Salto Ventoso is a well known basalt climbing spot for intermediate/hard level sport climbing in a dreamy setting with world class routes.
Located about 200 km from the capital, amidst many other sport climbing areas, it is the school for many climbers in the state and quite a challenging one, with projects of up to 8c/5.14b. Although not accessible without a car, it is worth a trip in itself, and once there, the area is organized, clean and very comfortable in order to provide a full day of pulling on roofs and hard negatives.
Many people collaborated with pictures and with showing up with colorful clothes, so big thanks to everyone!
The grades are presented in French format/YDS (i.e. 0x/0.00x).
If you have any questions, don´t hesitate to send a message on the About Me section. Enjoy!
Salto Ventoso (Windy Fall) is a tourist attraction in the highlands of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil. It is a protected area inside private land which receives tourists year round. As can be seen on photos, it is a huge waterfall with immense roofs, accessible by a metal platform very comfortable for belaying, although a new sector is outside the platform area.
Climbing in the area began around the mid 90s, and as of today it has close to 60 routes in excellent basalt with holds of all shapes and sizes. The routes are opened and maintained by one the many well organized climbing and mountaineering associations of the state, and is known all over Brazil as a top quality climbing destination that is well worth many days of visit.
I climbed in the area for three days on several routes between 6b/5.10d and 7a+/5.12a and all of them , no exception, were super well thought of, intelligently protected and therefore very pleasurable (and also hard and pumpy) to climb. Of all the areas I have been during this season in Brazil, this is one I would go back to, no questions asked.
Bring a 60 m rope and 15-20 quick draws, water, snacks for the day, and rope bag. If climbing outside of summer, bring warm clothing as temperatures can drop to levels that will surprise foreigners. DO NOT leave any trash in the crag!
Short to medium length bouldery routes, some challenging ceilings, all on basalt. Routes are extremely well bolted and very well protected, with difficulty similar or harder than in the Serra do Cipó area.
Very few routes on the easy range, and called by locals the “paradise of the 7s/5.12s”, meaning there´s mostly super fun negative routes on the 7a+/5.12a to 7c/5.12d range. The hardest one though, is a 8a+/5.13c.
You can climb year round given conditions are good, but usually between September and November, when temperatures are increasing and rain hasn´t arrived yet. South American winter can have temperatures near freezing levels but if that is not a problem, June through August is also good and pretty much no rain. Summer brings scorching heat and torrential rains which may increase the waterfall volume and water my spray in many routes, aside from a bigger amount of tourists on the platform area.
You have to pay a fee of R$ 8 (about 2 dollars/euros) that allows you a full month of entry to climb. Regular tourists pay the same fee for a day entry. The area is open from 8h30 to 18h, and because it is very south in Brazil, days are longer than in central areas of Brazil.
Wow! Not such an easy task, but totally worth it.
If you come to the this area in Brazil, you might as well rent a car in the capital Porto Alegre and drive around since there are so many climbing areas and pretty much none of them have a place too sleep right on spot. Roads in the area are quite good as well as roadside services.
This particular area, as well as Gruta das Sete Léguas (‘been there but decided not to include here since it is super hard routes and I was only there for a day, but Naoki´s page has good info) are very close by to each other but distant about 200 km from the capital, but 30 min by car from smaller towns such as Farroupilha, Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul. Both towns have good sleeping options and full on services such as restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, etc.
WHERE TO STAY
As stated above, you´ll have to sleep in a nearby town since no camping is allowed. Look for lodging in Farroupilha, Bento Gonçalves or Caxias do Sul (largest town of the three) and do your shopping there before heading to the climbing area, although there is a bar on site that sells meals and some snacks, and also has a barbecue areas.
IN THE TOWNS
The referred towns are fully equipped with supermarkets, drugstores and commercial centers, as well as local restaurants and bakeries, and they have decent opening hours. As with climbing equipment elsewhere in Brazil, bring all your gear.
No guidebook of the area, but you can download and print topos on the second link bellow. Climbers in the area are also super helpful and may point you to the routes.
Here´s some cool links with extra info and pictures a lot better than mine:
- Google images search of climbing in Salto Ventoso
- Naoki Arima´s page on Salto Ventoso with pics and topos
And a few videos: