New Picos de Europa 8c multi-pitch by Pou brothers and Kico Cerdá
Iker Pou, Eneko Pou and Kico Cerdá have made the first free ascent of Rayu (8c, 600m) on the south face of the Peña Santa de Castilla in the Picos de Europa massif in Spain.
After five hard weeks of work, Basque brothers Eneko and Iker Pou, and Kico Cerdá from Argentina have now made the first free ascent of a testing new route up the south face of Peña Santa de Castilla, the 2596m peak in the Spanish Picos de Europa massif. Called Rayu, which means lightning in local dialect, the new route is 600m high and boasts difficulties up to 8c. Given the exceptional quality of the limestone, the first ascensionists are convinced it will become a high-end classic.
"The first part consists of seven pitches (about 300 m) with difficulties that do not exceed 7b, but many of them either do not have bolts, or only have one or two, meaning that you’re tested physically and psychologically since, in many places, falls are potentially very dangerous" explained Eneko.
"The second part consists of another seven more difficult pitches, very vertical and without rests, past continuous difficulties that peak with an 8c." Iker continued "As in the first section, bolts are runout and the pro needs backing up with trad gear. This was but far the crux." After establishing the route ground-up, and after an attempt all the way to crux pitch, the trio pulled off the first free ascent in a 12.5 hour non-stop climbing marathon.
The Pou brothers have numerous first ascents to their name in the Picos de Europa massif, predominantly on Picu Urriellu, also referred to as Naranjo de Bulnes. Climbs include the first free ascents of El Pilar del Cantabrico (8a+, 500m, 1997), Zunbeltz (8b+, 500m, 2003), Quinto Imperio (8b, 500m, 2006), Lurgorri (8c+, 250m, 2006), Orbayu (8c+/ 500m, 2009), Gorilas en la Roca (7b+, 200m, 2011), La Reina Fortuna (7b, 200m, 2016) and Marejada Fuerza 6 (8a+, 500m, 2016). In 2018 on neighbouring Tiro Pedabejo they established Dardara (7c+/8a, 200m) with Kico Cerda and Ion Gurutz.