The hardest thing about coming home after living in a foreign country is the rapidity of degradation to ones language skills. These are my 3 favorite apps for people trying to maintain a conversational level of a foreign language.
1. Hello Talk
Hello Talk is probably the nifftiest app out there. Hello Talk pairs people seeking to learn other languages together for a language exchange. For example, if I am looking to practice Spanish I will be paired with a Spanish speaker who is learning English. The features don’t end with simply pairing two strangers together. There is voice and text input so users can practice pronunciation and a Facebook like wall feature that allows you to meet new people. When I was planning my trip to Colombia I posted on my wall that I was looking to practice Spanish and go rock climbing in and around Bogotá and some locals saw my post and took me rock climbing when I arrived. Certainly the best app out there.
2. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Too often when I return from a trip I think that if I change the language setting on my phone it will keep me practiced at my chosen language because all the games and apps languages are changed. This always ends in failure because eventually I just want to use my phone quickly and not have to worry about translating. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is excellent because there is no need to change the language settings on the phone, they can be changed easily from the in-game menu. While the game itself is nothing to write home about as it is pretty menial the amount of text and reading involved is enormous with just enough fishing and bug catching fun to keep a players attention. Additionally, many of the characters use tons of slang terms so it will give an intermediate speaker a fun bit of vocabulary to work with.
Last in my list is Duolingo. Usually people list Duo at the top of their lists, which I think is accurate for beginners but for intermediate language learners it can become repetitive and boring. The reason Duo makes my list for intermediate learners is because of their new interactive stories feature that keeps user engaged and puts their vocabulary to use.
Acá está un video de la caminata a Lago Aloha en Tahoe California. Hay perfectamente agua aquí como un espejo! En la próxima blog voy a discutir los lugares por escalada en Tahoe.
Baños is located a short bus ride from Quito and should only take 3 hours. Baños is the perfect place to continue your journey as it is similar to San Gil Colombia in that it is a place for outdoor activities.
Located along a stunning river Baños is an absolute treat to walk around. After walking around town chances are you will be hungry for some real Ecuadorian grin. I recommend going to the Mercado in the center of the city where you can get a huge lunch for 2.50$ or a fresh squeezed juice for just a buck. Or if you are a little more adventurous try some of the local guinea pig delecacy.
The town is littered with travel agency’s touting EXTREME activities which feels annoying when really they just rent bikes and organize tours that even your mom could get along on. That being said probably the most popular activity in Baños is the rafting. For 25$ (including lunch) this is an absolute steal. The rapids are reasonable but considering you could not get someone to drive you to the mouth of the river in the USA for 25$ this is a no brainer. Not only is it cheap but it is an absolute blast!
Unfortunately I was unable to do any climbing during my time in Baños. However, there is plenty to be had behind the Zoo. If you have equipment just ask for thfor Zoo and you will find some sport routes. Additionally, it is worth it to hike up to Casa De Árbol for a stunning view and a good time swinging!
After a long day rafting, climbing, or hiking it is worth visiting one of the many hot springs in town. The spring located under the main waterfall in town is open at night and has varying temperatures that left me feeling rejuvenated for the following day.
The American west isn’t the only place in the world where you can find sandy red rocks to climb. Colombia is also home to canyons and deserts that may surprise you with their incredible beauty and extreme landscape. The area that is the most impressive is that of Chicamoca Canyon; very much the Grand Canyon of Colombia.
Anyone can enjoy the dramatic cliff faces and sandy red stone but the thing that keeps climbers happy are the rocks of La Mojarra. Located only and hour from Bucaramanga these cliffs are a must if you are keen to climb in Colombia. Personally I was surprised such a place existed in Colombia especially one with 300+ well developed sport routes.
One of the nicest things about La Mojarra is how easy it is to link up with other climbers. Personally I have been traveling without a rope or draws so I am dependent on meeting other climbs which can often be difficult when traveling in a foreign country but is easy at the climbing hostel Refugio Roca located at the top of the crag. This hostel has incredible accommodation situated on top of the Mojarra cliffs. After linking up with climbers and spending the day on the wall I would return each night to cook and hang out in the social space boasting hammocks and a warm atmosphere. If you get the chance do not miss this climbing area. It is more than worth a week or two of time.
