Silvio Reffo frees Jungle Pockets at Lumignano
Silvio Reffo and the first free ascent of Jungle Pockets 8b+ at the crag Lumignano, Italy.
We admit: we're impartial. Lumignano is our home crag, we know its limestone walls intimately, all its greyish-red, often painful pockets and the routes which marked important moments in sport climbing history in Italy and further afield. And we also know Strapiombi well, the grotto sector also known as "Il Piardi", named after the climber who bolted this cave at the start of the '90's when the verticality of Classica gave way to overhangs in order to keep up with the natural evolution. This new sector proved an important addition and it came as no surpres that ever since the first routes were established, "Il Piardi" was visited by climbers from Bologna in the south to Austria in the north. The handful of routes remain an important test, with power being the name of the game and climbs up to 8b, until a few months ago Silvio Reffo freed a new route, Jungle Pockets. Reffo had caught our attention five years ago when, still only 16, he had repeated the testpiece of former days Mare Allucinante, and the time has now come for him to add something new. Another difficult 8b? Or perhaps he has finally added the first 8c to Lumignano? He doesn't give the game away... but regardless, even if the route was freed just after Christmas, since we're impartial we're offering you his view anyway.
by Silvio Reffo
It really is true that sooner or later you go back to your roots. I hadn't been to Lumignano for a couple of years, partly because of the difficulties in finding the right conditions, but above all due to the lack of new hard routes to climb. But at the end of December I had little time on my hand so I decided to walk up the Piardi sector, a cave with short routes and holds which have been manufactured a bit and are fairly unnatural. The locals pointed me to a route at the centre of the cave which still a project. It had been bolted by the tireless Marco Savio at the end of the '90's and attempted by numerous climbers, some of which foreigners, but it had resisted all.
I decided to give it a go and cleaned the line a bit, searching for the best moves. I immediately realised that the moves were beautiful despite the holds not being 100% natural. The route begins with a steep overhang and powerful moves on discrete holds and the moves are never simple and very dynamic. The central section is more delicate and gives way to a vertical wall on small and painful holds, while the crux is located at the end, on completely natural holds, a non-existing undercling pinch and tiny pockets.
After the Christmas holidays I returned to the crag, it was sunny and there was good friction and I managed to send the line. I've called in Jungle Pocket because of the ""vegetables" I came across in the first pockets. I've given it 8b+ but it's certainly the hardest route in all of Lumignano and some reckon it might even be 8c, which would make it the first 8c at this crag. The future repeaters will have the tough call. Regardless of the grade though, Jungle Pockets is definitely a great route for those with enough power and resistance. Unlike the other hard routes at Classica it doesn't require particular conditions and it can be climbed almost all year round. Have fun and enjoy your climbing.
TOPO: the crag Lumignano Brojon
TOPO: the crag Lumignano Classica