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The final pitches of the route Sos de Urtullè.
Photo by Vincenzo Carcangiu
Maurizio Oviglia on the first ascent of "Testa di Cane", Nel Regno di Onan, Capo Pecora
Photo by Cecilia Marchi
Fabio Erriu on pitch 3 of Dream Catcher
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia
Topo of the sector Nel Regno di Onan, Capo Pecora, Sardinia.
Photo by archivio Maurizio Oviglia

Climbing in Sardinia, trad and new multi-pitches

21.01.2014 by Maurizio Oviglia

A January update by Maurizio Oviglia about the latest climbing news from Sardinia. This month: trad climbing at Regno di Onan, Capo Pecora, the Supramonte di Urzulei with the new route Sos de Urthullè and Villacidro with the new climb Dream Catcher on Torre Cinzia.

After having introduced clean climbing sectors to Sardinia in 2002, it seemed as if the next step to create entire clean climbing crags was a simple one, yet for this to happen it has taken 10 years. The pretext was a climbing course organised by the Italian Mountaineering Club, in technical jargon dubbed AL2, organised by the Cagliari branch of the CAI for national instructors. Perhaps for the very first time here in Italy an entire day was devoted to trad climbing, i.e. climbs totally protected with nuts and friends.

For this somewhat special day, that coincided with Epiphany, Fabio Erriu and Maurizio Oviglia established 13 single pitch climbs at the sector Nel Regno di Onan at Capo Pecora. These joined the first route, first ascended in spring 2012 by Marco Marrosu and Isabella Zuddas. The sector proved ideal and not too exposed to the high tides since the belays have all been equipped with 316L stainless steel bolts. This is certainly somewhat unusual from a pure clean climbing point of view, but perhaps a necessary compromise to attract youngsters keen on mastering the art of placing trad gear while enjoying the thrill of it all in "gentle" conditions. The day proved a success, so much so that it was the one that most remembered, proving that although trad isn't deeply rooted here yet, it manages to appeal to the young just as much as sports climbing. The sector is open to business and will be included in my upcoming guidebook "Pietra di Luna trad & multipitch" with a topo of all the routes. Remember to watch out for some loose rock and always wear a helmet. The belays were funded by the Scuola Sandro Partel, CAI Cagliari.

Changing style slightly, Corrado Pibiri and Vincenzo Carcangiu have put up a new route in the heart of the Urzulei Supramonte, upstream of the Gole di Gorroppu. The new route beaches a hitherto untouched face and follows an obvious corner and crack up fabulous limestone. Although bolted, Friends up to #4 BD will be needed for added protection. Called Sos de Urthullè, this 200m line still has some sections that have not been climbed free and is reached via the sheepfold Sedda Ar Baccas, by passing Codula Orbisi and heading towards S’iscalone ‘e Su Portellu, in 20 minutes circa.

The latest creation at Villacidro is a multi-pitch sports climb. Climbing has taken place close to this little town in the middle of Sardinia ever since the late seventies and one of the most beautiful outcrops is Torre Cinzia, a slender granite spire explored in 1979 by Cagliari-based alpinists. In 2003 I teamed up with Andrea Mannias to forge two modern routes along the red arête and realised that the climbing is very similar to the granite in Corsica's Restonica valley, festooned with tafoni and small crimps. Andrea and I also noticed a beautiful black corner on the higher face adjacent to the tower known as Cima Franco Ghidini. But this always remained a project and Andrea's move to Milan scuppered our hopes of realising this little dream together.

I hoped Andrea didn't mind too much therefore as, together with Fabio Erriu, I "stole" the line this January during a day and a half of blustery scirocco wind. Six beautiful pitches up 170m of rock confirmed Andrea's intuition and in truth he wasn't angry at all, on the contrary, he was more than happy to accept the route name we put forward. Despite already being famous in America, it's ideal for this purpose: Dream Catcher. Just like the other two routes on the tower, this is completely protected by bolts but the climbing is nevertheless not to be underestimated.

The tower faces SE and is approached via a 30 minute walk-in. For information about the 2003 first ascents check out: www.sardiniaclimb.com

by Maurizio Oviglia (CAAI)

Thanks to Corrado Pibiri for his help in compiling this edition of Sardinan News

- all Sardinia climbing news

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