Climbing at Pico Blanco is one hell of an adventure. Including the fact that it is best to stay for the night, one could say that it has the feel of a mini expedition climb. All factors combined, this is the most extreme location of all mentioned in this guide. Not only is getting to the top of the wall a challenge, with the lowest grade being 5.11c, but getting to the base of the wall is also a challenge with solid class 4 trekking constantly uphill through venomous snake inhabited forests with no or little trail to follow. Moreover, the weather and amount of time it takes to get there makes Pico Blanco suitable for only the fit, strong-willed, adventure seeker.
There are multiple walls on a single large feature of rock called El Torre (The Tower), which is visible and aesthetically magnificent from a good portion of the latter bit of the approach. El Torre jets up out of the hillside and provides a view of San José as an incredible backdrop while climbing. Because of the high altitude, cool temperatures, and amount of mist, lichen has coloured much of the wall in bright oranges, yellows, and greens.
There are various features such as a large slab section, an arête, and straight vertical wall. Also a large ledge provides a second belay for multi-pitch climbing. There is great potential for expansion on this rock, as the wall around the 6 routes that have been bolted is vacant.
The metamorphic rock provides visually pleasing arrays of colours, and a physically enjoyable selection of pockets, ledges, and crimps. The rock can be a bit chossy due to the constant heating and cooling from the changing weather. I would highly recommend a helmet.
Bring all food and water as the closest source of either is a 2 hour hike into San Antonio. Many locals drink from the nearby river regularly without problems. If you are bringing food in, please ensure you take your garbage out.
The elevation of Pico Blanco (2428m) can be both friend and enemy as weather can change quickly from sunny, windy, and cool, to cloudy, windy, and cold. In the heat of the Costa Rican summer, Pico can be a comforting place to climb thanks to the much cooler temperatures (sometimes 10°Cdifference or more) found in the mountains in comparison to the valley and city. However the weather can also wreck havoc on your climbing plans. If the cloud ceiling is particularly low, expect the weather on Pico Blanco to be wet, cold, and windy, even if it is hot and sunny in the city. For this reason, it is always good to not only check the weather forecast before you leave to climb, but also to look up at Pico Blanco and determine if clouds are engulfing the peak.
Pico Blanco hosts a great potential for more than the 6 routes that are currently found on a single section of the mountain. With many other rock faces around the summit of Pico Blano, it would not be a suprise if future developments were targeted for this area. All of the routes here are at the harder end of the spectrum and have incredible exposure, with views of San José and the surrounding valley, giving Pico Blanco the feeling of being more like a big wall climb that single pitch sport climbs. Routes are listed counter clockwise starting with El Trepon de la Zeguea.