There are many sites among climbers that can be consider the best places for rock climbing in Ecuador such as Cojitambo, San Juan, Cuyuja, El Cajas, Zumbahua, and many more.
The exposure of hanging above the ground, attached to ropes and gear is not something many people can easily get used to. But there are few inhabitants that love climbing, and wouldn’t stop it for anything in the world. To those who have never rock climbed before, these athletes must appear like suicidal thrill seekers. Hanging above stomach lurching drops that make most people squirm, surely there has to be something wrong with the ones who are dragged to climbing? But you may never know what it feels like unless you try it at least one time.
Discover the remarkable rock climbing opportunities Ecuador has to offer, with its varied mountainous areas that are the ideal setting for lovers of this passionate sport which creates an intrinsic bond between the athlete and nature.
Rock Climbing in Cojitambo
Cojitambo is an awesome place for multi-pitch sport climbing: its idyllic location, its stunning skyline, its special kind of rock, its 250 meters of vertical, slightly overhanging walls, make it a unique spot, where you can really taste the feeling of void and enjoy a complete all-day climbing.
The approach to the wall is very short and easy. You park the car and walk through the deserted narrow streets of the town to reach the starting point of your climbing.
Cojitambo is a rural town located 30 minutes away from the city of Cuenca. At the heart of the town there is a stone hill, equally called, with more than a 120 well mounted routes. The rock offers lines from 5b up to 8c, with multi-pitchs up to 250 meters high suitable for all types of adventurous climbers who dare face this rock. If you are an intermediate climber dare to ascend “La Langarota,” a 250 meter climb with 7 multi-pitches and one of the most acclaimed routes throughout the entire wall.
This wall is varied and very complete, with vertical climbing pitches, open ridge sections, as well as several rappel points and down climb sections. The routes climb up to the most emblematic place in the hill – the archeological Inca Site of Cojitambo – which is worth visiting after a long climbing day.
Rock Climbing in Pillcomarca Community
It is a community located in the town of Cojitambo, 5 minutes away from the town square. It offers guided tours to the archaeological site and the alternative of experienced-based tourism. While enjoying the experienced-based tourism visitors can share traditions with the local people, and spend the night in community accommodation or camping under the stars.
If you are interested in rock climbing while visiting Pillcomarca, the people from the community will help you getting in touch with rock climbing guides that will take care of you and lead you throughout this adventure.
Rock Climbing In El Cajas National Park
About 40 km outside Cuenca you can find an amazing landscape full of hills, lakes, highvalleys, and rock climbing routes where visitors can enjoy a superb natural paradise. El Cajas National Park has about 780 water concentration sites with an altitude range from 3200 to 4400 meters.
While enjoying a climb, the climber can see 10 lagoons surrounding the nearest area; this is due to the fact that El Cajas has the highest concentration of lakes in the world. This place posses a volcanic rock, which provides climbers with good friction while mastering foot placement and corporal balance.
Even though the routes technical difficulty is moderate, you should not underestimate it: on the one hand, climbing is a prolonged and physically demanding exercise even more at high altitude, and on the other hand, the various routes follow not very obvious lines which can be confusing.
Among the many routes this place has to offer, there is one that stands out the most, called the Virgin. This route is a single vertical pitch route mounted on a rock formation that resembles a woman crouching in prayer; the technical difficulty of this crag is 7a+.
El Cajas has over 30 single pitches cragging routes, and there are still 100 vertical routes spaced out in the park, ready to be discovered.
Climbing in San Juan
San Juan or also known as El Acantilado, the cliff, has for a long time been established as one of Ecuador´s premier rock climbing venues with the Chimborazo as it main spectator. Located 30 minutes outside the city of Riobamba, San Juan offers a true climber paradise with its vertical lines that exude adrenaline.
This exuberant venue offers fantastic multi-pitch gorge rock climbing, along with good quality single pitch sport routes. There are 100 well mounted routes a few minutes´ walk from the car. These excellent cragging cliffs go from 20 to a 100 meters high and suit climber of all abilities.
The cliff has a beautiful waterfall and a little creek that meander the water through the valley until it disappears in front of the colossal Chimborazo. Many tourist visit San Juan just to enjoy a good day of picnic with its landscapes unbroken exquisiteness.
Climbing in Cuyuja
The Cuyuja parish is located in the Napo province, 2 hours away from Quito and 30 minutes away from Papallacta hot springs. This little parish is now a climbing landmark luring climbers´ attention worldwide. The Pivico rock is the specific place where all the lines are assembled with 30 well bolted vertical lines, from 5b up to 7c, all on very good cragging routes with every possible type of hold. This rock offers climbs up to 75 meters high suitable for all types of athletes.
The lines are beautiful, varied and mostly pumpy. Climbing at this Amazonian spot is very enjoyable and fun. Many of the routes have a complicated start and become easier approaching the anchor, so feel free to use most of your energy in the first moves!
The Pivico mass forms a unique rock that stands out like a great wall in the middle of the greenery Amazon scenery.
After enjoying a full day of climbing you can head towards the Papallacta Hot Springs and relax in a magical and natural environment. Try their exclusive treatments combined with the benefits of thermal water.
Climbing In Zumbahua – Cocha Uma And Its Stunning Skyline
The massive province of Cotopaxi runs down the western mountain of Ecuador and contains lots of great cragging. Among its most astonishing places are the beautiful Quilotoa Lagoon and a hidden gem called Cocha Uma. This last one belongs to the Zumbahua parish in the highlands, located 3 hours outside Quito, with one of the most beautiful skylines in the entire world.
This place offers 31 vertical routes with a variety of problems to climb from quality slabs, amazing arêtes, overhanging walls on crimps and cracks, to huge roofs. There are lines that go from 10 to 80 meters high that are every climbers dream or nightmare.
This place offers 3 climbing zones spaced out throughout the area, which are the cave, the tunnel and the meteorite. The cave boasts some huge enduro testpieces. Not much available in the lower grades, not even on the surrounding walls/corners of the cave. Routes are sustained and overhanging. The tunnel offers vertical routes in the inferior grades for beginner climbers as well as harder lines for the advanced athletes. The meteorite is given its name due to the rock formation that looks like a meteorite crashing the ground. This specific rock formation could have easily been the ideal setting for one Star Wars movie.
As you can see, rock climbing options in Ecuador are diverse and are distributed among different places around the country, from Quito to Cuenca, passing through the Chimborazo and the Amazonian jungle.
In addition to providing vibrant sports experiences for all levels climbers, visiting the best places for rock climbing in Ecuador offers exuberant natural settings that charm any visitor.