Lapa do Seu Antão
Fidalgo District – Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Endless corridors and labyrinths carved in limestone make up a mysterious and gloomy scenario that provides coolness on hot brazilian days. Inhabited by parrots and owls, this is a singular landscape, surrounded by dense vegetation with creeping plants, vines, trees and huge gnarly roots that descend from the walls, covered with red and yellow lichen.
This is the scenery of “Lapa do Seu Antão”, a climbing crag located 50 minutes from Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais state and 20 minutes from Confins International Airport. It receives many visitors during weekends, holidays and even during weekdays, due to its ease of access for those who live in the capital. “Lapa do Seu Antão” is situated in a region well known for the limestone outcrop that stretches for kilometers around the city of Pedro Leopoldo, comprising a considerable amount of grottoes and caves, with exuberant fauna and flora. A few climbing peaks already known to the brazilian climbing community are located in this region, such as “Gruta da Lapinha”, “Sítio do Rod”, “Gruta Rei do Mato” and “Gruta do Baú” (the latter two currently closed for climbing), not to mention “Serra do Cipó”, one of the greatest sport climbing destinations in Brazil, located less than 70km from this region.
The southeastern Brazil lives days of heavy rain during the summer, a period in which the limestone climbing is greatly impaired. After three days of rain the rock gets quite wet, water seeps into the rock mass and it may take as long as a week for it to dry completely. Winter is the perfect time of the year for climbing in this region. The temperature ranges between 18 ⁰C and 25 ⁰C and the climate is fairly dry.
Despite an ancient and brief history of trad routes in “Lapa do Seu Antão”, the first sport route, “Velha Virgem” (8c BR, 7b+ FR) dates back to 2010. Since then, the peak has been growing and becoming more known and frequented. Currently, there are almost 200 routes ranging from 4 BR (5c FR) to 10c/11a BR (8b+/8c FR). The crag has a unique management model. Since it is located in a private property, the landowner has the support from MONTIS (Leisure Climbing Club from Minas Gerais) to ensure the safety of the climbers.
MONTIS took on the challenge of idealizing and implementing a management model for the crag. The club’s main objective is to promote safety awareness of the visitors (mostly beginners). In order to achieve this goal, the “Lapa Guardian” character was created. Impersonated by MONTIS members, they take turns on weekends to supervise the activities in the crag during the day.
MONTIS also takes care of opening new routes, trail maintenance and delimitation of natural areas to be preserved. Apart from developing “Lapa do Seu Antão”, the club seeks to include the local community in this project, so that the practice of climbing becomes a vector of social and economic benefits.
The access to “Lapa do Seu Antão” is made through a regional road that leads to Fidalgo district. The entrance of the farm is marked with a sign to welcome climbers. Climbers can park their cars in the pasture right in front of the crag, which adds even more comfort. In general, the routes are short, in average 10 to 15 meters long, with the highest of them reaching 20 meters. Routes are mostly boulderistic, with well defined cruxes, often in very small holds and with dynamic movements. Another striking feature of the routes in Lapa is the presence of monos and two finger pockets. We can even find them on lower grade routes, such as 5 BR (6 FR) and 6 (6b FR), but also in the harder ones, from 9 BR (7c FR) to 10 BR (8a+ FR). We could cite the example of the route “Rei Mono”, which has a sequence of six consecutive monos.
When visiting “Lapa do Seu Antão” be sure to climb the first route of the crag, “Velha Virgem” (8c BR, 7b+ FR). If you want to face scary monos in a short bouldery route, then head straight to “Rei Mono” (9b BR, 7c+ FR). Be sure to try “Muro de Berlim” and “Adilson Maguila”, both 7b BR (6c+ FR). To get to know the longer routes, enjoy “Expresso Collares”, an homage to our dear Bernardo, and “Não me venha com chorumelas”, both located in the Corridor Sector. The welcome route is certainly “Rebeca Lovers”, a 5+ BR (6a+ FR) with large, soft holds, a classic. If you want to know the delicate, boulderistic style of the Lapa, you should try “Jabulani” and “Astro Man”, both 8b BR (FR 7b). But if you are looking for something different, try “Gravidade Zero” a 7c BR (7a FR) roof with a concentrated 9a BR (7c FR) crux in the sector “Crepúsculo”. Those searching for a long overhanging route with big holds should try “Pó de Osso no Buraco Oco”, 8a BR (7a+ FR). Prefer technical and accessible? “Velha Safada”, 7a BR (6c FR). Want to levitate in slipery limestone slopers? Try “Chico Xavier”, 10c/11a BR (8b+/8c FR), considered the hardest route in the crag so far (waiting for the first repetition). And there is always the classical “Nosferatu”, 9c BR (7c FR).
Text: Marcella Romanelli and Gabriel Ramos
Translation: Guilherme Oliveira