/ Climbing in Portugal Q- ab rope for Sagres & co
My partner and I are off to Portugal in just under 10 days, and in classic "we'll figure it out when we're there fashion" there hasn't been a lot of thought about what to take. As we're unsure as to what guidebook is best, we were planning on getting it once down there (Faro) so we can have a browse.
We're planning to mostly be in the South, i.e. Sagres and Rocha da Pena. About the sea cliffs: I imagine an ab rope is advisable? Has anyone been down there and could suggest a length?
Generally: Are there areas that are particularly worth going to? We have a week, so enough time to visit the granite around Lisbon, too. Is there enough sport there to justify a visit? We were thinking of leaving the trad kit at home.
Thanks for any info!
We were there in, I think, 1990 and didn't have an ab rope. Nor a topo. Nor any info on if or what had been done save for rumours of some lines having been bolted on the Western side of the promontory. So we just peered over the edge, spotted ledges above the water line, abbed in, pulled the ropes and hoped we could climb our way out! Exciting stuff, routes up to E5, but the most exciting was when we misjudged that our ledge wasn't always above the water line!
I'd take a 70m ab rope. And take a big pair of conkers because some of them cliffs at Sagres put the fear of god into me even though they are bolted mostly. The raging sea really does give it an edge. That deep water soloing cliff was way too much for me, I didn't even scramble down. Looks good but the sea is just too rough.
I did find it quite hard to find stuff too.
Rocha de Pena is bobbins, maybe a day for a laugh at most.
I was in Portugal a few weeks ago - didn’t climb much but got the 2017 guide (https://www.outside.co.uk/portugal-rock-climbs-versante-sud.html) from the Depot in Sheffield.
We visited Sintra for a night but didn’t climb unfortunately. However it looked like most of the granite there was bolted. There were big display topos on there walk up to the castle from town (which passes the crags) and you could see loads of bolts - everything had french grades too.
The guide seems pretty good - welcome to borrow it if you’re passing through Leeds at all.
Have a look at this post here:
It's more about DWS and Ingrina, but I wouldn't want to go to Sagres without going to Ingrina at least once. It's great!
A couple of posts down there's something I mentioned about the local climber's Facebook group. If you search for it you'll be able to get up to date information about the state of the fixed kit around Sagres, and no doubt they'll tell you about access.
Ingrina is nice if DWS is your thing. Sagres is good - an ab rope is useful although there are some scramble down areas. The Mirror is magnificent - abseil down to a small ledge just far enough above the sea. Our abseil rope went into the water and was dragged directly out to sea in a straight line. The sea was monstrous, but fortunately the ledge was a bit protected - huge green juggernauts thundering past. If we had had the misfortune to fall in the next stop would have been Brazil. The first thirty feet was bolt free and wet from spray and so a shunt on the ab rope as a temporary top rope was deemed prudent - non-one's going to come and get you. Great climbing - bolts difficult to see because of the features of the rock. Some good trad there for the bold of heart. One of the memorable bolt-protected routes.
Recommend a day at Sintra climbing on the granite slabs under the castle. All bolt protected apart from just 1 or 2 crack lines.
Some ones to look out for:
Never went to the sea cliffs but the bouldering was also good around sintra.
Enjoy your trip amazing surfing as well.
It's like Pembroke on roids some of it. Take wires as some of the bolts are just terrible. But mainly the fear is from the sea. It's ferocious. I guess that's why there are so many surfers about.
Highly Recommend going to Ingrina, really friendly DWS, nearly all S0, especially the 'easier' routes on the left.
Sagres is fantastic - really atmospheric climbing. But it does jut out into the Atlantic so wind and waves can be very atmospheric. Be prepared to adapt your plans to suit the weather. Rocha de Pena is a much gentler alternative. Its not destination climbing but I wouldn't write it off.
For a bit more beta you could see our blog
For Sagres a 50m abb rope will suffice for the majority; although 70 would help on a couple of the buttresses. These have intermediate abb points.
As mentioned it's worth obtaining Cuca's Portugal guide. More info on the trad climbing in the Dromidario Cafe. There's plenty to do at Sagres for a week. Do visit Cabo da Roca if you decide to go up to Lisbon; and Sesimbra on the peninsular south of Lisbon.
Join the local Facebook page if you want to meet local climbers https://www.facebook.com/groups/1703970309817747/
There's some Google Map co-ordinates in this thread. Bit out of date but plenty to be going on with.
Wow, thanks for all that advice guys! Much appreciated.
@James: Cheers for the guidebook offer, unfortunately I won't be anywhere near Leeds before then, so that should save your guidebook from accidentally ending up in the sea ;)
I'm in Portugal each spring, and have often had a day on my own down at Sagres. My absolute favourite (at my grade of 6a+) is to set up a top-rope off the bolts at the top of The Mirror, abseil down the 50m to the ledge below the overhang, and then climb Montezuma 6a with a shunt. Fantastic position above the Atlantic, and lovely climbing. To find The Mirror (a triangular wall), drive towards Cabo de Sao Vicente, and park by a yellow 'cube' about 300m before the lighthouse. Walk to the west, and The Mirror is almost opposite a large island. You can see the face from a nearby headland.
There is lots more of the same a short walk to the east of Sagres, on the Navigator Slabs and Ponta de Baleira. Details in a folder in the Dromedary Bar in Sagres.
Good bouldering at Beliche Beach, and more votes for the DWS at Ingrina and for Rocha de Pena.
Contact me if you'd like scans of stuff that I've got.
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