According to Companhia da Escalada, Sugarloaf Mountain has some of the most sought-after climbing routes in Rio de Janeiro.
There are many ways to ascend Sugarloaf Mountain. Don't be intimidated by its conical shape - with the help of professional guides, even people with no previous experience in climbing can ascend the mountain via Costão do Pão de Açúcar, a route that's mainly made up of demanding hiking with a small climbing section.
According to Companhia da Escalada, the best time of day to tackle Costão do Pão de Açúcar is late in the afternoon, when the ascent is in the shade. A part of the descent is on the Sugarloaf Cable Car and the rest on trails. The whole adventure takes about four hours.
Climbing pros have plenty of more difficult route choices to choose from on the Sugarloaf. Coringa and Bohemia Gelada are some of the more moderate routes in the pro range. Both merge into Costão do Pão de Açúcar and offer views of Praia Vermelha and Copacabana. From Bohemia Gelada, you can also view Niterói Beaches and Guanabara Bay.
Even the least demanding routes on Sugarloaf Mountain and other Rio de Janeiro hills pose risks and should only be approached with certified, experienced guides and peers and the utmost attention to safety.
Companhia da Escalada owner Flávio Daflon happened to be near Morro da Babilônia in 2008 when there was a climbing accident. He was the first on the scene and helped firefighters rescue the group of climbers, one of whom died. Later, on an interview to Nathalie Sterblitch, from Brazilian extreme sport website Trilhas e Aventuras, he reinforced the climbers' responsibility in minimizing the risks of the sport.
"For a safe climb, it's necessary to learn how to learn the mountain and the environment where you are", says climber Cintia Daflon, Flavio's wife and Companhia da Escalada co-owner. "Focus, a bit of fear, agility, common sense and strategy are ingredients which make a climb safe and pleasant. It's essential to follow all the safety procedures and always keep an eye on the trail and on the weather forecast. And of course, you must be psychologically prepared for unpredictable factors which don't depend on you and which will take calm and quick judgment to be solved."
Before you attempt climbing in Rio de Janeiro or anywhere else in the world, read up on climbing safety. A good start is Climbing Safety is Your Responsibility, an article by Stewart Green, About.com Guide to Climbing.