Umbras, Punta Cusidore: Sardina loves climbing
On 15 June Rolando Larcher and Maurizio Oviglia carried out the first free ascent of Umbras (300m 8a max, 7b+ obl.). They had made the first ascent of this rout up the N Face of Punta Cusidore (Sardinia) in 2008.
Can Sardinia wait? If you ask this question to a climber, the answer can be taken for granted: Sardinia, with its rock faces and its magic, cannot wait. For years now it's been top of the dreams and holiday destinations of many a climber. Nevertheless its not that easy to comprehend what that rock treasure hides. Because on this island there must be something that goes well beyond the sea and the magnificent rock. A secret call which perhaps lies in this landìs wild and sincere soul . And also in the generosity of its nature, as Rolando Larcher explains when talking about his latest creation Umbras. The route was first ascended with Maurizio Oviglia in 2008 up the arete of the Nord Face of Punta Cusidore and then freed by Larcher on 15 June. Larcher describes the line as being another gem, on a par with his other famous creations, Hotel Supramonte and Mezzogiorno di Fuoco. If he says so, we (and we believe all other climbers too) don't need further explanation. Sardinia has provided another of its infinite gifts. This generosity needs to be remembered above all by attempting not to waste this paradise which simply cannot wait.
by Rolando Larcher
I think that by now most know that I love Sardinia and that this love is refuelled year in year out by her fantastic gifts. I leave home with the desire to create something and I then return home with something else to dream about. I love Sardinia's varied and solid walls just like I love her uncontaminated and silent nature.
Umbras is an example of this Sardinian magic that repeats itself: I caught sight of it while making the first ascent of British Way on Bruncu Nieddu, it made me play and have fun for two holidays and just before returning it discreetly suggested something interesting for 2010. The routes appear spontaneously and in the same spontaneous manner the style of the first ascent adapts to this generous nature, and follow the underlying thing which they all have in common, aesthetics.
I'm not only taken in by the vertical Sardinian rock faces, but also by its small bays and wild canyons. The last one I visited was Codula Orbisi which was joined by the Gorropu. A day's walk with my sun, between century old oak trees, narrow gorges, cold dips, improvised abseils to avoid other pools... in total solitude. I still savour the profound satisfaction at the goge exit beneath Punta Coccutos, enabling Alessandro to admire the magic line of Hotel Supramonte, with which I share something other than just my age...
Umbras came to life admiring this splendid grey diamond, suspended on the edge of the Cusidore crest. Reaching it and attempting to climb it became irremissible. Apart from its bewitching beauty, this line has the great advantage of being in the shade from mid-morning. Combined with its 1000m altitude and the incredible cool gusts of air from the Oliena plain, Umbras can be climbed in perfect conditions, almost unreal, even in the hottest months of the year. The rock is an anthology, a smooth compact limestone, with a theory of pockets which reminded me of the Berlin Wall at Ceuse.
It's certainly true that all mothers believe their children are the most beautiful, but of the routes that I've first ascended in Sardinia, this one has true character, like Hotel Supramonte and Mezzogiorno di Fuoco on Punta Giradili. This is a magic excellent triple which distinguishes itself: the routes are very similar in terms of their remarkable beauty and difficulty, but extremely diverse due to the characteristics of the rock.
The choice of the name was perhaps the most demanding thing of all. I wanted it to be a tribute to this island, for all I've received, a sort of thanks, but it didn't sound good. I also wanted to find a name which talked about the peculiar nature of the route and so, torn between "Thanks Sardinia" and "Five stars" I opted for "Umbras", which means shade in Sardinian and is the synthesis of many things.
As always I need to thanks Maurizio Oviglia for this route, for his help and the profound friendship which unites us. He opened two of the four pitches on the 1st day. I also need to thank Adriano Cavallaro who accompanied me to finish it off. For the redpoint I need to thank Simone Sarti, with whom I took a first bite last summer, and also Franceso Mich, Michele Cagol and Maurizio once again. Discovering a new route is always a beautiful adventure, but when you share it with good friends, then it transforms into something unforgettable.
Rolando Larcher - C.A.A.I.
Thanks to: La Sportiva, Montura, Petzl
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