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awosborn


Oct 18, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Climbing in Colombia
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Suesca
Only an hour from Bogota, Las Rocas de Suesca are the birthplace of Colombian rock climbing. The first routes were opened in the 60′s and the park now consist of over 400 routes ranging in difficulty from 5.4-5.14. Climber are often attached to the rock but Suesca is special to many. The place has been of spiritual significance for thousands of years. Suesca was once the home of the Muiscas indigenous people. Suesca in the Muisca indigenous language translates as “Suica,” or “rock of the birds.” The leaders of the Muiscas, the prominent indigenous group who first occupied the area between 5500 and 1000 BC, would gather in Suesca once a year to make peace and worship the Gods. Like the Incas of Machu Picchu, the Muisca people paid tribute to the Gods of the Sun, the Moon, the Rain, and Water. The Muiscas believed that the rock was a local God and they performed human sacrifices at The Virgin crag, the most popular crag in the area. When a bishop visited the area he declared the area full of even spirits and had the indiginous artwork painted over and a statue of the virgin erected.

The type of climbing and rock features vary greatly, much of the rock has been pitted by water and provides great traction and easy-intermediate sport routes. There is also plenty of crack climbing to be found and about half of the park is reserved for trad climbers. If overhangs are your specialty check out the 20 meter (60 feet) overhang near The Virgin or many of the smaller overhangs located throughout the park. The area is well established with a gear shop and hostels in town. There are also other activities for those looking to take a day off from climbing. Horses, bicycles and ATVs are all options to explore the area. Its popular to to ride along the cliffs and watch climbers while enjoying the scenery and sound of the rapids below.

How to get there

Take the transmilenio to Portal Norte and exit to the east (toward the mountains). Walk North three blocks and you will see buses parked along the highway Take the red Alianza bus with Suesca on the sign, cost 6,000 pesos. There are also smaller buses that will take you to Playa de Suesca; this is not an actual beach but a bus station a pleasant twenty minute walk from town. Once in town its virtually impossible to miss the cliffs. Follow the signs and other climbers to a set of train tracks and follow those for five minutes directly to the cliffs. Don’t worry about walking on the tracks, the train is no longer in service.

Where to stay

There are three hostels in town that are all pretty competitive on price. I recommend Caminos de Suesca, located right as you enter the village. the owner Felipe “Pipe” is knowledgeable friendly and truly passionate about the area. He once put a friend and I up in the common room when we stumbled in at midnight after getting stuck in a thunderstorm on a multi-pitch climb. Anyone willing to feed me at midnight for no charge is good in my book. Rates are 20,000 pesos a night or 25,000 with breakfast ($11/$14) with discounts for extended stays or groups of ten or larger. Pipe can also help arrange guides and gear rentals for a variety of activities. You can contact them by phone at 310-341-8941 or online at http://caminosdesuesca.com

Camping is another popular option. There a several campgrounds less than 100 meters from the rock. I will update this section when I have more information.

Rock Quality

Suesca is a surprisingly hard sandstone, it is even possible to climb many of the crags when wet. Its more like granite than the sandstone back in the US. The rock quality seems to improve as you head further down the tracks. If you are new to Colombia the amount of vegetation in the rock may be surprising, but is only a problem when rain makes the upper pitches a bit muddy. Before long the hanging moss and flowers covering the cliffs will leave you enchanted.

Renting Gear

Monodedo is the lone outfitter in Suesca. Located on the corner right next to the train tracks, the has gear sale. Shoes are available for rent but harnesses and ropes are not. http://www.monodedo.com/md%20colombia/mdcolombia/dondeEscalar/topos/suesca.htm

Guide books

Currently the only guide books are Spanish language and poorly written. The most recent is Escaladas en Suesca y Valle de los Halcones by Grace Andrea Montoya (2007), available at Monodedo. This may soon change, rumor has it that a new guidebook is in the works and will be available in 2013.

Special Notes

Suesca has to be one of the run-out capitals of the world, many routes have more than 5 meters(15 feet) between bolts. A local guide told me that more than twenty people have died since the park opened. It is advisable to take along a few pieces of protection to close the gaps.

I will be updating this information as I spend more time climbing the area.

If you would like to follow along I will be updating locations on my blog at http://coffeeandclimbing.wordpress.com


elwood54


Nov 13, 2012, 8:25 PM
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Re: [awosborn] Climbing in Colombia [In reply to]
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Hey Guys,

A friend and I are traveling to Colombia next week for what will hopefully be plenty of rock climbing. We are going to check out El Penol and then outside of Bucamaranga, San Gil and Suesca, in addition to hitting up the (best) climbing gyms in Medellin and Bogota. We found this website helpful for general information, but could not find any topos or guidebooks out there. Does anyone have and additional information? …know where we can find some? Maybe have some contacts in those areas?

