Columnas de Tangan
Columnas de Tangan
As some of you might know, Im currently in Ecuador and created a Facebook page called Climbers Of Ecuador. It allows climbers around the world to connect and discuss climbs in Ecuador! Well, about a week ago, a fellow climber shared a link about a wall in a video taken by an anthropologist. He noticed in the video that there was potential for climbing in the area! As soon as the video was posted, I had to see it. Unfortunately, the wall is in an area that very few people (non climbers) knew about. We knew we would find the answers to where the Columns were in the closest town, Sigchos!
Last Saturday, I rallied up a crew of 6 for this adventure. Meeting at 8 always changes to 9 and by 9:30 we were on the road! As I got in the car, everyone asked if I had directions. I simply pulled a wrinkled piece of paper out of my pocket and said "yep." It consisted of the written directions: left, right, left, left, right, straight, and on and on!
We headed down E35, just passing the south entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. So far we were about an hour into the drive! We stopped into the town of Toacazo to make sure we were going the right way and it was still another 2 hours! It was a bit of a letdown to know that we still had a 2 hr drive and then a possible 2 hour hike! We ended up making it to the town in 45 minutes. We immediately started talking to locals and stopped into a shop and asked a local if he had heard of Columnas de Tangan. He told us it was two hours up the road." "Go down the street, take a left, then go up and talk to someone up on the hill," he said. So we went to the top of the hill and met a local man and his wife. We asked the same question,"Do you know the whereabouts of Columnas de Tangan?" He quickly replied, "You go down that hill you came from and take a left. It's about 2 hrs!" So we went down the hill took a left and asked another person. "Columnas de Tangan... that way," they all said.
So we drove and drove and drove through amazing landscape until what looked like the end of a dirt road! We saw a young girl with two horses and asked if she knew what way we needed to walk to get to the Columnas. She told us to go down the road to a gate then walk two hours! We quickly divided up the rack and headed down the dirt path. Then a bus pulled up... I still don't understand everything spoken in Spanish so about 3/4 of the time I'm lost. This was one of those times. A local farmer walked out and we started chatting with him. We found out that there was a road on the other side of the valley that can get us within 5 minutes of the wall. We quickly asked him if he could tell us how to get there! He was nice and said that he lived over there and if we gave him a ride he'd show us! We quickly decided that a 1 hour drive and a 5 minute walk is way better than a 2 hour hike. We shuffled him in our small car with 2 other Ecuadorians, 4 gringos, our gear, and headed back towards Sigchos. On the way, he pointed out where the Wall was. We all went silent with awe and quickly forgot about our long and memorable journey.
Winding threw the rolling hills, amazing landscape and dirt roads we found ourselfs atop of the ridege where our local guide points out a small store and says that the "trail head to be" is just around the corner, Well an 1.5 hr ago he said its just around the corner. So it was probaly a good idea to get food and recharge. After filling up with some snacks, we set off threw more windy turns till around one corner he says "stop, this is where i get out now" we all looked at him in awww thinking he just wanted a ride and he really had no idea where the columnas are! He got out of the car and pointed to a field and said walk that way till you find a "y " in the trail and go left they will be right there!!
With excitment, we shook his had and packed our bags .....again and heading into the misty afternoon, wich is quickly turning to night!With not really knowing what way to go aftert the "y" we wanderded threw the fields, till we can to a creek: i remember that inthe video that there was a waterfall and i was sure that this creek was the source of the waterfall. So we traveled along the creek till it was apparent that we were at the top of the 100m rock wall. We just did'nt know how to get down there!! Looking threw busheds and trees we still dident see anything. We decided that the when our local guide/farmer showed us the waterfall from accross the vally that there were 2 ridges , one on each side of the watefall.We decided to wrap around till we hit the ridge. As walking thew amazng fields, we went to some low bridges and low and behold , like somethingout of an Indian Jones movie, i peeked threw the bushes and seen what we have been looking for for so long!! And it was beautiful. We all jumped with excitment and had smiles from ear to ear.
Well with night approaching, we had to make a decsicon if we wanted to go down there or come back, i quickly said"no way, we are going down there, like now" but we now had a deadline , we had made a plan to be heading back from no matter where we werew in 1 hr, that will give us time to get out of here before it got really dark.
We blazed down the ridge making our way threw thick bushes till we came across a field, where we knew we could finaly get to the wall, threw some more fields and ALOT of mud, we stumbled appon a Bungalo, wich looks, likeno one has been there for quite some time. We rested checked out time and decided we had enough time to get to thebace, wich seamed like 5 min walk. With tick bushed we mad our way up threw the aweful mud and trees, and cought outself standing next to the collums and a 100m waterfall. Spirtis were so high, we felt like we were floating, we have finaly found the treasure!!!
We had about 10 minutes to walk the wall, stopping in aww to look at every splitter, i was like a kid in a candy store!!!! I really think the crew had to drag me away from the rocks, as i was the last one down to the bungalo. Already havign to dcide that i was coming back the fallowing week, and cant wait to tell my partner Sofi that we found it and we are staying longer in ecuador, to develop this amazing area, that WILL change the name for climbing in ecuador!!!
With it just about dark , and thick fog, we scurred up the ridge back threw the fields, and back safly to the car. Where coming to fin dout people back in Quito were worried about us, dude to the remote area we were traveling, after amking a few allles , we pile dour wet bodies back into the car for a long journey back to quito.. Along the way i marked each turn so we can mak it back to the columans the fallowing weekend!!!
... stay tuned and an update on developing Tangan will soon be blogged.....