunch) we reached the top of the Getúlio hill at about 1:30, relatively fast time given the climate and clay.

Unfortunately, we saw a white landscape. At that moment, the fog was so thick that visibility was summed up about 30 yards long enough to know where the trail was. At the top, we found what appeared to be the shelter one (discovered after not), which was basically a decamped that would fit about 5 tents. As it was still 1:30, we thought it would be a lot better to advance the step and get to shelter 2 right away, so the other day we attack the summit before sunrise. And then the business started to go.

After Getúlio there is a rapid descent that arrives at the first fork, on the left side follows the trail to ascend the Caratuva and the right side of the trail to Pico Paraná. Soon in this place, clay was already present on the way we went through, deserves some attention not to wet the socks. I must remember that at this moment our Anorak and trousers were already dripping, completely soaked.

We followed the trail to Pico Parana, which circumvents the slope of the Caratuva. In this site we had seen on the internet that was a stretch with roots and that would require escalaminhada at some points, but what we found was something much more emphatic than the photos of the forums.

Practically there was no ground on the trail, it was roots and more overlapping roots and piled stones that required strength in the hands to propel us into the ravine and where there were no roots there was water. Before, we were worried about clay, but the trail had been so punished by the rain that the ground saturated of water and beyond mud, there were puddles of icy practically everywhere.

Apart from climbing roots, stones, strings, staples we still had to jump from one corner to the other so we don’t get our feet wet. All this with the backpack on the back… What facilitated the activity was the hiking bat, which proved to be the best friend of Trilheiro in a mess.

The weather was passing, the temperature dropping (10 degrees) and no shelter two… In fact, no getting out of that slippery and wet inferno of roots. We were walking in that hostile terrain for at least 2 hours and nothing… And the sunlight began to diminish. Of course, we didn’t see the sun, just that white fog wall that was getting more and more gray. Anyway, after we’re on the nerves to the flower of the skin and abandon the small stop for snacks, we come to the ground.

When we got out of that jungle, I felt free, happy. At that moment, I felt my fleece starting to get moist and my foot was already swimming in clay for ages. My gloves were wet and I barely felt the tip of my fingers. We walked about ten minutes on that terrain that looked like a prelude to shelter 2, happy to assemble the tent and prepare a beautiful soup… But after a curve, we go back to the woods.

There was the second fork, on the right side followed to the Itapiroca, on the left side, which we take, Pico Paraná. This forest was like the one we had left, but it possessed stretches with slopes and even more accentuated, it was as if the mountain were testing us. Besides physical fatigue, the worst part was knowing that we had no way to get back before the night, the only way was to keep walking and praying to get there soon.

Anyway, at 18:00, we arrived at the unlanded of Shelter 2 (I subsequently discovered that this was actually shelter 1). All that previous expectation was quite bitter, because it was waiting for a beautiful place to shelter us from the wind and the cold… What we found was a piece of the low grass on the top of the hillside. That meant the wind was strong, continuous… Brutal.

With the day falling rapidly, we accelerated the mounting of the tent, and this is the moment we realized the size of the trouble. We realized that all of our equipment was wet because the rain was so persistent that it overcame the waterproof protection of the backpack. In commit4fitness.com, we mounted our tent and had to spend the night at a temperature of 7 °c with sleeping bag and wet clothes… and to worsen, our tent drained water through the inner walls (had condensed), wetting further our body.

We couldn’t have dinner because it was impossible to get out of the tent, so we slept as we could. It was a very mild sleep, which was interrupted every 10 minutes because the body began to tremble involuntarily, desperate to get some warmth… the feeling of being alone, 5 hours from any safe shelter and in the midst of a mountain climate me Avassalava It was almost like understanding that the only alternative was to hold steady and maintain optimistic thinking… but I confess that it was the most difficult night of my life. It’s in those hours that what really matters comes to your mind… your family, friends and all that life that seemed so far away…There, in my town.

In slow pace as the floor of a slug The sun was born, but the climate did not change. The fog and a thin rain still fall, increasing intensity every minute. We opened the tent and knew the journey was over there. Ironically, from Shelter two Avistávamos the Paraná peak, which was visible in a few moments when the fog was weaker… it was only 40 minutes of attack walk and we would, but we did not arrive.

The risks of rising without having fed right and being completely wet in colds of 5–8 °c would not be worth the effort… especially since we know that the turn would be long and difficult.

Storing everything and giving back to the peak was painful, but wise. I came back with bitter feelings in my throat and a complete sensation of failure. With time passing on the hike, I began to observe new perspectives. The lesson of having to abandon the goal had been much greater than the conquest itself.

It was to have to understand that life is like that, and that we were not the kings of the world, doing what we want and challenging nature. The mountain proved us that we were just what we are, humans.

We have received a great slap in our narcissism and pride, to learn that there is a limit and this must be respected, because after all, we are not the owners of the truth.

Come out of this experience aggrandized by the bitter feelings, which now’re my soul in a positive way, giving me a little more experience in this vast universe of knowledge, attitudes and deeds.

I’m more humble today.

Follow the video showing some parts of the way and more details of the adventure:

Facts I’ve learned in this experience:

Although plastic bags hold well the water that can enter the backpack, nothing replaces a good Zip Loc;

  • My obsession with assembling the backpack and weight distribution is worth being maintained, nor did it at least feel it on my back as well-balanced as it was;
  • Always take the emergency blanket, never needed but this time it was indispensable;
  • I need more water-resistant gloves. My hands were very cold and wet gloves, causing the sensitivity of the fingers to be lost;
  • Never skip a meal. No matter how complicated the climate is, skipping a meal has left me worn and exhausted;
  • The walking stick has proved an indispensable item to overcome puddles of water, balancing when climbing on rocks and suchlike;
  • Respecting the climate and understanding that sometimes delaying the timeline is better than to stop fulfilling it.