The city of Itatim is in the countryside of Bahia state, 200 km from its capital, Salvador - northeastern Brazil.
Unlike other places in Brazil, where sport climbing has been around for many years, in Itatim this high performance sport is new, and is evolving in a remarkable way, as new climbing areas are discovered and new routes are opened every weekend. In the beginning there were only a few short and long routes (most of these with no repetition), but now this is changing.
In 2009, Itatim was chosen as the location for the IX Northeastern Climbers Meeting, with the objective of attracting attention to the crag, and gather people to exchange experiences. This event is becoming a reference in Brazil's climbing scene, and it is also promoting the sport in the city. Where before we could find around 5 routes, now it’s possible to spend time challenging more than a hundred routes, most of them 30 meters high, between 5.8 and 5.12d, mostly with crimpers and jugs.
Besides this, it is possible to climb in different areas with overhanging walls such as in the south face of the Toca Mountain, or multi-pitch bolted routes from 75 up to 360 meters, graded between 5.7 and 5.11C.
Almost all the long routes in Itatim are bolted, due to the reduced possibility of using nuts, friends and camalots. Nevertheless, these routes are a must do, either by the landscape or by the climbing itself.
The landscape in Itatim is another big motivation for the climbers. At the top of all the routes is possible to visualize massive granite monoliths scattered across the horizon line. The terrain is mostly flat, but with lots of unusual rock formations popping out from the ground in a astonishing way ( this view is very special when climbing a long route).
Another fascinating thing about the place is that each climbing area has its own formation, with different climbing styles and protection types. The access to the base of the routes is very favorable, taking no more than 15 minutes to move from an area to the next, with different climbing conditions.
The weather of the region is considerably hot all year long, with very few rainy days per year, but this is not such a problem since most of the climbing areas are protected from the sun by the surrounding trees. The dry climate condition is very favorable to maintain the bolts in good shape, and affects the vegetation, which presents a low profile and lots of thorns, making it necessary to be careful in the tracks and avoid poison ivy. It is mandatory to carry lots of water to keep hydration, and also choose the best time to start a long route.
A small but consistent group of local climbers is contributing a lot in the development of climbing, which is turning into the main sport of the location. They are taking advantage of the internet to spread the word through blogs, social networks and websites to invite climbers from all parts of Brazil and why not, the world, to visit Itatim and put hands on new possibilities of climbing with a very peculiar style.
Text: Juan Alves
Review: Guilherme Oliveira