Purpose Post Colombia

Usually this blog focuses on providing guide information for climbing in the wonderful Country of Colombia but as of 2 weeks ago I am no longer in the country… I have returned home, for the time being. With returning home I struggle with what the purpose of this blog will become. Should I leave it as is? Write about non Colombia related climbing mumbo jumbo? At this point I am not sure but I plan to continue to keep the website running as I have received messages (yes I read what people send me from the ‘contact’ page) and clearly the website has been of use for a handful of people.


Most of the writing here has been purely informational and I have shared little about myself personally. Now that things are shifting it would seem now is an appropriate time to share how I started this project and a bit about what brought me here and my future plans.


A year ago I quit a job I loved as an after school teacher in Salt Lake City Utah (Youth City for anyone who is interested). It was the best job I had ever had. However, it did not provide healthcare so as a 25 year old I was faced with a choice. Hunker down and find a new job that provided healthcare or use the money I had saved to do a trip before I turned 26 and lost my insurance via my parents. The original plan  was travel southern Mexico to Panama in 3 months. The trip ended up being a year long and ended in Colombia. My trip was transformed when I did a hike in Guatemala with the amazing Quetzaltrekkers a trekking and charity operation that funds a school and hogar (if you ever have 3 months of time to volunteer look no further than QT). I could write a book on how amazing Quatzaltrekkers is but ill keep it short. Basically I decided to volunteer as a hiking and climbing guide with them and the minimum was 3 months. My time at Quatzaltrekkers changed my life profoundly, not only did it change my role and purpose in the world but it also opened the door to future travel. I had spent little money in the 3 months that I was volunteering and had met loads of people who advised that I visit Colombia.


After a short bit of traveling in Central America with another ex guide and now close friend I made my way to Colombia. I started by volunteering on a farm building bathrooms and milking cows in order to save money. The farm was close to Suesca, the main rockclimbing area in Colombia. It was there that I realized that the information about rockclimbing in Colombia was fairly limited when it came to information in English. One would think that Suesca was the only place to climb in all of Colombia where in reality there are loads of places to get your rock on. I ended up buying a Motorcycle and doing a bit of a tour of the country climbing when I could and writing about it to keep myself busy.


However, my tourist visa has now expired and I am back in the United States. I would love to work in Colombia as I am CELTA certified and I am currently searching for work that could sponsor a work visa. Until then I plan to do loads of climbing and hiking  in the USA. Which brings me to a new cross roads, I would like to continue writing here but it would seem strange to write about climbing in the USA on a website called Rock Climb Colombia. There is a part of me that is thinking about creating a bit of a guide to climbing in the USA but in Spanish in order to practice my already limited Spanish skills. Anyway, in the coming weeks I will make a decision whether or not to abandon updating this website or start writing it in Spanish. Till then cheers and thanks for reading and thanks to all of you who have given me feedback.

Popayan: The White City

If you have been climbing in Colombia chances are you will eventually head south to visit Pasto (post coming soon). On the way to Pasto you will have the opportunity to visit the pristine colonial city of Popayan.


Popayan is know as “The White City” because of its white buildings. Why paint them white? It all has to do with an insect infestation from the colonial era which devastated the towns folk. These insects would bury themselves into the skin of their host and cause incredible itching so much so that the infected persons would use the cities coarse stone walls to scratch the incredible itch. Soon the town realized that they could kill the bugs with a chemical derived from chalk and painted all the buildings with it. Though the insects and chalk are no longer present the traditional white color for buildings remains.


            Photo: itching corner

There are many great activities to do on an off day in this quaint town. I recommend heading to National Park Purace or head to the thermals 30 minutes out of town and bike downhill on your way back.


Additionally, I recommend taking the free walking tour run by students which leaves from the main square at 10am. They guides are kind, knowledgeable, and funny. During the tour we even found about a free piano concert in the main theater that lead to a night of high class culture, which was refreshing after 9 months of a dirtbag backpacker lifestyle.


Popayan is a town worth stopping in for any traveler in Colombia. Whether it be a day or two or even a week this town will leave you wanting more colonial city exposure.