Pedra Longa in Sardinia / The Spigolo dell'Ospitalità rock climb
The multi-pitch rock climb Spigolo dell’Ospitalità was first ascended in 1982 by Umberto Marampon up the beautiful Pedra Longa tower in Sardinia. Maurizio Oviglia and Fabio Erriu recently made a rare, possibly even first, repeat of this climb above the coast of Baunei.
Umberto Marampon was a formidable Dolomite climber, a great friend of Lorenzo Massarotto and particularly famous for his tough aid climbs through incredible roofs. Not everyone knows however that in the early '80's he established several rock climbs in Sardinia, too.
One of the routes he first ascended on this island breaches the overhanging south face of the spectacular Pedra Longa tower close to Baunei, above the the crystal clear Mediterranean sea. For some reason I’d always imagined an aid route through a series of roofs up the south face, which resembles a miniature Lavaredo tower, festooned with an abundance of pegs. Perhaps this is why I’d never been particularly attracted to the line. And although I had the original topo, I certainly didn’t expect a free climb, with a 20m section of grade VI climbing up rock which, defining it as poor, is nothing short of a compliment!
Fabio Erriu and I climbed this route on Friday, March 10 and perhaps our repeat is one of the first, if not the very first. I onsighted the only section Marampon had breached with the use of aid, thanks to the peg Marampon had left in-situ. After 35 years exposed to the sea, you can imagine what condition this was in...
Some time ago I read that Marampon always preferred to leave one peg more in the route instead of one peg less, because he was always happy when his routes were repeated, and because with an additional peg the route would become safer. However, on that 20 meter stretch of grade VI climbing there weren’t any pegs and, although I had some clipped to my harness, given the rock quality I wouldn’t have been able to place them. On that section I kept thinking: it’s "just" grade VI, 5c, I should be fine, I’ll be able to climb it without pegs! 15m above a small friend, while proceeding "carcat-like" up a pile of rubble… an apparently good hold broke which, as it snapped, injured my finger. I lost my balance but a providential terrace stopped my fall one meter below. I was lucky, but things like these certainly make you stop and think ...
Now though I’m considering the following: I’d like to abseil down the route and clean it, because it really is beautiful and special, apart from those 20/30 meters of loose rock. I’d like to remove all the choss and add a couple of normal pegs, so that the route becomes more popular, I’m sure Umberto would agree! But if I do so, many will struggle to recognize what Umberto achieved, back in 1982, where he made the first ascent, solo, in 14 hours! I'm undecided, I’ll think about it … and maybe I'll even ask him!
TOPO: Spigolo dell'Ospitalità, Pedra Longa Sardinia