Contact with the natural environment and the rock is directly experienced through this vertical descent technique using ropes and crampons.
Mount Bandurrias, in San Martín de los Andes
, is on the way to the beaches that lie close to the city
. Likewise, it is a sports destination. Its rocky walls invite adventurers to enjoy abseiling, which definitely guarantees new sensations.
During our vacations, we resolved to devote one morning to experiencing that activity. We looked for the experts and the essential equipment. Once ready, we set out uphill from the lakefront. After ten minutes, we reached a huge rock we would use for our descent. Our instructors, known as Gallego and Rodrigo, gave us the necessary tips and explained to us how to use the accessories. Without haste, we gradually understood the function of each item. We put on our harnesses, which would support our legs and wait, and our helmet. We would hang from two natural balconies featuring diverse features. For such purpose, we would also use different ropes.
Neither of us had any previous experience. Therefore, every step we took in the company of our guides gave us confidence to enjoy ourselves. “It’s more about brains than brawn” they explained.
While standing up there, we had a look around to capture all the details. We caught a glimpse of the waterfront, the downtown beach and the hills surrounding the lake from a more spectacular perspective. The murmur of the city was muffled by a soft breeze coming from the west.
Each of us gave their first try following the instructor. We felt some vertigo but rested assured of being well-supported. First we had to walk backwards and then let ourselves be suspended and give short jumps on the rocky panel as a reference for our position. Serene moves and good use of the arms and legs were the secret.
We repeated the descent several times and relished the adrenaline we produced. Carabiners, descent ropes, webbing and other technical terms became more and more familiar for us.
We came to the second descent terrace: an enormous rock holding an old cypress. That was the spot where we would have our second practice. With Lake Lácar behind us, we faced the 40-meter-slope. We were all connected by a long rope and carabiner. And so we began descending while we observed the lake waters under our feet.
One of the boys dared to top rope off those very rocky hillsides, working with the anchors previously studied and using his feet. His hands were just accompanying the technique. As we saw him perching, suspended in the air, only held by the ropes gave us an idea of the autonomy and the privilege to make the most of a unique moment.
After sharing some mate and a snack that was the perfect finale for our encounter, we realized we had sealed our friendship forever. That morning would remain in our memories for the rest of our vacations and be a proof of our skill in the rocks, immersed in a natural environment.