Down Cerro Chirripo

So the same day I summited we decided to get down the mountain because it was quite cold in the hostel – no heat, no cooking equipment, etc. Not to mention we wanted to be able to breath again! We had rested up some, but we were still a bit stiff. So we started down the mountain at 10am. Everyone said the descent took them about 2/3rds of their ascent time, so we though no problem! – so we were descending, making pretty good time at 2k per hour, but the descent from km11 to km7 was very difficult, non-stop downhill. We started to wonder how we ever went up it in the first place!

 Crystals knee was starting to bother her with all this downhill, so we stopped at the half-way emergency shelter and had some dried beans for lunch. We were still on schedule to be out of the park by 4pm or so. Then it started to rain. That slowed us down. Then at about km6 Crystals knee was hurting so bad that she couldnt go on. So I had to carry her pack and that helped a bit, then she couldnt go even without the pack. So finally I found her a walking stick (it WAS the jungle after all, there were sticks!) and she tripped her way down the mountain, at a much slower pace. We kept this up for hours, since we didnt want to spend the night on the mountain. Somewhere in this,  some people wed talked to briefly on the way down the trail passed us on the way down and saw Crystal was hurt. Didnt really offer any help, just said that the stick would help and kept sailing on down the trail. At the time I thought some good samaritans they were! – so we kept hobbling down the hill. Crystal with a hurt knee and me with about 60 pounds of pack weight.

 We continued this until dark, at which time we were at km3. We kept going with flashlights, until finally at km 1.5 I saw someone coming from downhill. Someone with 4 legs who went whinny!. Apparently, the good samaritans that had passed us had gotten worried that no one had heard from us and had hired a horse with their own money (25$) to come and get us. So with the horse to carry Crystal and the guide to carry one of the packs, we finally made it down the mountain a little before 8pm.  I dont think either of us had ever been that tired before.

The horse was amazingly able to handle the trail. It was a rough trail – rocky, steep, unpredictable – and the horse did it in the dark, without looking at is feet. Quite impressive. The guide said they train for 3 years on the trails before they are used for people. The people who had sent the horse werent around, but some other people wed met from NJ were waiting and told us what happened. And they helped me carry the pack the last little bit to where the car came to pick us up from the hotel.

I was practically unable to move when I finally got in bed that night. Chirripo did have magnificent scenery, and some really beautiful flowers, birds, and vistas but I would not have done it had I known how hard it would be. Ill post some pictures of the trek when Im on a better computer, and give some more detailed information for anyone considering climbing it themselves.  

2 Responses

  1. Paul Maples Says:

    This report is getting worse, not better. It is my considered opinion, whatever that is worth, that you and Crystal need to hop a plane and get back to the States before one of you get killed. I thought about hiking some today but went and laid down until the feeling passed.

    Be careful please! and return safely SOON.

    Paul

  2. Natnee Says:

    Well, a little bit of adventure is good for the soul :)

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Posted on January 27th, 2009 by Natnee and filed under Costa Rica |

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