Chirripo in a Day – Climbing Costa Rica’s Tallest Mountain in One Day

The problem with climbing Chirripo in a day has nothing to do with the complexity of the trail. When we decided to hike from San Gerardo to the top of the tallest point in Central America, there was nothing that could prepare us for the challenges that lay ahead. Here’s the story.

Chirripo in a Day

Chirripo in a Day

Written documentation of the day trip will go here.

Elevation Gain Comparisons for Understanding

The elevation gain of this hike is about 2,470 meters.

Hiking from San Gerardo de Rivas (1350 meters), Costa Rica to the summit of Cerro Chirripo (3,820 meters), is the elevation gain equivalent of:

  • Climbing the Eiffel Tower (300 meters) 8.2 times
  • Climbing the Freedom Towers (541 meters) in New York 4.5 times
  • Climbing from the town of Mammoth California to the top of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area then climbing down 1/3 of the mountain and back to the top.
  • Hiking from Reno, NV (1,374 meters) to the top of Mount Rose (2,716 meters), then doing it again.

Planning the Chirripo Hike

Chirripo Hiking Stories

Stories of Chirripo in a Day

Chirripo Maps

A nice map for planning Chirripo in a day

Planning a Hike to Chirripo in a day

Cloud Bridge Nature Reserve, Costa Rica

We took a very short walk through the Cloud Bridge Nature Reserve in Costa Rica.

V became a bit confused while navigating a meditation labyrinth.

We found a beautiful wall covered in vines. Both of us are a bit worried about the 18-mile hike we have planned tomorrow up the tallest mountain in Costa Rica.

Though V’s gaze declares confidence, inside she may be feeling dread for the adventure to come.

Beautiful waterfalls help us think not of the upcoming hike.

Balancing sticks also provides a departure from worrisome thoughts.

This fence has a closing mechanism that I appreciate deeply. Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

A stunning memorial garden.

I’m creating a very in-depth blog post about how to hike Chirripo in one day. It will be available early next week. I hope you have a beautiful day.

On Catching Waves

What follows is an epiphany on catching waves. Something clicked for me today and I hope that this information could be helpful to some other person learning to surf.

On Catching Waves

The key to powerful wave catching is a combination of momentum, timing, and positioning.

Three Keys to Effective Wave Aquisition

Positioning | Timing | Momentum

Positioning

Waves have a Shape of Ideal Takeoff (SIT).’ A surfer’s capacity to identify the SIT is an important point in their understanding of waves. Once the SIT is identifiable to the surfer, she should be looking for it at all times.

What is the SIT position? The SIT position is the point where the wave reaches a steepness in which the gravitational pull of the surfer’s weight drives them forward on the face of the wave.

Thoughts on Catching Waves

Great surfers can maximize momentum and catch waves that are in their ‘too early’ phase. Great surfers can catch waves in their ‘too late’ phase as well. No matter who is surfing, it’s easiest and sets her up the best, if she finds herself in that perfect SIT position.

It’s common to watch beginners paddling for waves and not catching them. It’s also common to watch beginners paddling for waves that are moments away from breaking. This often leads to them having to ride the wave out on their belly to keep from losing control. The most common reason for these failures is that they don’t know how to identify the SIT position.

Momentum

The wave is coming at you at a higher level of speed than you are capable of generating. If you can achieve an amount of speed closer to that of the oncoming wave, the change in speed from your paddle speed to the wave speed will be less dramatic. A less dramatic change in speed allows for less exact timing on the part of the surfer.

In very steep, fast waves, the best surfers do not need as much momentum. I’ve seen surfers on the North Shore of Oahu catch waves without paddling at all. This is because those waves are incredibly fast and tall.

On Catching Waves

When surfing chunky, slow waves (like the ones that are all over California), it’s important to gather a lot of speed before the wave comes upon you. That’s because the waves are often slow and they break when they are fat.

When surfing slow waves, it’s more important to approach waves with high-level momentum.

When surfing faster waves, there is less importance on momentum and more on having excellent timing.

Momentum and wave speed diagram for learning to surf

Timing

Timing differs from positioning even though the two are intimately entwined. The key to timing a wave correctly is a mixture of knowing where the SIT position is and having a good deal of momentum built up so you meet that SIT position with a good deal of time.

Final Thoughts On Surfing

If the surfer can identify the SIT position in an oncoming wave, time her paddling as to carry momentum at the right time, she will have an easy time catching the wave.

When initially surfing larger waves with scarier SIT positions, it will be scary to do this. Overcoming that fear is critical. The moment I realized this was the moment I forgot to be afraid of the size of the wave.

Fearlessness can be cultivated with repetition. When learning to surf, if our surfer sets aside a month or two to live walking distance from the beach, she will have a much greater potential to learn to surf.