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Maurizio Oviglia climbing pitch 2 of Top Secret.
Photo by Sara Oviglia
Cecilia Marchi on pitch 1 of Musikedda.
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia
Paolo Contini getting to grips with the offwidth on pitch 1 of Top Secret.
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia

New trad climbs at Garibaldi in Sardinia


Three new trad routes at the Garibaldi in south-east Sardinia, first ascended by Fabio Erriu and Maurizio Oviglia.

At the end of 2012 I added some new trad climbs to Garibaldi located in the Sette Fratelli massif (within a beautiful forest east of Cagliari). It is a curious granite monolith with chimneys and rounded cracks and offers fairly burly climbing which we might ironically define as being a style which doesn't suit most... I'd define it as almost "masculine", were it not for those awesome videos of blonde Pamela Pack climbing the cracks at Vedauwoo. And in fact Garibaldi, little-known within Italy, seems to be the most fitting 
Italian equivalent of this famous American crag.

No, I didn't discover Garibaldi recently! I've climbed here since 1984, even though I've only ever had the chance to establish one route, the exaggerated crack Top Secret. Many of the other routes are the work of Sardinian climbers including the highly active new routes Corrado Pibiri who has completely fallen in love with this beautiful place. In the years that followed I often returned, either to repeat the routes of others or to make the first free ascents.

I returned at the end of 2012  with Paolo Contini and I repeated Top Secret. In 1984 I had climbed the first pitch using A3 aid, while the second superlative hand-crack was done with one rest. I managed to free it with a toprope and graded it VII+ (6c). In 1997 I returned with Luigi Scema to repeat it. The route had had no other repeats and I thought (wrongly) that I'd sweeten it by adding some bolts, in the hope that others might be encouraged to try it. During those years, inspired by what was being done in Chamonix, we thought we were doing the right thing. Meanwhile the first pitch (which had had the bolts removed) had been freed by Simone Sarti and graded 6c. Simone is an excellent climber but didn't have much experience at hand jamming, so the crack itself had still not been freed. I'd always dreamt about climbing that crack with just a trad rack and perhaps, in placing the bolts, I'd managed to rid myself of it. But last November, together with Paolo and without giving it too much thought, I greenpointed the second pitch and in doing so I crowned that long term dream of mine. A few days later I removed the bolts and I restored the crack to its original state, even filling in the bolt holes. The grade now seems a good 6c+, or if you want American 5.11a...

As often happens though, when you return to a place you've been to before you see things with different eyes. A new line appeared just to the right and, unable to deal with this niggling in the back of my mind, I returned on 29 December (a beautiful winter day) with Fabio Erriu and the project became a reality. Despite the moss and lichen I managed to onsight the first two pitches, 6a and 6c respectively. A wide fist crack followed by an exposed traverse protected by small nuts and microfriends. The third pitch, an overhanging crack, seemed confusing and I had to settle for just working the moves. We returned to brush and clean the entire route, this took a whole, back-breaking day. Then, on a cold January morning, I returned to free the third pitch, a nice 7a+ with a surprising and beautiful obligatory 6c+ section.

A few days later we added the trad single pitches Wind Chill and I tempi Cambiano (times are a changing), both 6b+. For Garibaldi this seems to herald a third era: after the classic routes and modern climbs... now it's time for clean climbing. It remains to be seen whether these rough granite cracks will attract on this island of sunny grey limestone outcrops... I bet they won't, but as I'm sure you've guessed it, we do all this on purpose to be different and go against the grain... ☺

Top Secret
– 80m – 6c, 6c+ - First ascent: Maurizio Oviglia and Bruno Poddesu, 1984
A must-do crack climb from the start to finish, not to be missed! Take two sets of Friends up to #4

Musikedda – 80m – 6a, 6c, 7a+ - First ascent: Maurizio Oviglia and Fabio Erriu, 29 December 2012
Complete and demanding climb, in particular the final pitch which resembles a boulder problem (but is protected by friends). Take two sets of Friends, nuts and microfriends

I Tempi Cambiano – 25m – 6b+ - First ascent: Maurizio Oviglia and Fabio Erriu, December 2012
Single pitch with hard obligatory section. A set of Friends up to #2

Wind Chill – 25m – 6b+ - Prima salita Maurizio Oviglia and Fabio Erriu, December 2012
Single pitch up a rounded crack. A set of Friends up to #2

by Maurizio Oviglia





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