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Punta Pilocca: Sara Oviglia climbing the first pitch of Rosa Fumetto, previously a trad route
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia
Punta Pilocca: Fabio Erriu making the first ascent of Ombelico di Venere
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia
Mondo Liggi, an early pioneer of sports climbing in Sardinia. Here he's pictured on the roof of his Fiat 500, placing the first bolt by hand to what would later become Marina Superstar, in 1981 circa
Photo by Alessandro Cattaneo
Punta Pilocca: 1. Amor de Mi Vida (7a+ max, Maurizio Oviglia, Fabio Erriu, 2016) 2. L’ombelico di Venere (6a+ max, Maurizio Oviglia, Fabio Erriu, 2016) 3 .Un Gioiello Smarrito (5c max, Corrado Pibiri e Fabrizio Lampis, 2016) 4. Bilbo Baggins (4b max. Mondo Liggi, F. Barbaro 1984) 5. Rosa Fumetto (5b max, Mondo Liggi, Maurizio Oviglia, Cecilia Marchi,1985)
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia

Punta Pilocca... multi-pitches! Sardinia's historic climbing revamped

di

Over the past two months Corrado Pibiri and climbing partners have revamped some historical multi-pitch rock climbs at Punta Pilocca, one of Sardinia’s most beautiful crags. As always, some new routes were created by Pibiri, Fabrizio Lampis, Fabio Erriu and Maurizio Oviglia, who now provides the most recent updates.

Known for its wonderful limestone, Punta Pilocca is a historic crag hidden away in Sardinia’s Iglesiente forest. Unlike the limestone at Dorgali and Baunei, Punta Pilocca rose to fame for its grey limestone slabs that, instead of being covered in characteristic gouttes d’eau waterworn pockets (like at Supramonte), resembled something akin to huge petrified waterfall, forcing the climbers to trust its tiny pockets. Some routes, such as Danze Lunari, became famous for the very technical climbing that tested the nerves of many.

The origins of this crag are shrouded in legend, so much so that it is no longer possible to separate fact from fiction and romantic notions that have appeared by word of mouth. The story goes that Mondo Liggi, the pioneer of sport climbing in Sardinia who died prematurely in 1986, was a teacher at Iglesias. With his rackety Fiat 500 he spent all his free time driving along the bumpy dirt tracks exploring the island’s mountainous interior and… discovered the crag! This probably happened in the late seventies or a short while later.

Since the face is about 70/80 meters high, the first routes were logically long and established using nuts and pegs, in trad style. The first route was Babbo Natale, dates back to 1983 and was put up by the Mondo Liggi with Cecilia Marchi and Andrea Scano, two absolute beginners at the time. Splendid Bilbo Baggins was the next route to be climbed, an easy outing up superb rock. I often lent Mondo a hand with the next routes Rosa Fumetto, Giovane Esploratore Tobia, l’Erba Cipollina, Bluff, Samsara and it was on Erba Cipollina that I placed my first bolt in 1984, hand placed while balancing precariously. At the time I was with Cecilia Marchi (climbing in Superga, as she didn’t have climbing shoes), Bruno Poddesu (another Sardinian climbing pioneer) and Sebastian Zagonel, with whom I did my military service and who is now a mountain guide and hut warden in the Pale di San Martino, Dolomites.

Without wishing to dwell too much on the past, these routes fell into disuse as single pitches gained popularity throughout all of Europe. The Cagliari branch of the Italian Alpine Club recently decided to revamp these old routes, in order to use them for their climbing courses, and also to make them more amenable for those wishing to repeat them. The belays have been reequipped (with bolts) while the original pro along the pitches has been respected. Cordelettes have been left insitu in the many beautiful threads and some routes require nuts & Friends.

Making the most of this opportunity, Fabio Erriu and I made the first ascent of L’ombelico di Venere and Amor de mi Vida, while Corrado Pibiri and Fabrizio Lampis established Un gioiello Smarrito.

by Maurizio Oviglia

Thanks to Corrado Pibiri, Andrea Scano and Alessandro Cattaneo for the photos.

Un Gioiello Smarrito
Corrado Pibiri, Fabrizio Lampis 20 & 23 January 2016, ground-up

90m. Belays equipped with stainless steel bolts.
5c max (5b, 5b+, 5c)
Pleasant climbing up splendid rock past a plethora of threads and pockets,
Two 50m ropes, 8 quickdraws, cordelettes, friends to #2 BD. Numerous cordelettes have been left in-situ.
Abseil down Ombelico di Venere

Amor de Mi Vida
Maurizio Oviglia, Fabio Erriu 22 February 2016, ground-up
Prima libera Maurizio Oviglia e Daniele Turco, 23 February 2016
70m. Belays equipped with stainless steel bolts.
7a+ max, 6b obl. (5c, 6c, 7a+)
great climbing straight through the overhangs. Splendid third pitch through the steep roof.
One 70m rope, 12 quickdraws.
Abseil down the route

L’ombelico di Venere
Maurizio Oviglia, Fabio Erriu January & February 2016, ground-up
130m. Belays and entire route equipped with stainless steel bolts.
6a+ max, 5c obl. (4c, 6a, 6a+, 6a+)
Pleasant climbing past complex route finding and some traverses.
One 70m rope, 12 quickdraws.
Abseil down the route (1st rappel) then continue down Un Gioiello Smarrito

Rosa Fumetto
Mondo Liggi, Maurizio Oviglia, Cecilia Marchi 1 March 1985, ground-up

Restyling carried out by Corrado Pibiri, Simone Pireddu 27 December 2015
85m. Belays equipped with stainless steel bolts. First pitch bolted, the remaining two have a mix of bolts and pegs.
5b max, 4c obl. (5a, 5b, 4c)
Superb rock, slab climbing except for one section
One 70m rope, 12 quickdraws. Take some mid-size nuts
Abseil down the route

Bilbo Baggins
M. Liggi, F. Barbaro 1984, ground-up
Restyling carried out by Corrado Pibiri, Fabrizio Lampis 26 December 2015
100m. Belays equipped with stainless steel bolts.
Since this is a historic trad cimb, no new pro was added. Only the belays have been equipped with stainless steel bolts.
Three original pegs have been left in-situ, as well as numerous cordelettes on trees and threads.
Take a set of friends to #2BD.
4b max. (3c, 4a, 4b)
Superb rock, slab and crack climbing up the large Punta Pilocca shoulder.
One 70m rope, 12 quickdraws. Take some mid-size nuts
Abseil down the route

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