The Peñol stone hides many stories
I must confess that the last time I was there my new fear of heights prevented me from climbing the impressive rock.
And although I have seen it for a good part of my life, it did not stop producing in me the same sensation that only an imposing natural attraction can cause.
The same emotion as a child when he was so close.
Visitors begin to arrive
The expectation is great, everyone looks up as if something came from heaven, but no, it is trying to observe among the people who upload someone they know.
Well, and also the height of that macro-rock that by the design of nature emerged there.
The Stone of El Peñol
This giant rock that has accompanied the landscape of eastern Antioquia for two million years – two hours from Medellín – never ceases to amaze travelers.
• Its two hundred meters high make it not go unnoticed when a tourist is in these places.
The 3rd most impressive scalable stone in terms of the size of the whole world does not go unnoticed at all if of things that nature gives us.
That is why, according to some inhabitants of the area, the irregular mark that is noticeable on the underside of the giant GI that accompanies it to the western side.
I remember that as a child some brave men who looked like ants with a roller from my house began to paint the name Guatapé on its surface.
But a norm that prohibited to intervene this type of attractiveness prevented them from finishing their work.
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Anniversary of an odyssey
A few years ago, in 2004, it was the fiftieth anniversary of being first climbed. The feat corresponded to an intrepid neighbor of the place.
It all started in the middle of the 20th century. It was 1950 and the news spread in the region about the possible visit of some foreign mountaineers who came with the mission of climbing the monolith.
But there was also talk of the visit of some Argentines and some Spaniards who brought manual rockets and light ropes.
Some people from Medellín also wanted to be the first to climb the great rock, so they began making trips to the region to choose and prepare physically and mentally the people who would perform the feat.
A juicy contract could be seen coming
But Mr. Luis Villegas, a peasant from the area, went ahead of everyone and in the company of Ramón Días and Pedro Nel Ramírez.
And thanks to the support of Father Alfonso Montoya, pastor of Guatapé – who provided them with a 13-meter ladder – the dream came true.
The memorable date was written in history: July 16, 1954 Over the years the site became a place of unholy pilgrimage.
Hundreds of people wanted to go up, it didn’t matter that their ladders were made of wood and presented a challenge to tourists.
Those who flew out of there was because they wanted it that way but not by accident. The neighbors and vendors of the place say that about thirteen people have launched from there.
When the holidays are present, the monumental stone is visited by around 15,000 tourists.
- That on average would give a total of around 1,500 people a day, thousands of tourists who go up and down its 644 steps.
They appreciate from the top the best panoramic view of the reservoir adorned with mountains; who want to enjoy the freedom that only heights offer.
Crafts and all kinds
Images of the region are offered to take as a souvenir, and even tourists can take photos with one of the many boas that are kept rolled up in the hands of their careless masters.
And a journal-book with all the adventures and hardships of its first climbers can be obtained in any of the stores.
Enjoy a typical dish, a sancocho in one of the local booths and restaurants, or a soft drink at the top of the peak.
It is also a plan that many tourists fulfill every weekend.
The afternoon comes and the ride ends
Travelers return to their place of origin while looking on their calendar for the next holiday when they can decide whether to return to the stone, go to the reservoir.
Get to know the towns of El Peñol or Guatapé, or go to one of the recreational sites in the area.
The time will be enough to think.
To them and to all those who do not know this rock, sometimes forgotten in Colombia, I only say that it is a place to be rediscovered, a place that they will hardly forget.