Urban Climbing in Rio
Rio de Janeiro boasts some of the best urban rock climbing in the world. Inside the city limits you can find hundreds of different climbing routes of unlimited variety. Many of these routes are found on the world famous rock formations of Pão de Açucar, Corcovado, and Dois Irmãos, offering unforgettable climbing experiences with astonishing city backdrops.
By far the most important and traditional climbing sector in the city is located in the neighborhood of Urca where we find Pão de Açucar, Morro da Urca and Morro da Babilônia. This easy-to-reach area has many options and is perfect for both beginners and for the most “callused” of climbers. In Urca you have everything from sport to classic trad climbs all within a quick 30-minute approach. There are perfect beginners slabs for those just starting to venture out on to the rock, as well as world class multi-pitch routes, such as the ultra-classic “Italian Route” (280 meters) with incredible views of the city below.
Beyond Urca we also have many other incredible climbing sectors around the city. Probably the second most important climbing zone in Rio is in the National Forest of Tijuca. There you find Corcovado, Pico da Tijuca and Pedra da Gávea. Climbing in the Tijuca forest you can get a taste of being outside of the city since most of the climbs start at a higher altitude and are further away from Rio’s traffic and urban congestion. The approaches tend to be longer, but are enjoyable and generally below the canopy of the Atlantic Rainforest.
Whatever climbing experience it is you are looking for, Rio de Janeiro has the answer (expect for maybe high altitude ice climbing). We have been climbing these walls for years and have gained a lot of experience helping people find the right climb for them. If you already have a goal in mind, like climbing to the summit of Sugarloaf or seeing the city from the side of Corcovado, let us know. If not, let us make some suggestion to help you better understand what this incredible city has to offer.
We offer both half day (3-4 hours) and full day (6-7 hours) climbing expeditions. We can also provide all the necessary equipment for your climbing needs. Some examples of interesting climbing sectors around Rio are listed below:
- Altitude: 396 meters
– Difficulty: routes varying between US 5.6 / Fr 3+ and US 5.14a / Fr 8b+
– Number of Pitches: routes varying from 2 to 12 pitches
– Classic Routes : Italianos, Coringa, Waldo, Largatão, Iemanjá
Sugarloaf is without a doubt the must iconic and most sought after mountain in Rio de Janeiro. All four of its faces are dotted with classic routes of varying length, difficulty and climbing styles. The spectacular views of the city and of Guanabara Bay combined with the unique esthetics of its climbs make this a summit that must be visited by all climbers visiting the city.
- Altitude: Babilônia 200 meters / Morro da Urca 220 meters
– Difficulty: routes varying between US 5.6 / Fr 4 and US 5.13a / Fr 7c+
– Number of Pitches: routes varying from 1 to 5 pitches
– Classic Routes : Infravermelho, Roda Viva, IV Centenário, Aresta do Urubu, Speed
Beyond the walls of Sugarloaf, Urca also boasts many other great spots for climbing. Morro da Urca and Babilônia are perfect spots for beginners to climb fun and accessible multi-pitch routes with stunning views of the sea and of neighboring Sugarloaf. Those interested in more of a challenge should stop by Pedra do Urubu, a local favorite to work on footwork and balance. Urca has a little something for everyone and also has the added advantage of having its own microclimate; it seems to always be the last place in the city to rain.
- Altitude: 710 meters
– Difficulty: routes varying between US 5.7 / Fr 4+ and US 5.12c / Fr 7b+
– Number of Pitches: routes varying from 2 to 14 pitches
– Classic Routes : K2, Macaco Prego, O Discreto Charme da Burguesia, Oitavo Passageiro
Corcovado is one of the most stunning walls of the city and is easy to recognized with the 30-meter statue of Christ perched on its summit. Some of the cities longest and hardest climbs are found on its south face, all of which offer oustanding veiws of the city and the Lagoa Rodrigo Freitas. Climbers looking for a shorter route with a nice aerial pitch should seek out K2, a classic 4 pitch climb up the east face. The buttress of Corcovado is also a great place for those that enjoy friction climbs.
Pedra da Gávea
- Altitude: 846 meters
– Difficulty: routes varying between US 5.7 / Fr 4 and 5.11c / 6c+
– Number of Pitches: routes varying from 2 to 10 pitches
– Classic Routes : Passagem dos Olhos, C-100, Aquarius, Sensação de Extase
Pedra da Gávea is one of the most impressive formations in the city. and can be easily recognized by its large flat summit. Most of the climbs here all start high up, so be ready for a long approach and a lot of aerial exposure.
Agulinha da Gávea
- Altitude: 610 meters
– Difficulty: routes varying between US 5.7 / Fr 4 and 5.12c / 7c+
– Number of Pitches: routes varying from 1 to 4 pitches
– Classic Routes : Jubileu de Prata, Jorge de Castro, Briefing
Agulinha da Gávea is hidden in the middle of the Tijuca Forest. Climbing here is like climbing in the middle of nowhere. Great short routes for beginners and a secret crag for sport climbers.
- Altitude: 210 meters
– Difficulty: routes varying between US 5.7 / Fr 4 and 5.11d / 7a
– Number of Pitches: routes varying from 1 to 3 pitches
– Classic Routes : Urbanoide, Calis, Lembranças de um Passado, Adrenalina 1000
Cantagalo is locataed next to the Lagoa Rodrigo Freitas and divides the neighborhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana. This mountain has many different routes that are all lots of fun and have great views of the cities most touristic neighborhoods. The routes are short (usually climbed in 2 pitches) and of varying difficulty, so if you are fast it is possible to climb more than one route in an afternoon. Most of the climbs here are bolted and have nice crimpy moves on vertical to slightly over-hanging rock, but there is also an entire trad section made up of more difficult crack climbs.
Obs. Part of our responsibility as guides is to evaluate the climbing ability of our guests and find the most suitable climb for them. Urca is this best place to conduct this evaluation, which occurs upon first meeting each other and having a conversation about the climber’s experience. Urca has the most variety of climbing and gives us the easiest options for any level of climber. Excursions to other climbing sectors are generally only scheduled after an initial climb together somewhere in Urca.