Climbing in the Azores

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Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2022-03-23. Autor: Milena

Climbing in the Azores is pure pleasure – that’s what I can tell you.

You normally climb here among juicy greenery, with a view for the fields or/and the ocean. Basalt fits your hands and the fresh air lets you take a deep breath. That’s life!

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Of course only if it’s not raining. Or if hasn’t just stopped raining. As I always repeat – the weather on the Azores is volatile. Really. You have to be aware of it when you come here. (For example, when I was writing this text, my whole laundry, which was almost dry, got wet. Because suddenly a 2-minute downpour appared).

In the summer, though, it’s normally warm and it rains much less than during the winter. That’s why now, in April, me and my friends are already waiting for warmer, rainless days. We want to get out from a closed sports hall to an open air and feel thousands years of volcanic history under our fingertips.

You have to get ready to all of that, though.

In the Azores the sports climbing routes are equipped, but they are not being maintained. At least not officially. It’s the climbers who maintain them. Before each season a group of climbing enthusiasts goes with brushes for cleaning the rocks and removes moss, leaves, twigs and soil, which accumulated during the winter. Do I have to tell you that after that a person looks like a escapee from hell? But it works. After such cleaning you can easily climb.

You also have to your own equipment, although this is probably obvious. There’s no equipment renting company. People who want to climb in the Azores bring their own ropes, harnesses, quick-draws etc. or they contact a local climbing group and arrange common rock climbing date with them. It the latter situation they have anyway at least their own harnesses and climbing shoes. The ones who prefer bouldering don’t have to worry about the equipment.

Fot. José Fonseca

In the Azores you have to have your own insurance.

This is very important. Climbing is considered to be an extreme sport and as such, it needs a special insurance. It’s worth arranging it before the trip. If you plan a longer stay in Portugal, you may use the Portuguese insurance. There are two organizations that provide that: Federação de Campismo e Montanhismo de Portugal (FCMP) and Federação Portuguesa de Montanhismo e Escalada (FPME).


trekking

Trips to the Azores & tours in Terceira

Do you want to get to know the Azores? Are you looking for someone who knows them inside out and will arrange an unforgettable journey from A to Z? Who will take care of your accommodation, transport and attractions? So that all you have to do is pack your suitcase and good mood, and get to the airport? Or you want a full day tour to get to know Terceira island? If so – you are in the right place!

 

Send me a message, I’ll be happy to help you!


Where to climb?

You will find equipped sports climbing routes in Terceira, Pico, São Jorge and São Miguel. Most of them is localized on somebody’s private fields, meadows etc. It means that using them, you have to be careful both because of the surrounding nature and somebody’s property.

As a reminder, you may check my article „20 ways to be a perfect tourist.”

Where to climb in Pico, São Jorge and São Miguel?

I’m leaving Terceira for the end, because I know it the best. In the case of these three island, I will name the places. You may also click on the map, which you’ll find below (I found it on the website Spots de Escalada em Portugal), to get to know where exactly these places are localized.

Pico:

  • Baia de Canas – northeastern part of the island, between S. Miguel Arcanjo and Prainha
  • Cachorro – northwestern part of the island, right next to the airport
  • Calheta – eastern part of the island, Southern shore, Feteira
  • Pé do Monte – western part of the island, close to Calhau and Monte

São Jorge

  • Fajã do Ouvidor – northern part of the island, in Fajã do Ouvidor; the closest bigger locality is Norte Grande; in this fajã (a kind of bay built as a result of a landslide) there’s a beautiful lake, you can’t miss swimming in it!
  • Urzelina – southeastern part of the island (although it’s difficult to name the directions here, because the island is placed “diagonally”), in a locality Urzelina

São Miguel

  • Ferraria – western part of the island; not far away there are located the famous lakes Sete Cidades, which you have to see when you go there
  • Porto Carneiro – southern part of the island, next to Lagoa; around 10 km to the East from the capital of the island – Ponta Delgada

And here is the map that I was walking about:

The icing on the cake – Terceira

In the whole Azores it’s Terceira where the climbing group works the best. It’s not any official alpinism organization, but a group of people who love climbing and like getting tired and dirty together. And then, so dirty and stinking, go together for a beer. Because it’s nicer in a group.

So where can you climb in Terceira?

I will make you a short description of the places and give you links to an external website, where you will find photos of the routes and information about their difficulty. I don’t want to copy somebody else’s photos, that’s why I’ll put links.

  • Chupa cabras – a place for sports climbing and bouldering, on the South of the island. It is located on the outskirts of Angra, on a field next to the new hospital. Pleasant routes and a view for the ocean and Ilheus das Cabras, which compensates everything. More HERE.
Remember that in Portugal the French system for grading sport climbs is used.
  • Grota do Medo – sports climbing in a forest, located in Posto Santo – very close to Angra. More HERE.
  • Chanoca – sports climbing at the ocean coast, many difficult routes and rocks, which imperceptibly leave dozens of small cuts on the skin. It’s necessary to go there with a person who knows the way! More HERE.
  • Caparica – sports climbing among green fields and pastures full of cows. From some routes there’s a view for the ocean. Some routes are as easy as climbing a ladder, others are for adventurers. Caparica is located close to Biscoitos, but you will need a person who knows the site, because it’s quite difficult to find those rocks.
  • Escola Tomás de Borba – sports hall by a school, where a bouldering wall and a sports climbing wall are located. You can climb there during the trainings of Clube Desportivo dos Montanheiros. You have to contact the club in advance, to determine the details. Currently (April 2019) there are trainings every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Climbing is a beautiful sports.

It doesn’t only develop our body, but also our mind. It lets us be close to the nature. It makes up still cross our own borders. And despite the fear – proceed.

I was writing about it in an article „33 rzeczy, których nauczyła mnie wspinaczka„. (Yes, this one is also still in Polish, but I have it on my list for translation!)

And in the Azores, all the effort is compensated by fabulous views. I already miss them!

If you haven’t started climbing yet – maybe now is good time?

Fot. José Fonseca

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