Capo Pecora, Italy's most exotic trad climbing area
Maurizio Oviglia discusses the latest developments at Capo Pecora and the new trad climbs in Sardinia, Italy.
The exploration of the marvellous sea cliff on Sardinia's west coast continues with a flurry of new trad climbs. Numerous new routes have been added to the existing ones recently and the area has already been visited by many climbers, foreigners and Italians alike, all of whom have confirmed the crag's beauty. Unfortunately, finding the right conditions is not always easy due to its vicinity to the sea and, with this is mind, it's worth avoiding days when the Mistral wind blows (resulting in rough seas) while the best conditions can generally be found with the Scirocco wind. The sun dries the rock quickly, rendering it nice and rough and obviously best friction can be found on sunny winter days. Summer offers the chance for splendid swims in the crystal-clear water but the rock often remains damp in the shade, while it's often too hot to climb in the sun unless you're lucky enough to enjoy a pleasant sea breeze.
The area is still undergoing full exploration and many sectors are still completely untouched. In any case, here is a brief summary of the latest activity which concentrated mainly on the main tower called Big Ben, circa 60m high and with routes up to 3 pitches in length. Thanks to facebook we have managed to find out that the tower was first climbed by Matteo Casula, Davide Pili and Filippo Mereu in spring 2003. Recently Maurizio Oviglia, often accompanied by his daughter Sara and by Andrea Mannias, has added a further 10 new routes to this tower, the highlight being the beautiful “Blu Trad” which offers three-pitches up to 7a+/7b and about which Maurizio and Sara also filmed a nice video-documentary. With his Brivido Freddo (5b, 2 pitches) Marco Marrosu from Sassari established the sector Big Bong closeby, and recently Maurizio Oviglia, Andrea Mannias and Massimo Gessa have added numerous difficult single pitches up to 7b (E5 English trad rating) including the beautiful Poseidon (7a) (check out the video below).
Big Bong though is nothing more than a small sector, and along other sections of this long coastline there are a host of new areas such as “Nel regno di Onan” established by Marco Marrosu and Isabella Zuddas, and Pecora Puzzle with its homonymous crack first ascended by Gianluca Piras… Maurizio Oviglia and Giampaolo Mocci for their part established the first route at the sector Terra Promessa, “Stress da ufficio” which offers 60m of 6a climbing.
It is worth noting that there is no in-situ gear on any routes (these can be protected well with camming devices, nuts and slings) except at the belays, which in the Big Ben/Big Bong area tend to be to be equipped with bolts.
POSEIDON a film by Maurizio Oviglia