Rock Climbing in Colombia

Colombia has great opportunities to get out, slip into a harness, tie on and get high on some rocks.

Rock Climbing in ColombiaWhether you have never climbed before, or are a seasoned pro, there are lots whether you’re after a day’s excursion a full rock climbing trip.

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Suesca, Colombia's rock climbing mecca

One hour North of Bogota's Portal Norte bendy bus terminal lies Suesca, the birthplace of rock climbing for the country. With over seventy years of climbing history, it is the most developed area, which now has in the region of 400 routes from 5.5 (Fr3) to 5.14 (Fr8b), with 3 to 4 pitch routes up to the crags height of 120m. The proximity to the capital brought droves of weekend warriors to the walls, creating a great buzz in this small scrappy pueblo. Rocas de Suesca is busiest on Sundays, where families escape from the capital for the open space among the rocks, lakes and trails of the area. The main street has all you could need, a well-stocked climbing shop open Saturdays and Sundays, Monodedo (www.Monodedo.com with climbing info for all the country) plenty of restaurants and snack bars. El Nomada hostel (www.elnomadahostel.com in Spanish) is the latest climbers’ hub for cheap breakfast and lodgings. For those new to the sport El Nomada also offers climbing sessions, with all the safety equipment provided and instruction, as does the Monodedo climbing shop, where you can also hire climbing shoes per day. Camping is also an option a few minutes’ walk from the rocks themselves.

The Rocks of SuescaThe look of the crag adds to the ghostly and mystical feel, covered in beard like moss which makes it look as if its straight from the latest Hobbit movie. Adding to the charm of the venue a railway track runs at the crags base next to a meandering river. Once home to Muisca an indigenous people who in their language Suesca, translates to the ‘Rock of the Birds’ who believed that the rock was a God. One of the stand out areas today known as the Virgin crag, is said to have been place of worship and human sacrifice. In the 1950s a bishop saw the rock with its pictographs left by the Muiscas, declaring the site full of evil spirits. The Bishop had the wall painted white, and put a white statue of the Virgin on top of the roof, which still stands today

Some additional notes for experienced climbers, the routes up to 5.9 (HVS/E1) tend be naturally protected, and those above equipped with fixed gear, although theres no hard and fast rule. The sport lines comprise of bolts and pegs some having huge runouts between fixed gear, a set of wires and a handful of cams are most definitely recommended. The routes are of good quality, with a good spread of styles to keep most climbers happy and content for multiple trips, from overhanging pump fests, technical walls, and perfect crack lines to get your jamming fix.

Guidebook: Available from Monodedo, black and white topos in Spanish

=> Rest Day Suggestions: Outdoor Thermal sprimgs ask locally for “Los Thermales”. Nemocon Salt Mine to hear about the process of salt extraction, and visit where the 33 is being filmed, the adaptation of the Chilean miners rescue.

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La Mojarra

Situated between Bucaramanga and San Gil (Colombias adventure sport capital) on the side of Chicamocha canyon national park is the crag known as La Mojarra. From either of the mentioned cities a connection bus is required at Piedcuesta, which will take you towards Mesa de Los Santos, but tell the driver your going to Refugio de Roca (refugiolaroca.blogspot.com and facebook) Perched on the hillside, the refugio has an impressive view of of the first sector of this beautiful positioned playground. All safety equipment and instruction can be hired from the refugio, as can dormitory beds, and plenty of space for camping.


The setting for the escarpment is one of the most impressive scene's for a single pitch crag. High on the mesa, the rock walls stand proud overlooking the canyon below. Development of climbing on the tabletop has been going on for 10 years, yielding over a 100 routes from 5.8 (Fr5) to 5.13b (Fr8a) up to 30m. The rock is bullet hard sandstone, with the predominant features being roofs, crimps, horizontal edges, and crack climbing. The majority of the routes are fully bolted sport routes, with a handful of lines need the odd piece of trad protection, and the cracks have been climbed traditionally, or 'escalada clasico' classic rock climbing, as its referred to there. During the summer months (Dec - Mar) the heat of the sun requires late starts until the crag is covered in shade around 11am, allowing you to enjoy a slow breakfast whilst soaking up some vitamin D. The whole pace of life on the mesa allows great climbing days with long afternoons, relaxing evenings at the refugio's bar and cafe, with new friends, all conductive to some great country living. The area is quite basic, small shops have basic supplies, otherwise its a short bus ride into Los Santos has a slightly better selection.

Guidebook: Topo available at Refugio

=> Rest Day Suggestions: Farmers market on Sundays, for great food drink and atmosphere. Ride the cable car through the Chicamocha Canyon and visit the National Park. Walk to Los Santos, the main town on the mesa, get some cheap lunch and stroll through the streets.

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La Florian

Colombia’s answer to Thailand or Kalymnos, this area is for the more experienced climber, with grades starting at 5.11 (Fr6b+), bring lots of energy and think three dimensional climbing on Limestone tufas. Located in the state of Boyacá, 5 hours North of Bogota. Has the potential to overshadow other areas in the country for sport climbing.

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Tayrona National Park

Giant Rock by the beach Tayrona National ParkOn the Caribbean coast line a short bus ride from Santa Marta, Tayrona need no introduction if you’ve done some research on where to go in Colombia. This area deserves a visit with or without climbing in mind, potentially some great bouldering can be had on the various funk shaped granite boulders. This is if the park wardens allow you, generally at weekends and holiday periods you’re probably not going to be permitted. You’ve been warned, this is more of a, well your visiting anyway why don’t you put your rock boots and chalk bag in your rucksack kind of suggestion.

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Thanks a lot Stuart for the information!

Stuart took voluntary redundancy from his engineering career, he left the UK in Novemember 2013 and has been travelling through Central and South America, putting on a harness and throwing some moves on the rock when the opportunity arises.

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