The Best Rock Climbing in Costa Rica: The El Dragon Mountain
For guided tours to the DRAGON MOUNTAIN in COSTA RICA please contact
Jorge or Bosco - Alto Quepos Real Estate at email :
For great pictures, click on the links below:
The Dragon Mountain:
el Dragon as seen from Santa Rosa de Leon Cortes in the Tarrazu
look at the vertical rock of the Dragon Mountain in Alto Quepos,
Well, how can I describe being close to El Dragon... , many people think Costa Rica only offers beaches and rain forests and that the Chirripo Mountain is the only place high enough to climb. When visiting the Alto Quepos Tarrazu Mountains I discovered the above is not true. We took the early morning commute from Quepos and Manuel Antonio beaches in a 4x4 old Toyota and the ride began with a dusty road through the Quepos Plains and its famed African Palm plantations. We started to climb the mountains at Paso Real and Cotos, cattle farms and rain forests welcome us and an exciting river crossing at La Gallega and a bath a the river natural pools made us all aware of the magnificent trip we were about to start. After the river bath, we started to climb the mountain, the gravel road took us through steep gorges and fabulous scenary and sooner rather than later, we approached the Alto Quepos Mountain. We stopped at a property with well nursed grassland and a cute rural house down the slopes. Cattle pastured in the steep slopes unaware of the amasing views around them. To the North we can see the green Tarrazu valley with tin roofs reflecting the early morning sun and to the south, the green mountains rolling down to the not so -far away Quepos Plains and Manuel Antonio beaches. One can even see the waves crashing at the beach, well above 2000 meters / 6561 feet above sea level. At this point, to the east, we stared at the beauty of the Talamanca Cordillera, from the point the steep mountains touch the Quepos plains up to the highest peak at Cerro de la Muerte, green and blue mass of rock and forests and the ocassional waterfall in the distance tell us the value of nature a its finest.
Continuing the winding road thourgh the hills we started to see signs of civilization, coffee farms and tin roofed houses and cars tell us we are approaching the world famous Tarrazu Coffee valley, home to one of the best coffees in the world. We reached the San Lorenzo town soon and stopped to eat something at a local restaurant called "Tachito" (by the way the food is outstanding, specially the rainbow trout made with local spices ) in the city of San Marcos, a typical spanish town with lots of Indian people who arrived at harvest time to help picking coffee.
We continued our trip and after having lunch in San Marcos de Tarrazu, we headed west toward the small village of San Francisco de Leon Cortes, not far from here. We were told that San Francisco is at close distance and the gateway to our ultimate destination: EL DRAGON MOUNTAIN.
We went up and pass through San Pablo, then headed up the Abejonal road and started to climb to San Francisco, thick clouds and cool temperature told us we were approaching the highlands. after a while. we started to feel the mountain. Thick cypress tree forests and rugged hills greeted us and right at San Francisco village, we saw for the first time the mountain we were looking for. What we saw was an amazing mass of black and white rock thundering down almost at 90 degrees and crashing 1- mile down below. The DRAGON mountain is a twin peak mass of rock, covered to the north with dense tropical cloud forest, and to the south a steep wall of white and black stone. white clouds quickly form at the peak's dense forest, the wind transport them to the edge of the wall and come crashing down to the valley way beneath the mountain. at close range, seeing the wall and the clouds way above one can only marvel at God's creation, just like if He grab a sharp machete and cut the mountain to enable us to see the beauty of its interior.
Astonishg views of a little known mountain in Southern Costa Rica and not too far away from world famous Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park.
For guided tours to the DRAGON MOUNTAIN in COSTA RICA please contact
Jorge emai to:
Types of rock climbing practiced in Costa rica
Rock climbing may be divided into two broad categories: free climbing and aid climbing.
* Free climbing requires the climber use only his/her bodily strength for upward progress. Commonly confused with "free-soloing" which means to climb without a rope. The essence of free climbing is that, although gear may be used to protect a climber in the event of a fall, the actual "climbing" is being done without the help of any artificial device.
