Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
To rest our mind, we also stopped at Patones, the sport limestone paradise-crag. This was closer to what i understand as proper climbing, with big (should i say huge...) holds and pleasant bolting. We loved the place so much that we kept coming back - and have to come back more. It is a paradise for people leading 6s, although apparently Andrada also trained around here. Below myself on a brilliant 6a+, Eperon Elisa, on the Parking wall.
Although not very high, granite school it is, only 1h north from Madrid, in the Sierra de Madrid, or Sierra de Guadarrama, part of the central mountain chain in Spain. This incredible country seems to have mountains close to any city you might visit! It is also one of those places where climbing has started early and boldly. The classic routes here are classic not only for the climbing, but mainly for the run-outs and dare-devil features, head game for both, leader and follower, as many are famous for endless unprotected traverses.
Above is the view of one of the main formations, the Pajaro (top left). We started the reconnaissance with the Este route, or Via Pedro Ramos, opened in 1959. It remains a test piece famous for the second pitch, unprotected Columna de Hercules, rated at 5+ (that famous 5+ grade, as disconcerting here as in Chamonix...). Here is me, already scared enough starting up the first pitch:
We also paid a visit to the Hueso, or the Bone. It is named so for the feature on the picture below. It is also famous for the Espolon de Hueso, or La Fulgencia (for Fulgencio Casado) route, opened in 1972-73 by some more young and bold climbers. The frist pitch climbs the chimney (if done on the outside) or offwidth (if, as usually, done on the inside by the scared leader-the gallina). There is only one, old and rusty, bolt, about 40m from the ground...We dared only a top rope to pay our chicken dues.
We headed instead to Tito Rollin Bus, 1976 wonder, on the left of La Fulgencia route, exhibiting some more bolts - and unforgiving granite slabs. This reminded me very much of the Crest Jewel route on the North Dome in Yosemite. I had enough head power to do the second and third pitch in one long 50m, and we successfully rapped after examining the prospects of the traverse (usual 5+) pitch without gear on the following pitch...Below Cathy following:
One of the lessons from La Pedriza - do not get on Galvez routes, that guy was too strong, and as Spanish say, sometimes he just forgot to put an extra bolt...Seeing pictures of him with old torn shoes on 7b in the 80ies makes you understand why some friction moves might have felt different to him than to all other humans.
To know more about this place, there is a book, Pedriza: Historia de 32 sends de la vertical from Desnivel, very nice historic picture-filled account of the crazy first ascents going on in Spain.
(most pictures here and in the next post by Cathy!)
Monday, March 16, 2009
With the gained confidence, the second day saw an all-feminine ascent of Wild Planet on Roca dels Arcs, following a very appealing line in the center of the main wall, through some impressive orange overhangs and huge roofs. We were very satisfied and used each other´s strengths well to manage this route in a well organized and executed ascent - Olé to Silvia, Cathy and myelf :)! Below is the view in the middle of my aid lead of pitch 2, down on the happily belaying team:
A team was following us, this is the view on the impressive overhanging wall from the belay after pitch 3´s traverse:
The weather, the climb, the setting - everything was perfect, i can´t restrain from posting more pictures, this is the team following the dihedral of pitch 5:
And here is the original topo with the new rebolting in 2008 of the aid sections (still hanging on a couple of alliens required on pitch 3). And - don´t take Vilanova´s 5+ gear run-outs lightly, even if girls can do it!
Friday, March 06, 2009
An interesting information I was not aware of from the all-knowing Wiki:
"In March 2008, a former Luftwaffe pilot, 85-year-old Horst Rippert, told La Provence, a Marseille newspaper, that he engaged and downed a P-38 Lightning on July 31, 1944 in the area where Saint Exupéry's plane was found. According to Rippert, he was on a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean sea when he saw a P-38 with a French emblem behind him near Toulon. Rippert says he opened fire at the P-38, which crashed into the sea."....
Monday, March 02, 2009
Here is Cathy still believing it is spring:
And Gonzalo showing us how it is done:
And me failing on another climb because not believing it is spring anymore: