Miss Acopan, new route in Venezuela by Krajnc and Obid
In December 2011 and January 2012 Slovenian climbers Luka Krajnc and Matic Obid repeated a number of routes on Acopan Tepui and established their Miss Acopan (7b, 250m).
At the start we were 4 members of the expedition. Andrej and Tanja Grmovsek, Matic Obid and myself. We flew to Caracas and then travelled by bus to Santa Elena, a small city close to the Brazilian border. Our plan was to enter into the jungle on rafts, just like Stefan Glowacz, Kurt Albert & co. did a few years ago when they established Purgatory on Acopan. Unfortunately though, on the fourth day of our expedition Tanja and Andrej received some bad news and returned home immediately, while Matic and I decided to continue on our adventure and we consequently cancelled the river part and hired a small Cessna plane to take us from Santa Elena to Yunek with all our gear and food for three weeks.
At first we were a bit scared, but we soon got accustomed to the jungle lifestyle and during our stay we climbed more than we expected and had a great adventure. First we repeated some classic routes and then we decided to climb a new one of our own.
We initially attempted a line between the routes El placer de la Abstinencia and Hasta luego taurepan, but backed off because of bad rock. We then discovered a great looking line circa 200m to the left and climbed this free with trad gear up perfect rock, calling it Miss Acopan, because of its beauty and the great climbing. We only left 5 pitons and 3 nuts for the rappels, while everything else was done with trad pro. Both of us took a fall on the first attempt of the hardest pitch during the first ascent, but then we climbed the whole route free in a day. As it happened, not counting the failed attempt up the new route, this was also the only fall we took during the entire expedition because we managed to climb everything else free and on-sight.
After New Year we still had some more time and decided to repeat Purgatory (Fegefeuer, 7b, 700m) first climbed by Stefan Glowacz, Kurt Albert & co. in 2006. We didn't have a route topo, just a picture of the wall with a line drawn on it so we were initially rather intimidated, also because we had read the report from Dempster and Libecki, but as we ascended we realised that our experience would be somewhat different from the Americans. No jungle pitches needed fixing, no scorpions, and with circa 15 bolts along the entire, 20-pitch route and 2 on each belay, Purgatory certainly cannot be classed as a sport climb. All things considered we had a great time and climbed the route over 2 days, on-sighting all the pitches by swinging leads and spending 2 nights on the wall (one on the way up and one on the way down).
The locals at the village Yunek, just a two-hour walk from base camp, are extremely friendly and always very helpful. Acopan is highly recommended because it this easy to approach, the variety of already existing lines, the great climbing and overall adventure. Although some of the best lines for trad ascents have already been climbed, the potential for new routes is still pretty big and for climbers with a vision and good skills there is still a lot to do. Apart from Acopan itself, the potential on other more remote Tepuis is still really big and I am sure more will be developed in the future.
16/12/2011 Hasta luego taurepan (6c+, 300m)
18/12/2011 Gardineros de la grandes paredes, (7b, 300m)
20/12/2011: Italian route (6c, 300m) 2nd ascent + added one more pitch (they stoped because of an accident)
28/12/2011: Miss Acopan, free ascent (7b, 250m), new route (5b, 6a+, 6c, 6c, 7a+, 7b, 7a+) We did the first 4 pitches on 24/12 and last 3 on 26/12
30/12/2011: El Placer de la Abstinencia El, (7b+, 260 m)
3-4/01/2012: Purgatory, (7b, 700 m, 20 pitches) 2nd ascent (2 days of climbing, 2 nights on the wall)
6/01/2012: Takamajaka, (7a+, 310 m) 2nd ascent
by Luka Krajnc