Sea Stack Climbing in Portugal

Photo by Patsy Lourens

by Tony Lourens

In March this year, we found ourselves lounging in chilled and laidback Portugal, and more specifically in the vibrant city of Lisbon and the beautiful surrounding countryside, staying with our very good friends, João and Teresa. They are long time climbers and know all the climbing areas well, so we were in good hands. Most days we would go out and visit some crags, then end up at a coffee shop, eating pastries and whatnot.

One day, sitting on the couch, paging through the Lisbon guidebook, I came across this huge sea stack on the westernmost point of Portugal, which of course is also the westernmost point of Europe. It immediately grabbed my attention!

When I hear sea stacks, my mind goes immediately to the far-flung island of Hoy, situated north of mainland Scotland, where The Old Man of Hoy, the most famous of all sea stacks, stands tall and proud, bursting about 150 metres out of the crashing waves of the frigid North Sea. The other well-known Scottish sea stack is the Old Man of Stoer, slightly less famous, but a popular sea stack nonetheless. Both of these are lashed by stormy seas and guarded by temperamental weather systems.

On the absolute opposite side of the Earth you get the infamous Totem Pole, off the coast of Tasmania, along with a host of other lesser sea stacks. Most of them coming with long and demanding approaches, some with Tyrolean access measures.

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