After a bit of work Colombia now has the most routes listed in South America on Mountain Project. That being said, it is only about 150 routes… out of THOUSANDS. This post is to celebrate the growing number of routes in the Colombia section and also to ask for some help. The info I have been adding is still VERY basic. If anyone who is reading this has photos, FA info, or corrections to the area please add them! I will continue to add more hoping I get most of the information correct but location and protection info is not enough. Especially without pictures. The next time you are placing gear in Suesca or taking huge falls in La Mojarra think of the Proj and make a contribution or two!
Chances are if you are on a climbing trip in Colombia you are starting in the trady train tracks of Suesca and making your way north to the dramatic red stone of La Monjarra. In between the two areas is a charming colonial city by the name of Villa De Leyva that is perfect for rest day hiking, biking, and eating! Though the town is quite touristy it has gathered its popularity for good reason. The cobblestone streets and boutique eateries are cozy and fairly priced while boasting beautiful nature just outside the town square.
I stayed at Renacer just outside the main town which provided plenty of information on hiking and exploration in the area. There is a great mirador hike directly behind the hostel but I recommend visiting the Angel Step if you really want to see something spectacular. First hop on a bus to Santa Sophie and then ask for the bus to the Angel Step. The trip should not take long. The entrance can be a bit confusing if you speak limited Spanish as the entrance of covered in signs that say “no entry” and “private property”. Simply pass through the fence and find a farmer and pay the 1$ entrance fee and be on your way. Follow the trail on a narrow ridge that gives you a fun sense of exposure till what looks like the end then descend on your left and have lunch on top of a massive waterfall! The trip is short but if you go 500 meters down the dirt road where you entered you can hike to another waterfall called Hayal which is also stunning.
After your waterfall tour return to Villa De Leyva for a world class coffee and a fancy dinner before continuing north to La Mojarra.
Once a novel pastime; slacklining is now a full fledged sport in its own right. Requiring immense amounts of focus and balance it is a sport that can benefit anyone. If you are reading this chances are you already know this information and are looking for a way to test your skills. At the top of the Suesca rocks there are 3 stations to set up a highline. From the entrance of Suesca, rather than heading left along the tracks, head straight up the hill where you will find bolts for a highline set up. If you are looking for a fun way to spend a rest day simply look up from the rocks and see if any highliners are at work or rig one yourself if you have the tools!
While boasting an array of established climbing areas the true beauty of Colombia is in the incredible amount of opportunities for new routes and boulders.
Recently I have been working on an organic food farm in El Crucero outside of Suesca. While the work and location in El Crucero are abosolutey wonderful it can be hard to snag a bus into Suesca to climb if the working day goes long. To deal with the issue my coworkers and I decided to go scouting for boulders. From the farm we could see a large pillar of earth rising from a farm in the distance. We decided this would be the perfect direction to head in to start our expedition. Naturally we started by grabbing a hand full of beers from a local tienda and made our way towards the puller. After traversing various fields and dodging cows we made it to the pillar we had been searching for. Unfortunately, the rock was rotten, brittle, and worthless for climbing. Disappointed we decided to walk up the hill behind the pillar so we could at least enjoy a nice view of the valley. Atop the hill what did we see? A perfect mushroom shaped Boulder waiting to be climbed.
The boulder was hidden between a field and a clove of trees and was in the shape of a mushroom with a fatty stem, no chalk marks and had certainly not been climbed before. The lower stem portion of the boulder allowed for various levels of traverse problems that went in a complete circle. To complete the full traverse it would take between 30 and 40 moves. The real fun however was with the head of the mushroom. At any point it was possible to attempt a go at the completely horizontal roof and top out for a burley finish.
I did not finish the traverse or finish a big roof move that would have made my day but I count it as a success. On the way down at sunset we looked across the valley and saw various rock bands and boulders that screamed FA opportunity. I share this story with the hope that it encourages others to consider a trip to Colombia to search for FA possibility.
Ahoy and welcome to Climb Colombia, a website dedicated to the amazing climbing in Colombia.
I have created this website because there seems the be a dearth of climbing information in English when it comes to Colombia. Yes there are websites that talk about the amazing rocks of Suesca, Florian, and La Mojarra but there is little route by route info and few up to date guide books.
My goal here is to slowly add routes to Mountain Project and provide a short introduction to each area on this site while linking to the mountain project route guide. This is still an experiment on my part so bear with me because progress will be slow but hopefully steady.
Cheers and thanks for reading