torstai 16. elokuuta 2012

Rainy day at L'orto

Mika Huhtamaki
After redpointing succesfully at Calvario's classic walls we decided to continue to a relatively new crag L'orto. Crag is so fresh that it is not even listed at the pages so the expectations were high for the quality of the rock. L'orto has also one exceptional feature, it is pointing to north east which makes it a pleasant place to climb even on a hot summer days.

Approach took about half an hour by foot from our hotel to the crag. Road is narrow and covered with stones so it might be slightly difficult to drive towards Santa Marie di Laghel which is the recommended parking place. From there the approach follows the 408 path through olive groves. Crag is nearby the spot where 408 path separates left  from the main road towards the Salt de la Cavra. From there path to the crag heads to left and the last 5 minutes of the approach are on a steep and loose upward traversing path. Path was ok to walk up to the crag but it looked that the descending down will slippery on a loose sand and rock. Once we got to the wall it became clear that it is not a populat place. At the crag we saw only two pairs climbing.

Overhanging part of the 5c - Zigole.
Wall has two parts. On the left part of the wall grades of the routes are between 5a to 6b+. On the right part of the wall routes are more demanding and grades varies from 6a to to 7c+ and on average routes were about 15 meters tall.  Surprisingly L'orto is the one of the rare places where even 5 graded route might have an overhanging parts.

Picking up a suitable route from an empty wall is a pleasure. Plan was to start from couple 5 graded warmups and then continue with 6a:s. I started with an easy 5a (19. Lampascioni) that has an overhanging crux immediately at the start. It was on of the best 5a routes that I have climbed here. Next one was 5c (17. Zigole) that had also an overhanging start and a great end on a vertical wall.

As soon as I started to descent down from the second warmup it started to rain heavily. It became soon clear that I had to forget my 6a targets (15. Rapa and 16. Spinaci) and instead pack all the climbing gear as fast as possible.

Our climbing day was short when it comes to the number of  ascents but routes were good. Sadly it looks like that we do not have other opportunity to get back to L'orto during our holiday. Hopefully next year we can return to the wall and test the routes from the right. Still, we had a nice day and a good enough reason for having more gelato.

More photos coming up later...

Mika Huhtamaki / Author & Editor

Mika Huhtamäki is a part time amateur rock climber, mountain biker and a snowboarder from Finland who travels often in Italy.

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