The Sumidero Canyon is a 25 kilometer, 600-1000 meter deep, limestone formation located in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Depending upon the time of year and the side of the canyon that you are on, you may be climbing in lots of sun or in the shade most of the day. The months of December and January seem to be the coolest and most comfortable months for climbing the walls of the canyon. The rainy season is typically between late June to October, but climbing can be had year round because of the vertical to overhanging aspect of many of the walls. The quality of the limestone that can be found in this area varies greatly, and for this reason few long routes have been established within the canyon. Also, quite a bit of vegetation can be found, especially on the less than vertical walls within the canyon.
The once wild and virtually unexplored Sumidero Canyon was damned in the 1970's, thus allowing people access to its stunning interiors via boat. Today there are dozens of tour boats which carry people up and down the 25 Km. length of canyon. Even with easy accessibility, andei thousands of tourists visiting the canyon each year, climbing has remained an elusive sport within the area. To reach either of the two boat launches Cahuare or Chiapa de Corzo) for The Sumidero Canyon ,take a 20 minute bus ride from the capital city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, or a 40 minute bus ride from the colonial city of San Cristobal de Las Casas. From the boat launch plan on the trip taking another 15 to 20 minutes until you begin to see the first towering limestone walls of the canyon. Some of the rock can be accessed directly from the edge of the water, while many walls require an hour or more of bushwhacking on steep and rugged terrain.
The crux of the climb can be found between the 10th and 11th pitches, since this section is on vertical to overhanging rock that eventually traverses a large roof. The best thing about the climb is that it is pretty well protected with 10mm. expansion bolts wherever there are no natural features (cracks) for protection. The rock quality, especially on the first ascent was pretty dicey at times, but the first ascentionists managed to pull off many of the large, loose blocks that were found on the...[more]Browse More Classics in International