Monday, August 30, 2010

La Puerta del Diablo 2

This weekend I returned to the Gate of the Devil's. Being the weekend, it was much more crowded. There were many locals walking around and all the little restaurants surrounding the parking lot were full. The weather was still very foggy, but still at least twice as clear as the first time.

We again climbed the tourist rock. Which was very crowded? At the top we even managed to get a peak at the surrounding cliffs during a short break in the clouds. After more pictures than were necessary, we descended and ate some pupusas.

After the lunch of pupusas, we looked for the other trails. The first one we found led to a large cave on the back side (side opposite the road) of one of the rocks. This is also when I started to discover some of the climbing routes. To my surprise, despite being in a constant fog, the routes were mostly dry and the rock grippy. This was in stark contrast to the routes I found last time that were covered in a wet slime.
Standing in the cave

Pro on one of the slimy the routes

After finding the end of that trail, we headed back to the parking lot, where I found another trail. This one led to more of the rock climbing routes, and the top of the larger rock. There weren't any other people on this trail, which was kind of nice. When the lack of people was combined with the fog, you really got a sense that you were alone. The climbing routes on this rock were all dry and looked very good, but difficult. Now I just need to find somebody to climb with.

Most of the climbing routes

Monday, August 23, 2010

SCUBA Diving Lago de Ilopango, El Salvador

One more thing I quickly knocked off my list of stuff to do in El Salvador, SCUBA diving. I have been missing the water for the last few year. Going from a landlocked country to the desert. When I heard there was diving to be had in El Salvador, I was excited. One more good way to spend my weekends.

My first Sunday here I joined one of my coworkers on a dive trip to Lago de Ilopango. Before going, all I knew is it was near the city and a fresh water volcanic lake. I was warned the visibility would be low. Having done most my diving in the ocean, low to me is 20 feet. Here between the dark water and a foggy mask, my visibility was limited to about 4 feet for most of the dives. At times, like when we tried to go deep, it was much less.

It was still a fun day of diving once I worked the kinks out of my gear and new dive buddies. The first site we went to had tons of small fish and crabs. There were also some soft sponges. When my gear gets here I will try to take my camera and get some pictures.

I was told that the coolest site is the volcanic vents, called the Devils Cauldron. We did not do that site, but it just gives me a reason to go back.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

La Puerta del Diablo

The Gate of the Devil.

The group of us found out about this place through different avenues. Some by word of mouth and others with the Internet.

The Gate was of interest to me, because it the the main rock climbing sight in El Salvador. The day we ended up going, the fog was so thick that it was almost impossible to see more than 20 feet. While this made the scouting rock climbing routes a lost cause, it did create an interesting view.

At the top of the Gate, you were completely enveloped in a cloud. In one direction there was a tree, nothing else was visible through the cloud/fog.

I did spot some climbing bolts near the parking lot, and one bolt at the top of the climb. I will have to return to see what the rocks hold. has most of the route rated as pretty hard. I hope that I can get at least one of the other guys to come out and climb with me. When the the dry season hits, it should be possible to climb here almost every day. list 62 different routes.

I almost forgot. The coolest part of this trip was the flock of parrots. When we were standing at the top you could here some birds below us. Due to the fog we couldn't see where they were just here them as they flew around the peak below us. Then suddenly they flew strait up the side of the hill right towards us. There were about 20 parrots. They made a quick circle around us, close enough to see them through the fog before disappearing again.

Here is the video I took from the top.

Zip Line or Canopy tours

My first weekend here in San Salvador, we set up a last minute zip line trip. We headed to the nearby El Boqueron Canopy Tour, located on the San Salvador volcano.

I brought my camera, but was afraid to bring it on the zip line because I was not sure what to expect. As it turned out, I most likely would have been fine. The zip lines were pretty tame. It was still a good time.

This was my first time on a commercial zip line. My only other experiances involved rope in my backyard or in the yard of the Jarnots.

The last 4 of the 9 lines were worth the money. They travel high over a valley, maybe 200 feet.

I will likely go back while I am here, likely when some other new people arrive. It is a good easy trip to put together, because it is so close.

These are the only pictures I have.

The Truck that drive you to the top

A map showing the nine zip lines