Josune Bereziartu and her husband Rikar Otegui have tapped into their sports climbing strength to make the first ascent of "El Ojo Critico", a 400m high trad 8a on the Pilar de Cotatuero in the Spanish Ordesa Valley.
The "Critical eye" takes the first two pitches of the classic Rabada-Navarro, then forges upwards directly through the Cotatuero prow. The two Basque climbers made the bolt-free ascent over a three day period from the ground up, taking alternate leads except for the crux pitch, which both led. Describing the line as "espectacular", Josune sent the following report:
"Last week we made the first ascent (for this reason I’m very proud) of a new route in Ordesa Valley. It's 400 meters high and has one 8a pitch. We only used a few pitons in the entire route and many cams, micros and stoppers...No bolts anymore!!!
We called it "El Ojo Critico". We climbed it in three single days going strictly from the ground. The line takes the center of the most important pillar in Ordesa, the Pilar de Cotatuero. The route climbs the first two pitches of the ultra-classic Rabada-Navarro, then goes straight to the top itself, independently without touching any other route. The line is spectacular.
The climbing style in Ordesa is mostly, as the French would say, "Terrain De Aventure". You can place trad gear quite easily, so we only placed a few pitons. The rock is not the best; it is sandstone and at times a kind of bad mixed limestone. So the route is very fragile in parts, meaning that you need to climb very quickly, and in those places it's not easy to place gear. The style is very athletic, many overhangs, lots and lots of dihedrals, roofs... at times very good quality vertical faces. But overall the rock is not very solid.
Some belays need be protected with gear, others are protected with pitons.
We didn’t bring any bolts with us, we decided to try without. Some of the pitches were pretty scary, but we wanted to maintain a "purer", more authentic spirit."
El Ojo Critico
Pilar de Cotatuero
Ordesa Valley, Spain
f.a. Josune Bereziartu & Rikar Otegui 06/07/2007
Pitches: first two pitches of Rabada-Navarro (grade V), then P1: 6b+, P2: 8a, P3: 7a/+, P4: 6c, P5: 6c, P7: 6c,P8: 6c+, P9: 7b, P10: 6b+ and then easy to the top
Gear: two sets of cams, two micro sets and nuts. Twelve quickdraws, slings.
Notes: first ascended from the ground up, no bolts. At times chossy rock