Serra do Cipó Mostly Sport climbing368 routes in crag
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Serra do Cipó is the sport climbing paradise in Brazil. It has all the features of a perfect climbing spot: beautiful sightseen, routes quantity, height and great variety of movements/holds/styles; plenty lodging choices, rest days activities, good food and friendly people. All this is enjoyable the entire year!
The region is famous for outdoor activities: several waterfalls, hiking and cycling choices. The village is quite small and offers a good variety of lodging and food choices for every pocket. It is located 100km from the nearest big city: Belo Horizonte; and 80km from the closest international airport: Confins (CNF).If you`re thinking of getting a nice climbing trip and still haven't decide where to go, I'm sure that in the end of this post you will have zero doubt about your next destination: BRAZIL.
The first things that will come to your mind when thinking about climbing in Brazil are the granite walls shown on every photo from Rio de Janeiro. It is inevitable, everybody wants to go to Rio, not only climbers. All those huge granite walls surrounded by beautiful beaches and nice night life make it clearly understandable that your first days in Brazil will be there. Rock climbing in Rio is an outstanding experience, there are several multipitch routes that can`t be missed, but, when it comes to sport climbing, Serra do Cipó is far much better. You have a lot more sectors and routes in a short walking distance and... It's limestone!
The best way to get around the crag is acquiring the guidebook from Serra do Cipó. In 2015 was released a Portuguese/English guidebook from the authors Wagner Borges, Eduardo Barão and Felipe Belisário. You may get it through the internet http://www.companhiadaescalada.com.br/pt/guia-de-escaladas-da-serra-do-cipo/ or at some of the local climbing lodges mentioned on the previous sector.
The crag is divided in 3 main groups: G1, G2 and G3; this last one is the most famous, it gathers many of the classic routes and it's where you shall spend lot of time. Each group is subdivided in sectors, with around 10 to 30 routes each. Serra do Cipó has now around 400 routes cataloged, it may looks few compared to places such as: Siurana, Kalymnos, Gorges du Tarn and so on, however, this Brazilian rock paradise can drive you throught limestone's journeys you still don't know exists.
You can encounter walls facing every direction, thus, you can climb under shadows all day long the entire year. It`s just a matter of learning how to run from the sun, or run to the sun if you want a tan.
You can climb at Serra do Cipó at any season; the annual temperature varies between 10ºC to 35ºC, from November to March is the hottest and rainiest period, the rest of the year it rains quite a little and from June to the end of August is when the cold weather helps the crimps to glue on your fingers.
Regarding food and supplies, that's another strong point from Serra do Cipó. In the main street you can find several restaurants of all prices and types: pizzas, sandwiches, snacks and Brazilian food (rice, beans, meat and salad). Also you can find at least one good supermarket with all supplies you need.
There are two places that you cannot miss during your stay: first one is the "Açaí da Serra", this is a little kiosk at the main restaurants square where you can find an outstanding "Açaí", this is a typical ice-cream very very tasty, refreshing and nutritive. It
s perfect for a post-climbing relax... Most of the climbers spend some time there after a nice day at the rocks. Another place that you cant miss is the pizzeria Berttucci, a cozy rustic house in the first roundabout. The pizza that has the name of the house is a masterpiece.
An excellent overview and description of the area is given in this blog entry: http://pedrasgerais.blogspot.com/2017/09/serra-do-cipo-brazils-sport-climbing.html
So let say you got to Brazil through Rio de Janeiro airport, spent a couple of days there: went to the beach, had some caipirinhas, made some classic multipitch routes (i.e.: Italianos with secundo at "Pão de Açucar" and k2 at Corcovado). Now is time to get on a plane to Belo Horizonte. "BH" as it is mostly known is the capital of Minas Gerais state and it is the closest big city to Serra do Cipó. By plane it would take you 1 hour from Rio, or 4 to 5 hours by car.
From the airport you must find your way to Serra do Cipó. The Airport is quite far from Belo H orizonte downtown, so you should look to go straight to Serra do Cipó. Unfortunately, there is no regular transport between the airport and the village, you should take a cab (which would cost around 45 dollars) or try to arrange a pick-up service with your lodging choice. Also, you can rent a car at the airport, the main rental company from Brazil is called "Localiza". Having a car at the village/crag is helpful, it will make your life much easier to move around between the rock->supermarket->restaurants->sleeping place; and also to visit some touristic points such as waterfalls.
From the main street at the village to the crag It's around 5km. Depending on where you
re staying, you can easily access the crag by foot. "Abrigo G3" and "Mandalla" are located really close to the rock: less than 1km. You may also try to rent a bike from the locals. From the parking lot at the road to the rock it is aroud 10 to 40min, depending on which crag youre heading into. Most part of the trails are under tree's shadows and not too steep. The parking lot is located right in front of the most expensive Inn at Serra do Cipó, It's name is "Carumbé". Park you car there if you have one, walk 200 meters to the oposit direction of the village and on your right is going to have a wood fence. That's the beginning of the track.
Where to stay
The most commonly lodging places for climbers are:
Abrigo G3 (camping and rooms) - http://abrigog3.blogspot.com/
Mandalla (only rooms, each day it is less focused on climbers) - http://www.espacomandalla.com.br/
Abrigo Cipó (rooms, very beatiful place) - http://www.abrigocipo.com.br/
Refugio São Francisco (rooms, very nice and friendly place) - https://www.airbnb.com.br/rooms/16669931
Refugio Árvore do Viajante - no website yet - Contact the owner: Tom Gomes; for lodging and pick-up service at the airport. Here you can camp and rent rooms. The owner is a very nice guy and the place is very nice!
Check out what is happening in Serra do Cipó.