I went to Rio to spend three weeks working at the Observatório do Valongo. On the first weekend I was there, a few of us from the institute went to climb Pedra da Gavea, one of the many amazing mountains in and around Rio.
It was a beautiful day when we started climbing from Barra da Tijuca. Three hours of steep hiking took us to the top of the rock, with the only difficult bit being the Carrasqueira, a steep 30m rock face which a lot of people had ropes and harnesses to go up. Our group headed up without equipment, except for one of us who preferred to wait at the bottom.
The top looked impossible to reach even from not far below but once we were past the Carrasqueira it was easy enough. And when we got there, we had stunning views over Rio and Guanabara Bay. I spent a few minutes enjoying them, then reached down to grab my camera, then stood up, and found that a cloud had descended and the view had gone. I assumed the cloud would blow past and the view would reappear, but it didn’t. And before much longer it was raining. So I got no photos of the view.
We headed down. The Carrasqueira had been challenging on the way up and it was challenging on the way down, and was now a huge bottleneck with queues of hikers descending in the rain. Climbers had set up ropes and a lot of hikers were borrowing them to get down. Those who didn’t were forming a long slow queue using a crack in the rock for handholds. I joined the queue, and edged slowly down the rock face.