Also, we are thinking of only bringing sport climbing gear. Are there enough sport routes at Suesca to keep us occupied for a few days? The other areas seem to be bolted.

http://www.monodedo.com/...climbingcolombia.htm

Thanks,
Michael


(This post was edited by elwood54 on Nov 13, 2012, 8:33 PM)


awosborn


Nov 14, 2012, 6:33 AM
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Finding much in the way of a guidebook isn't easy, but local guides aren't too expensive if you looking for one just to give you the lay of the land. What level are you climbing? I should be in Bogota and free to do some climbing that weekend. I would recommend bringing your trad rack if you can afford the space because a lot of the classic routes in Suesca are trad. It all depends on what level you climb though. Many of those routes are 5.8-5.11. If your way above that I don't really know what the bolt situation is like.

Alex


elwood54


Nov 14, 2012, 7:30 AM
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Hey Alex, thanks for your reply. We are starting in the North and then heading down to Suesca before arriving in Bogota for the weekend of December 7th. So, we'll probably be in Suesca mid-week on December 4th for about three days.

The 5.8-5.11 range sounds good. I'm leading 10s at the Gunks, so hopefully there is plenty for us to do. It seems like the other climbing areas further north, like La Mojarra (Mesa de los Santos) outside of Bucamaranga, and the stuff by San Gil is sport and we were just trying to keep the weight of our packs down if there was three days worth of sport climbing at Suesca. Maybe we'll reconsider that...

Also, which climbing gym would you recommed in Bogota? We'll be there for a couple of days before flying out and would like to swing by for a couple of hours.

Thanks again,
Michael


awosborn


Nov 14, 2012, 8:35 AM
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I train at Rocasolida. The owner is a great guy and the vibe is very relaxed. Its bouldering only. GranPare is a good gym, its defiantly the biggest in the country. It features good lead climbing, bouldering, the works. There is another gym called zonabloca. Its supposedly very difficult bouldering problems, but I have never been there myself.


gaar


Nov 20, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Hey guys.....I'm heading dow to Bogata with a friend on DEC 6th for about 3 months....Just going to kick it climb and do what ever..If anybody wants to meet up and get out PLEASE get in touch..Cheers

Gaar
mynameisgaar@yahoo.com

http://mountainproject.com/u/105918100


catclimbs


Nov 27, 2012, 2:57 PM
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Re: [awosborn] Climbing in Colombia [In reply to]
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awosborn wrote:
Finding much in the way of a guidebook isn't easy, but local guides aren't too expensive if you looking for one just to give you the lay of the land. What level are you climbing? I should be in Bogota and free to do some climbing that weekend. I would recommend bringing your trad rack if you can afford the space because a lot of the classic routes in Suesca are trad. It all depends on what level you climb though. Many of those routes are 5.8-5.11. If your way above that I don't really know what the bolt situation is like.

Alex

Hi all

Some girlfriends and I will be climbing in Suesca on Monday, Dec 3. Two of us are experienced and two are pretty much beginners. We're debating about whether to bring any trad gear [from the US] because we're only climbing one day.

Since we'll have beginners with us, do you think we need to bring gear for directionals if not to supplement the bolts? What sizes do you recommend?

Also, because we only have one day to climb, we're considering hiring a guide so we don't spend a bunch of time route finding and/or accidentally getting on routes that will be too hard for the beginners. Any guide names/email addresses that you can pass on via PM? We all speak Spanish to varying degrees so it's not a problem if the guide doesn't speak English.

Thanks!!
Cathy


awosborn


Nov 27, 2012, 5:08 PM
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Cathy,

Let me get some information for you. I have a friend who guides at Suesca and he speaks great English. He is currently in Cucoy trying to set a world slackline record. Let me get in touch with him and see what he recommends. If he isn't back I am sure he would have someone else in mind.

Alex


catclimbs


Nov 29, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Just saw the weather forecast for Suesca on Monday - rain :-(
Does it typically rain all day or just in the afternoon?
Is there any moderate climbing in caves that would provide cover?
In your experience, would you try to climb on Monday given the forecast, or would it be a waste of time/effort to try?

Thanks!!
Cathy


awosborn


Nov 29, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Cathy,

Disregard all weather forecast in this part of Colombia. There is always a chance of rain and when it rains it is often sunny in a couple of hours.


sanarteaga


Jan 2, 2013, 7:58 AM
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Tiny correction to the approach beta:

How to get there

Take the transmilenio to Portal Norte and INSIDE THE STATION, LOOK FOR THE INTERMUNICIPAL BUSES PLATFORM. THERE TAKE THE ALIANZA BUS TO SUESCA.

If you get to Portal Norte (Calle 170) by other means different than transmilenio, do walk a few blocks north on the autopista and after the car bridges wait for the buses. Walk North three blocks and you will see buses parked along the highway Take the red Alianza bus with Suesca on the sign, cost 6,000 pesos. There are also smaller buses that will take you to Playa de Suesca; this is not an actual beach but a bus station a pleasant twenty minute walk from town. Once in town its virtually impossible to miss the cliffs. Follow the signs and other climbers to a set of train tracks and follow those for five minutes directly to the cliffs. Don’t worry about walking on the tracks, the train is no longer in service.


(This post was edited by sanarteaga on Jan 2, 2013, 7:59 AM)


clapton


Jan 22, 2013, 8:15 PM
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Great! Thanks for sharing this. I like climbing.

http://www.welovephuket-thailand.com/things-to-do-on-phuket/activities/diving-and-snorkeling/


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