Monte Roraima and Canaima National Parks - Brazil/Venezuela

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Monte Roraima and Canaima National Parks - Brazil/Venezuela
Created On: Feb 26, 2010
Last Edited On: Apr 19, 2012
Mount Roraima (also known as Roraima Tepui or Cerro Roraima in Spanish, and Monte Roraima in Portuguese), is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateau in South America.First described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 34 km² summit area is defended by 400m (1,300 ft) tall cliffs on all sides. The mountain includes the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.

Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela's 30,000 km² Canaima National Park forming the highest peak of Guyana's Highland Range. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago in the Precambrian Era.

The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima both lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains. The triple border point is at 5°12'08N, 60°44'07W, but the mountain's highest point is Maverick Rock, 2,810 m, at the south end of the plateau and wholly within Venezuela.

Flora and fauna

Many of the species found on Roraima are unique to the plateau. Plants such as pitcher plants, Campanula (a bellflower), and the rare Rapatea heather are commonly found on the escarpment and summit. It rains almost every day of the year. Almost the entire surface of the summit is bare sandstone, with only a few bushes (Bonnetia roraimœ) and algae present.Low scanty and bristling vegetation is also found in the small, sandy marshes that intersperse the rocky summit.Most of the nutrients that are present in the soil are washed away by torrents that cascade over the edge, forming some of the highest waterfalls in the world.

Culture

Since long before the arrival of European explorers, the mountain has held a special significance for the indigenous people of the region, and it is central to many of their myths and legends. The Pemon Indians of the Gran Sabana see Roraima as the stump of a mighty tree that once held all the fruits and tuberous vegetables in the world. Felled by one of their ancestors, the tree crashed to the ground, unleashing a terrible flood. Roroi in the Pemon language means blue-green and ma means great.

In 2006, Mount Roraima was the destination for the award-winning Gryphon Productions two hour television documentary The Real Lost World. The program was shown on Animal Planet, Discovery HD Theater and OLN (Canada). Directed by Peter von Puttkamer, this travel/adventure documentary featured a modern team of explorers: Rick West, Dr. Hazel Barton, Seth Heald, Dean Harrison and Peter Sprouse who followed in the footsteps of British explorers Im Thurn and Harry Perkins who sought the flora and fauna of Roraima in the mid 1800s. The adventures of those explorers may have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle's seminal book about people and dinosaurs, The Lost World, published in 1912. In 2006, The Real Lost World team were the first scientific team to explore the caves of Roraima, only recently discovered. Inside they found intriguing "carrot" formations growing in the 2 billion year old caves. Dr. Hazel Barton returned in 2007 on a NASA funded expedition to investigate the features growing on the cave walls and ceiling: evidence of extremeophile cave microbes eating the silica-based walls of the cave and leaving dusty deposits on ancient spiderwebs, forming these unique stalactite type shapes. They could provide clues to how life forms and survives on other planets.

In 2009, Mount Roraima served as inspiration for a location in the Disney/Pixar animated movie Up. The Blu-ray version of the movie disc bonus footage features a short film (called Adventure Is Out There) about some of the Pixar production team going to Mount Roraima and climbing it for inspiration and ideas for the making of Up.

Ascensions

Although the steep sides of the plateau make it difficult to access, it was the first major tepui to be climbed: Sir Everard im Thurn walked up a forested ramp in December 1884 to scale the strangely wind-and-water sculpted plateau. This is the same route hikers take today.

Today, Mount Roraima is a destination for backpackers. Almost all who go up the mountain approach it from the Venezuelan side. Most hikers hire a Pemon Indian guide in the village of Paraitepui, which is reached by dirt road from the main Gran Sabana road between kilometre 88 and Santa Elena de Uairen. Although the path to reach the plateau is well marked and popularly travelled, it is easy to get lost on top of the mountain, as there are few distinct trails and the near constant cloud cover on top and the uncanny rock formations make visual references problematic. Paraitepui can be reached easily by four wheel drive vehicle, with great difficulty by car if the unpaved road conditions are unusually fine, or by foot in about a day.