* Aid climbing involves using artificial devices placed in the rock to support all or part of the climber's body weight, and is normally practiced on rock formations that lack the necessary natural features suitable for free climbing.
Other kinds of climbing:
* Lead climbing is a method of climbing in which the climber (here called the "leader") climbs a route from the ground up. To protect him/herself, the climber trails a rope which is managed by a belayer who remains on the ground or at an established anchor. As the leader climbs, he/she can either clip the trailed rope through pieces of traditional gear (cams, stoppers), placed in cracks, or clip the rope through gear already in place (bolts, pitons). If a climber falls while leading, he/she cannot comfortably sit back on the rope and be held by the belayer as in toproping (where the rope is anchored above the climber); rather, the leader will fall twice the distance between his/her position and the most recent piece of protection (a cam, stopper, bolt, etc.) that he/she clipped the rope through (assuming this piece of protection holds).
* Traditional Climbing, or "Trad" Climbing. In Trad Climbing, the leader uses mostly removable gear (and the occasional bolt placed on lead) to protect against falls. As in all forms of lead climbing, the climbing team (a leader and follower, or multiple followers) begins at the bottom of a climb and ascends to the top, the leader placing protective devices in the rock as he/she climbs. Once the leader is finished climbing, he/she establishes a belay. The follower then "follows" the route and removes all of the gear placed by the leader. It is important that the leader be proficient at placing Trad (or clean) gear (cams, stoppers, hexes, tri-cams, etc.) because his/her safety depends upon the soundness of each individual gear placement. Placing trad gear on lead can be time-consuming and thus tiring, sometimes making routes feel harder than their rating. Trad climbing is primarily an ethic. It is this ethic that dictates only natural gear placements be made. This same ethic has driven many to put their lives in danger rather than place a bolt. If the climbers are exceptionally traditional, the leader will immediately lower to the ground or anchor after a fall (rather than continuing on from where he/she is hanging). It is, with perhaps the exception of Free-Soloing, the purest form of climbing. A true traditional ascent will leave no trace of its passage.
* Sport Climbing is a type of lead climbing which involves the use of pre-placed (generally meaning placed on rappel with a power drill, to the disdain of the avid traditionalist), permanent bolts for protection. This frees the leader from the need to carry and place traditional gear. The leader merely clips one side of a quickdraw (two carabiners connected by a loop of webbing) into a bolt and the other into the rope. Voila! A typical sport route will require the leader to carry between 6 and 12 quickdraws or "draws," one for each bolt in the string of bolts that protect the route. Sport Climbing, in essence, is focused more on the gymnastic aspects of climbing than the aesthetics or adventure. Sport routes are bolted with safety in mind and also because they generally (though not always) ascend faces that are unprotectable by any other practical mean. Bolts, however, are not foolproof. The same strignence concerning safety found in Trad should apply to Sport as well. In the case of a fall, sport climbers often rest on the rope and begin from where they are hanging, called "hang-dogging." Hard sport climbs often require that the climber literally rehearse every single move several times before he/she can complete a clean ascent (without falls).
* Top Roping involves suspending a rope from an anchor located at the top of a short climb. The climber ties into one end of the rope and is belayed by his belayer who manages the other end of the rope. The belayer can belay either from the top or base of the route. This is distinct from Lead climbing where the climber is not safeguarded by a rope attached to an anchor situated at the top of the route.
* Bouldering may be described as climbing short, severe routes on boulders or small outcrops. While safety ropes from above are occasionally used, most boulderers feel that the most ethical form of protection is a bouldering mat or pad similar to those used by gymnasts. In addition, other climbers standing on the ground may "spot" the boulderer, to help break his or her fall.
* Indoor climbing is a form of climbing that can involve bouldering, top roping, and leading in an indoor environment on wood or plastic holds. For most it will be the easiest way to begin the sport.
* Free solo climbing: Usually describes free climbing without a rope or other protective gear. Free solo climbing is distinguished from solo climbing where a climber progressing alone uses a rope and protection devices including a self belay system.
Alto Quepos Real Estate
in front of red cross
San Marcos de Tarrazu
Costa Rica 8055