Although Rio’s urban climbing is stunning, the truly magical climbs are found by traveling north into the mountainous regions of the state. It is here that the rock formations take on gigantic proportions and we can venture out onto some of the most historic and astonishing climbs in all of Brazil.
The peaks located in the Serra dos Órgãos National Park and Três Picos State Park offer a serious adventure for those who aren’t afraid of longer and more difficult approaches, have adequate experience in climbing multi-pitch routes and enjoy a higher degree of exposure.
Dedo de Deus
Just about one hour drive from Rio and close to the neighboring city of Teresópolis is Dedo de Deus (God’s Finger, 1675 meters), the most famous needle formation in the Serra dos Órgãos mountain range. By far the most frequented route on this peculiar mountain is the East Face (4+/ 5.8), a beautiful sequence of comfortable chimney pitches that leads you to the mountain’s unique summit where one can see as far as Sugarloaf on clear days. Despite the apparently low grade, between the intense approach (that includes sections of steep ferrata), the high exposure and the chimney pitches, it feels quite demanding, both physically and mentally . It can be done in a full day leaving Rio early in the morning and returning at late afternoon, eventually at night.
Driving a couple hours further, between the cities of Teresópolis and Friburgo, is the hidden valley of Três Picos (Three Peaks), also known as Salinas. This region is probably one of the best climbing areas in all of Latin America. With astonishing rock faces at 2,000 meters above sea level, classic routes of over 700 meters of mostly free climbing and a much cooler temperature than the rest of Rio, Salinas is as close as it gets to alpine climbing in the tropics! The medium to long approaches into the valleys of Jaborandi, Três Picos and Vale dos Deuses helps to create a sensation of being in a remote magical climbing paradise.
With dozens of routes in the Salinas region it is difficult to pick a favorite, but we suggest starting on No Mundo da Lua (5 / 5.9, 300m), or Sólidas Ilusões (6a / 5.10, 450m) to start off with. Both routes boast more than 6 long pitches of relatively well protected climbing by Salinas standards (which tends to be run out), with quick descents rappelling down the east face of Pontão do Sol and Capacete mountain. We would need at least two days to go there, climb and return back to Rio.