torstai 10. heinäkuuta 2014

Sguarauunda - the password for a magnificent climbing experience


If the previous multipitch, Perla Nera, was already something extra, how to describe this now? We ended to conquer one additional multipitch route. This time our team was three climbers, when T joined us.
Nora had checked Sarca Walls (2007) guidebook several times before and during the trip, and marked the possible routes to climb. The criteria: bolted route, at least 3 stars, the safety at least of S2, 200 to 300 meters long and descent by walking. Routes were sorted into three categories: yellow = less than 6, an easy one, green = 6A/6B, very appropriate for us and red = 6c/7a, a difficult one. Earlier on this trip, we had already climbed Primi Sogni and Via Ape Maia, which were marked green, in addition the Sguarauunda (at Coste dell'Anglone) had green indicator, even though it has one pitch grade of 6c/6b+.

  • 5 stars (Sarca Walls)
  • 300 meters
  • 10 pitches
  • 6a, 6c (6a when pulling the quickdraw)
  • S2/II (S2 = Distant bolts and compulsory passages from bolt to another. Potential length of fall: 10 meters; fall without danger. Rather II = long route, easy-track approach, rather long, and easy dowmclimb)

Approach instructions were (again) a bit misleading. At Dro, there are at least two sport centers, one in named especially as Sport Center and the other not, it has a name localita' Oltra. We guess that the localita’ Oltra would have been the right one, even if we saw that only from the wall. According to the navigator we found the private parking place of the Sport Center. Fortunately, we noticed cars also in another place, because the private car park was equipped with a gate, and we did not have any idea, if the would be closed until we get back. At last we hit the road by foot to chapel mentioned in the guidebook.

After 4-5 kilometers walking, we finally found the chapel, from where we turned to the path towards the wall. It would have been very convenient if you knew that next to Sguarauunda begins the route named "Heli" (this is not in the 2007 Guidebook). We wouldn’t have visited the Pizzeria crag, to where leads a “path” having grade of four, which we at first ascent and then descent without any belaying of course. The 'Heli’ was very well marked to follow almost already from the chapel. And when we finally reached the right crag, it would have been nice to know which routes are made next to Sguarauunda since 2007… All in all, we found the Sguarauunda after two hours hiking instead of 30 minutes, which was mentioned in the guidebook.

The route followed pretty smooth slab first half of the route. Fortunately, Sami or T passed one belay stand on the slab, or the the route was changed and three pitches were merged to two pitches, due to that we avoided one hanging belay on dark and hot wall under midday sun. We didn’t manage very well in the beginning with the ropes, or the ropes were really bad behaving. They twisted around each other and made huge knots by themselves. Finally we got to the vertical wall, where located also the first standing belay with a shade. What a relief!

There were also sometimes challenges to find the next bolt, because the route had safety grade of S2, which means that bolt spacing is a little longer than S1 graded (the safest) has. Route reading was so complex that Sami missed a bolt and a belay stand and continued one and half pitches until he got lack of quick draws and made a belay on trees. T and Nora also had some hidden bolts, which they missed and led to the next one or directly to an anchor.

On the vertical wall we found lots of loose rocks. T threw few quite big rocks while leading the route, hopefully there were nobody following us on the same or the neighbor routes. Sami got hit by a couple of at least two kilos rocks on his shoulder when ascending the hardest pitch. Miraculously, Sami's grip on the left hand was so strong that he didn’t fall in spite of attack of the stones. There were plenty of slings and strings along the route hanging on bolts. Either climbers have made exit or they have made ascending possible in case of broken or lack of holds. Maybe also the grade has changed during time, when rock and holds have reformed. Between the tufas at the hardest pitch belay stand, there was a box with a notebook and a pencil. It was a pleasure to sign our names and draw the flag of Finland. The notebook was so thick that there was no time to check if there had been marks of other Finns.

After six hours of ascending we topped successfully the Sguarauunda. Yeah!! The view was spectacular and feeling like we had climbed a lot, and there was still a descent to the car. Luckily the instructions were better for descenting than for approaching. At the top, there was clear path to follow to north until the Degli Scaloni-via ferrata (obviously), along which we descented to the same small chapel, from where we started approaching. From the chapel it was still 4-5 kilometers to the car. All in all, the return from the route took an hour. We made a very good decision to move the car to the open spot in the beginning, because the private car park gate was closed.

Also this time we googled the Sguarauunda before, only we found very little information about it. The previous multipitch routes have been very well described at webpages with a detailed drawing of the route, for example, with lengths of pitches and amount of bolts per pitch. In Sarca Walls guidebook this would be good to know information, since current edition does not have those. Summer Sport Arco Guidebook (publisher: Vertical Life) has similar info of the routes than, only including just tens of routes in comparison of 500 in the Sarca Walls. Also approaching maps for crags could be better, including GPS coordinates, compass point and distances, in order to make orienteering to the crags easier.

/Sami & Nora

Nora / 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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