Weekend Whipper: Fear and Cacti in Brazil

By Rock and Ice | October 14th, 2016

There’s a saying in Brazil, “dor de cotovelo,” which translates to “elbow pain.”

“Here, this expression is used as a joke when someone is in a moment of jealous or envy,” Eric Penedo tells Rock and Ice, “like if you have spent a long period with your head over your elbows at a bar.”

The expression took on a second meaning for Penedo last Sunday when he and his climbing partners Naoki Arima and Zé Márcio attempted to establish a new multipitch route near the city of Itarana, Espírito Santo, Brazil. They were using a mix of natural protection and bolts. One-hundred meters up, Penedo traversed right towards a crack in a dihedral to make an anchor for the top of the second pitch. A foothold broke when Penedo was only inches away from the crack.

“I was heavy, with not only trad gear, but a pack with a drill and bolting gear,” he says. “I fell, hitting some vegetation that turned me upside down.

“Luckly, no injuries, just some scratches and a punch in the elbow. There was a cactus in the spot I fell, some close to the line of the route, but not many. Fortunately I didn’t fall right on it, but I carried one or two thorns on the way down.”

After the fall, Penedo ascended the rope and re-climbed the traverse to the dihedral where he could build an anchor. The team gave up on the ascent thereafter, but believe they were only one pitch away from finishing the line, where it would intersect with an existing route. “So far the route is a 5.7 average with 5.10 cruxes,” Penedo says. “The video looks scary indeed, worse then what I felt in the moment. I was lucky nothing serious happened.”

Check out the after photo of Penedo’s back and read more about their ascent (in Portuguese) on the belayer’s blog naokiarima.com.

Happy Friday and stay safe out there this weekend!


Watch last week’s Weekend Whipper: Fifty Footer on Gear


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