Blow it up on the internet, new route on Monte Monaco, Sicily
In November 2011 the American climbers Chris Kalous and Jonathan Thesenga established Blow it up on the internet, a new 200m, 7b+ climb up the North Face of Monte Monaco in Sicily. The trip report by Jonathan Thesenga.
I traveled to Sicily with my wife, Brittany Griffith, and close friends Chris Kalous and Whitney Boland. After a couple days of climbing around the Capo Gallo and Monte Monaco areas, searching for the best new route potential, Chris and I decided to attempt a line to the right of Albert Leichfried's "La Lingua Pura" on the north face of Monte Monaco. We spent three days on the route, bolting ground-up except for what would turn out to be the crux pitch, which we bolted on rappel (preferring that to jugging 140 meters of overhanging fixed ropes to bolt it on lead). The views from the wall of the calm sea and San Vito Lo Capo's idyllic white beach were stunning and provided a beautiful distraction while belaying.
After following the first two pitches of "La Lingua Pura", we ventured onto new ground, finding near-perfect brown and orange rock with sculpted jugs, tufas and thin cracks, overhanging the entire way. The two roofs were both heavily featured with tufas, allowing us relatively easy (7a -7a+) passage for such horizontal terrain. The penultimate pitch proved to be the crux, demanding technical sequences and long pulls between holds on wild, overhanging climbing. Fortunately a hole at mid pitch provides a respite from the difficulties and chance to de-pump before the final boulder problem. We then followed the final pitch of "La Lingua Pura".
After equipping the route, we rested for a day and then led every pitch free for the redpoint, reaching the top just as the rains began. We were truly amazed at the quality of the rock and the climbing, and really hope future ascentionists will enjoy the route as much as we did. Chris and I named our route "Blow It Up On The Internet" in joking reference to the magazine editor who told Whitney that they would be interested her writing an article about our trip to Sicily, but only as long as we didn't "blow it up on the Internet first." Hopefully this report doesn't qualify for "blowing it up"!
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