El Cocuy – Day 3 – Pulpito del Diablo and Pan de Azucar

Friday 31st July 2015

I woke up around 5.15am. Here was the view from the window of the dormitory where I slept.


We got ready, had brekky and started hiking around 6.30am, direction Pulpito del Diablo. Here was the map of the area we were heading towards.


Cabana Sisuma, when turning back to look at it, 15 min after having started to walk.


Juan Carlos the guide, 25 years old, younger of 8 brother and sisters, and who already has one 3-year old child. Later on, I called him Speedy Gonzales as he proved to be amazingly fast when hiking. And luckily, very patient with me, the slowest walker on Earth!!

Juan Carlos

First, we passed through La Plazuela.

La Plazuela

Walking towards the mountains. Beautiful landscape around.


We got to El Hotelito.

El Hotelito

We climbed and climbed up the rocks, in the direction of Pulpito del Diablo. That climb up  was one of the hardest of the 6 days I spent in El Cocuy National Park.


However, the landscape was really stunning.


And here


And up the rocks we went.


The weather in my back changed already, getting more misty.


Photo of the surroundings from higher up.


Half-way through. Lets climb more!

half way

And more and more of the rocks.


Finally made it to Alto de Conejo and pitched my tent around 12pm. View from the tent.

view from the tent

There was this little bird which kept coming around in silence.


Packed lunch from Cabana Sisuma that day.


I searched for the sunscreen lipstick in a purple dry bag and guess what was in there? A spider. Lovely.


Zoom in.


Behind my tent, I could see higher up Pulpito del Diablo and Pan de Azucar, appearing from time to time from the mist.

Pulpito and Pan

The tent in its surroundings.


Juan Carlo`s tent, from Pinguin brand. More solid and lasting than mine, and only one kilo too! And bigger. I had to say, I was impressed. 🙂 Only thing was it took a bit more space in his bag as the material was stronger. But it seemed like an awesome tent!


Around 2pm we decided to walk to the snow to see them from closer. View at the beginning. Changed lens for the 12mm prime lens, wide angle lens for that afternoon.


There, the rocks are fascinating with all their various layers.




The weather started to clear up which was nice. Getting closer.


I finally made it to the snow part around 3.30pm. I checked the GPS: 4818 meters high! 8 meters higher than the Mont Blanc, yihaa. Well, I tell you what, between 4,700 and 4,818m, that`s where I really struggled with the altitude, I got a big headache and walking up was tough! My heart was pumping.

It is possible to go to the summit of Pan de Azucar which is 5,100 meters high but it requires equipment, cords, crampons, pics. Now, for the story, I asked the guide why it was called Pulpito del Diablo and he told me that there was a man who wanted a bridge to cross when the rivers were flowing in summer from one side to another, and he made a pact with the devil who made a bridge but the man didn`t honour his pact and the devil decided to break the bridge.

made it there

The view from there.


4pm, another view while descending.


Back at the tents.


Sunset time with no colours, cooking time. Now here came trouble. We tried to use my MSR Whisperlite International with the thinner gas I had put in in San Gil, but it was not working well. The flammes were green and the gas very volatile, the stove kept stopping and we had to keep pumping constantly. It took an hour to cook a soup and the stove was 4 times more black than with the white gas of Shellite from Bunnings I had used in Australia. So we didn`t cook anything else. 😦

cooking time

6.35pm, Pulpito and Pan de Azucar.


Juan Carlos went to sleep to his tent while I stayed around to try to shoot some night shots with my time controller and my gorilla pod. It was full moon that night so used that full moon light to shoot the landscape.

night shot

It was nice to have the landscape like during the day, but with the stars in the sky instead.

night shot

Pulpito del Diablo and Pan de Azucar with the clouds moving towards me and the full moon on the right of Pan de Azucar, 30 seconds exposure.

Pan at night

Around 8.15pm, I was shivering from the cold and jumped in my tent in my +11 degrees liner, inside my -3 degrees sleeping bag and slept with 2 pants and the 5 top layers on, small sleeve, long sleeve, fleece, down jacket and even the goretex jacket! And did not even wake up at any point being too hot, slept all night with those layers!!!! Freeeeezing!!!

Next day, walking to Laguna Grande de la Sierra to pitch the tent there!

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