New multi-pitch route in Serra da Arrábida

26 02 2009

Expo Carnaval 2009 (100m – 7a, 6a, 6c, 6a)

It was already 13h when we (me and João Gaspar) met near Sesimbra,

Gaspar had brought a guide, taken from , with the existing routes in Serra dos Pinheirinhos… And he asked what I wanted to do…

– Do you prefer to go on an existing route or do you prefer to try something new?

(Once I had a teacher who said something like “…very frequently the hardest thing is to ask the right question! And when you accomplish that, you immediately know the answer!”)

So the goal went from being able to climb a multi-pitch route from 14h-18h to being able to conceive and do a new multi-pitch route in that same time.

The “conceive” part

To conceive it was pretty easy! The first time I looked to the guide I saw what seemed to be a very compact unclimbed rock face (infra: between route n.24 and n.25) with a clear diagonal crack that started half way from the 2nd pitch of the route n.25. So immediately this diagonal crack became our objective, and perhaps we would link both n.25 and n.24 by doing this. After rappelling to the beginning of these routes we spotted a cave that had on its right-hand side a overhang filled with pockets. That said, we just had found a different beginning for our route and Gaspar immediately recognized a crack that went from the end of this overhang to the objective of the climb, the diagonal crack!


The “do” part

Well, the first pitch took ages! (Had I continuo in that hallucinating pace and we would still be there)

For the last 5 years I think I have used my trad gear for no more than 3 times!! So I wasn’t very fast to chose the right stopper or friend, and to make things even worst, my endurance has improved a lot. So, that said, just  imagine how much time does a guy that is trying 7c+/8a onsight can stand in his harms doing mistakes after mistakes on a 7a. 😛

Gaspar didn’t find it ease also and, surprisingly, said that the only friend that I had placed to protect the crux move was not so good has I though (though I still prefer to think he was wrong 🙂 ). This first pitch is has hard for the leader as for the second climber, so it was a good call to make the belay station right above the crux moves!

The second pitch was relaxed and was good to regain some of the self stem lost in the first 6m of the route. The instructions were clear…

– Ricardo, leave the hole making a turn to your right and, 2m after, take a vertical crack that will lead you to the top of this pitch (where we met route n.25). And so I did, and so it was (even though, when leaving the hole where we were, no such crack could be spotted!)

The 3rd pitch started with the conviction that the compact looking wall was not that compact, at least in what regards trad gear placement! This gave me little confidence that we could do our objective, the diagonal crack. Nevertheless, I went to see (try) it! It took me about 1m of analysis in the beginning of the diagonal before I decided to go! The things considered were:

– The crack looked very small in the inside and open in the outside, that would make the gear and hand placements very unreliable, and also it looked like it wouldn’t be easy to exit anywhere but through the end of the diagonal (no escape route!!).

– On the other hand, that was the climbing objective for the day and it would be really cool to pull this one off.

It’s hard to explain the feelings I had during this climb (and even if I could, you would probably find it exaggerated due to the fact that I am not used to do this type of climbing), but  I won’t lie if I say it was pretty intense!

One moment I was 4m way from the last friend (not Gaspar, the other one!!) (I think this was a good one but I’ve chosen not to ask for a confirmation to Gaspar), the holds were scarce and no future gear placements onsight. My though was “keep breathing, no need to die suffocated” 🙂  Finally, when the end seemed to be near… a good hand hold! This hand hold was so good at that moment that if I had the least of skills to write poems I would right one here  that would surely win Fernando Pessoa award. After that hand hold, I can see now in the guide that, I have climbed many meters more but, honestly, I was just thinking about what I had done so you can assume it to be a very relaxed climb afterwards.

To finish, and because it was already getting dark Gaspar led (for the first time in this route) the last pitch (common with the last pitch of the n.25 route). It is a very nice looking pitch, fully bolted and after a hard  6a crux (or tired arms in an easy 6a crux) it’s just cruising until the final TOP. 

Very, very nice climbing day

I hope more will come

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2 responses

15 04 2009
How to Get Six Pack Fast

The style of writing is very familiar . Have you written guest posts for other bloggers?

15 04 2009


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