2011-08-19, 20, & 21 Cavallers   Leave a comment

Day 3 – Sunday 21st.  Xalmet & Afrikan Wall.

We really start earlier today and when we arrive up at Plaka Xalmet there’s only half the routes taken.  We get stuck into the easy Mjelva, 5+ with the extension up to 35 mtrs Continuación, 5 in one long pitch.  A little polished, but still quite thin for a 5+, but we top out OK, though Mau the bou isn’t climbing today as he has pain in his shoulder from yesterday’s 6b.

L’Aritjol, 6b+ is next to the excellent Trekking Pyranese, 6b+ flashed with Rocteam, and like its neighbour, is pure class.  An absolute joy to romp up though it wasn’t easy, but you had everything you needed (except for the bare slab half way), where you needed it.  A nice onsight, and toprope flash for Xell after she corrected herself on the super smooth middle slab.

Loving the quality of these routes, I wanted to tick the next one and Xell pointed out to me that the dude and his wife and son on the next route to us was the same dude in the guidebook, photographed on a 7c, and frankly looking quite relaxed.  He had told us that all the routes up to the start of the wall were muy buenas, so I got stuck into another 6b+ El Tio Calambres, only 30 mts this one, and with superb routes like these, you really don’t want them to end.  But topout another onsight I did.  I lower down with a huge grin, and my wingman flashes it topped.

We make noises about hunger, the hour, and eating, but I can’t miss the 6c next to the route we just sent: Cándida Ingenuidad.  From the get-go it was noticably finer and thinner than the 6b+s – obviously!  These holds weren’t as well marked as on the other routes, but careful searching found tiny crimps and water drops to stand on.  Then the route ramps out a bit half way before a verticle wall and – horror of horrors, a wet patch in the middle to get past.  Taking my cue from the mearest traces of chalk, I ascend verticly following the bolts to the point of crossing.  A fully outstretched left hand gaston followed by right hand join over onto a semijug to stop yourself falling, and this was just to get into position for the crux, a blind left hand grope up over a bulge while balancing on super small foot holds.  Uff!  I get it down sweet and rest and chalk up for the next few moves, going up diagonally to the anchors.  Heavenly.

Xell steams up it like a bull on Sant Fermin, and even the crux sequence can’t stop her, whooping as she passes it.  After rethreading the rope, it’s now 3pm and stomach rumblings have to be attended to.  We head over the dam for a spot of tiffin in the shade.

Afrikan Wall is another grand sector to be sampled, and this being Sunday, with a 3-hour drive ahead of us, we only have time for one route, so we make it a big one: The 45-meter diagonal Todo A 100, 6b (A0/8a) first pitch.

From the guide-book: “Bestial itinerary […] the usual A0 start (or 8a block), continuing up the grand traverse (the most beautiful in the world) … with the odd Ae pass“.

   

I take a rest after clipping the artificial start and the ‘first’ clip to ready myself to climb proper… I’m already tired and I have 45 meters to climb!  16 clips long, I start up difficult moves.  The first part is very arm intensive, bent at 90 degrees to give you the height to use the thin foot holds above the overhang, the biceps tire quickly.  This doesn’t last long though then you can stand on the diagonal crack to traverse up through thin stones and pebbles in the rock to the midpoint crux.  Absolutely nothing for the hands, you’re relying solely on balance and foot adhesion.  After this nothing easy, but steady progress gets you to the anchor.  Technically not an onsight but I’ll count it as one because I did the last 40 mts cleanly and without the ‘odd Ae pass’ that is probably allocated for the middle of the wall.  As it is I’d give it 6b+/c without the artificial start.

Xell starts up it and I keep her tight on the belay.  With this much rope the stretch would give problems to get back on the route if she came off.  The middle crux Xell Ae’s and apart from this a lovely ascent.  The very thinness of it and she tells me “Vaya el coco que tienes, Derek” which roughly translates (artistic licence) as “Holy crap Derek, you’ve got balls of steel!“.

Topos of the awesome sectors can be found in the Topo pages.

5+   5   6b+   6b+   6c   6b   Photos

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Posted 2011/08/24 by allend66 in Rockclimbing

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