QUITO – Andean boulders measuring from 5 to 200 meters (16 to 655 feet) became the setting for the adventures of two young Ecuadorean women, who have documented their rock climbing to show fellow mountaineers what they consider a paradise of beautiful and often hidden landscapes.
They traveled 34 days and more than 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) up dozens of boulders on an adventure in which they invested some $15,000 and during which they explored 14 rock-climbing destinations in the Ecuadorean Andes.
Both geographers, Andrea Castillo, 28, and Maria Fernanda Cevallos, 30, share their experiences and joys, their falling down and getting up again, through the documentary “Latitude Zero Climbing Rocktrip,” produced by Andre Acuña, 25. and Arturo Albornoz, 28.
The trip, which took them from Pichincha province – whose capital is Quito – to Loja province bordering on Peru, surprised them not only with its spectacular landscapes but also with the diverse fauna, including the condors soaring overhead, Albornoz told EFE while noting that the purpose of the documentary is to identify places for practicing the rock-climbing sport.
“The climbing locations are unknown, but in truth, Ecuador is so small they’re all just steps away. People just don’t know how to get to them but they’re great,” Acuña said.
Unable to pick a place he liked best, he recalled that the reason for Ecuador’s vast biodiversity is because the landscape keeps changing in just a few kilometers. “We’re in Oña (Loja province), which has a sandy kind of rock, very red and dry, but you go to Tangan (Cotopaxi province) and it’s like a jungle,” Acuña said.
Albornoz recalled that when climbing a peak in Oña, they were surprised to find “a paradise, a green oasis” with fruit trees amid an arid desert.
“Every place we climbed had its own beauty, none are the same,” he said.
All these natural treasures are reflected in the documentary, which won the Premio del Publico award at the 2017 Ecuador Adventure Film Festival, and which shows in 15 minutes – the time stipulated by the contest – the wonderful landscapes, including those that are hidden because of their difficult access.
The rest of the material will screen in 14 episodes on a Web site that specializes in adventure sports.