Climbing in Paute

Trip Start Jul 14, 2010
Trip End May 18, 2011

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Flag of Ecuador  , Azuay,
Monday, January 3, 2011

OK... so.. .  after the disappointing day at Laguna de Busa the Colombians and us decided to head to the last real climbing destination worthy of a day trip from Cuenca.  Paute is a small pueblo north-east of Cuenca with no real tourist draw, in fact, we didnīt even spend any real time in the pueblo, just breakfast.  After hopping on an early bus from Cuenca we arrived in Paute at around 9 in the morning with a plan of starting climbing at around 10.  Eating a quick breakfast in some little dive (eggs, bread, cheese, coffee, juice)  we piled in and on a little 4x4 truck and headed up into the mountains to check out the rocks.  Sadly, we didnīt have a full understanding of the approach and we got dropped off at what amounted to the farthest distance from the rocks possible.  Itīs not that they were far away, itīs that the hill to reach them was just too steep to ascend and we ended up having to walk a few miles out of our way to find a good path towards the base.  The hiking wasnīt a problem, nice countryside, some sheep, good weather.  We got to hop a couple of streams and say, Ļhi,Ļto some cows along the way.  No biggie, but the sun was pretty hot and we were a bit tired.  Finally, after a couple of hours we reached the base of the climbs and they were well worth it.  I probably consider it the best roped climbing we had experienced on our trip.  The rock was volcanic (I donīt know the specific type) with great holds and awesome movements, plus, there were a ton of routes within our level.  Since, in total, we had three ropes, we were able to get up a lot of routes in a short period of time.  Sadly, itīs pretty shocking how quickly one loses endurance and after two or three routes both Katie`s and my forearms were burning up a storm. Though, this didnīt turn out to be a bad thing because we were quickly getting drenched by the normal afternoon rain.  Huddled under the rock trying to keep ourselves and our gear dry, all the while contemplating whether we should just hike back in the rain so as not to miss the last bus back to Cuenca ended up being the low point of the day.  After a good hour of downpours the rain let up and Katie and I started making the direct descent back to the road.  We left the Colombians there because they were planning on camping in a cave about 30 m up the rock.  Now, while the hillside might have been to steep to ascend, there was actually a perfect path for a descent and within a half an hour Katie and I were back on the main road with our taxi heading back to town.  We hopped on the second to last bus to Cuenca and everything was great.  Until, that is, I received a call from our taxi driver in Paute.  He told me that the Colombians had called him and asked to be picked up and that they hadnīt ever arrived at the designated spot.  After trying to call them repeatedly and work out where they were, to no avail because they never answered, I called back the taxi driver and told him to just wait as long as he could.  Thankfully, as soon as we started to get off the phone he notified me that he could see a headlamp and our terrorist friends ended up being alright.  Turns out it was too cold for them to spend the night out there and that there were just going to sleep in Paute and head to the rocks during the day.  Oh yeah, and I accidentally stole two of their quickdraws, but I left them at their hostel and havenīt talked to them since to find out if they actually received them.  Owell.
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