From Paraitepui, most hikers take one day to reach the base of the mountain, and then another day to follow "La Rampa" a natural staircase-like path, up to the top. Another two days are typically needed for the return, and many people spend one day and night on top of the mountain, making five days in total. Longer treks can reach the northern portion of the tepui, mostly in Guyana, with less explored and more intriguing sites such as Lake Gladys, although this offers more dangers than its more popular southern part and should only be attempted by well-supplied groups. The less adventurous can also reach the mountain, weather permitting, by helicopter tours available from the nearby Venezuelan city of Santa Elena de Uairén.

The only non-technical route to the top is the Paraitepui route; any other approach will involve climbing gear. Mount Roraima has been climbed on a few occasions from the Guyana and Brazil sides, but as the mountain is entirely bordered on both these sides by enormous sheer cliffs that include high overhanging (negative-inclination) stretches, these are extremely difficult and technical rock climbing routes. Such climbs would also require difficult authorizations for entering restricted-access national parks in the respective countries. As of 2009,climbing from the Brazilian side would be particularly problematic, due to the access being through Raposa-Serra do Sol Amerindian reserve, where armed conflicts between the natives, white rice farmers and the authorities have been frequent.






Comments

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Viewing: 1-18 of 18
goofball

goofball - Feb 26, 2010 10:03 pm - Voted 10/10

very nice photos

what a spectacular place. too bad (for me) i will never visit it.

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 8:07 am - Hasn't voted

Re: very nice photos

it is cheaper than you imagine to travel for the venezuela goofball,and it is a spectacular place

Romuald Kosina

Romuald Kosina - Feb 27, 2010 6:00 am - Voted 10/10

Album of...

Album of very good quality!!!!
Congrats!!!
Romek

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 8:08 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Album of...

thanks Romuald

Romuald Kosina

Romuald Kosina - Feb 27, 2010 6:02 am - Voted 10/10

Flavio,...

Flavio, I think that your work can be attached as Areas & Ranges.
Cheers!!!
Romek

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 8:10 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Flavio,...

Romuald,
for area/ranges I have to put more detailed information,in the moment it is only an album

Noondueler

Noondueler - Feb 27, 2010 12:49 pm - Voted 10/10

Great album!

Thanks for all the detailed written word and awesome photography as usual.

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 8:12 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great album!

thanks Noondueler,they are basic information,more details put later

EricChu

EricChu - Feb 27, 2010 4:44 pm - Voted 10/10

A great album!

The photos are absolutely spectacular!

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 8:12 am - Hasn't voted

Re: A great album!

thanks Maurice

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Feb 28, 2010 9:04 am - Voted 10/10

great photos...

Thanks... I think that I have seen this place in one of the Chris Sharma films...

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 8:14 am - Hasn't voted

Re: great photos...

i dont known Liba,I will find out better and I confirm you.

Excuse for all for my english.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Mar 1, 2010 11:10 am - Voted 10/10

Re: great photos...

No se preocupe Flavio... escribe me in espanol - haha (I speak this mix of Spanish/Italian, and some people think it is Portuguese) haha.

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 1, 2010 4:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: great photos...

i speak a mix the portuguese,spanish,and english,nobody understands,nor me.
about climb em roraima tepui,see that video of brazilians that climbed the prow(in portuguese):
http://www.eliseufrechou.com.br/roraima/


Lodewijk

Lodewijk - Mar 4, 2010 11:32 am - Voted 10/10

One of the

One of the best albums i have seen in a long time!!
Fantastic photos Flavio, thanks for sharing. I hope I can visit this beautiful place someday!
Lodewijk

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Mar 5, 2010 3:16 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: One of the

thanks lodewijk
it is cheaply to travel for the venezuela,and the country is very beautiful,the tepuis are the oldest mountains of the world,and the largest waterfalls of the world are there,like angel falls - 979m - and kukenam - 610m.
for the waterfalls go in the rainy season - april to november,for roraima tepui in dry season - december to march

Tomek Lodowy

Tomek Lodowy - Oct 11, 2010 7:05 am - Voted 10/10

superb

fantastic photos from that magic place

Flávio Varricchio

Flávio Varricchio - Oct 18, 2010 7:20 am - Hasn't voted

Re: superb

thanks Tomek
really a magic place

Viewing: 1-18 of 18


Monte Roraima and Canaima National Parks - Brazil/Venezuela

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