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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Scaling The Mavicure

One of the must-see sights near Puerto Inirida is the Mavicure Hills. The "hills" are actually a large rock formation that is about two hours away from town via boat. To give you an idea of their scale, this photo was taken in Inirida and you can see the hills on the horizon to my left (BTW, my shirt says "I ♥ Xi'an"):


On the way, we passed by a few different groups looking for gold in the river. They work from barges scraping the river bed and then filtering the water.


The Mavicure Hills are made up of three large rocks that straddle the Inirida river. Everything else in the area is comparatively flat, which exaggerates their scale and makes the approach very impressive. From the left (and in this photo, smallest to largest), the three are Mavicure, Mono (Monkey), and Pajarito (Little Bird).


One of the things that amazed me was that the three hills are each one solid rock. My guess is that they are all the same large piece of rock that goes below the river but I'll leave that to the geologists. Our guide told us that it is believed that the formation is among the oldest geologic features on earth (approximately 3.5 billion years). This, of course, is something else I'll leave for the geologists to decide. This is a view of Mavicure to the left, the Inirida river in the center, and Mono to the right:


We stopped in the indigenous Puinaves village called Remanso that is located at the base of Pajarito to hire a guide. You can (sort of ) see the village in the photo below just left of the right side of the photo and just above the river.

The only hill of the three that can be climbed without equipment is Mavicure. Our guide took us up a path that leads to the top. The climb is somewhat aggressive--you need to scale rock faces and use ropes to pull yourself up in some places. It's not dangerous stuff but the sun, heat, and slick rock faces add up to make it a challenging couple of hours...


...but the view from the top makes it all worth while. Here's the view of Mono and Pajarito from the top of Mavicure:


We hung out at the top for a little less than an hour. While we were there, the sun went behind some clouds and a (heavy) rain shower moved through. It helped to cool us down but it made descending a bit challenging. This is a photo of the rest of the group and our guide watching the rain fall on Pajarito (it hadn't made it to us yet):


I took this video so I could share what the hills, river, and surrounding jungle look like. Sorry in advance for my lack of steady cam ability.

video

Pretty nice stuff, huh? It was an amazing place with an equally amazing view. While we were hanging out at the bottom after we got back down to the river, another heavy shower moved through. When the rain runs down the side of the hills, the turbulence of the falling water causes it to look like white stripes on the black rock. Again, and I know I'm overusing the word, amazing.


I wouldn't be surprised if the Mavicure hills aren't already on rock climbers' lists of exotic places to go climb. It's remote but the views alone are worth it in my opinion.

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