Forums: Climbing Information: Trip Reports: Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500': Edit Log


Oct 24, 2012, 3:40 PM

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Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500'
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I first saw Pedraforca on a rest day scenic tour. The massive forked limestone summit drew me in immediately. It remained on my hit list until my latest trip this October. This view is the east face our route is on the south face. The route we climbed is not visible but it is on the left fork. You can see the descent down the ridge.

The wall can be approached from the Refugi Lluis Estasen located on the north side but we chose to take the direct uphill approach, more suitable for young folks since it took me a bit longer to hike than Marc's 1.5 hrs (more like 2+ hrs for me). The wall is immense and the photo doesn't really convey its dominance.

Marc started up some faintly worn holds on a steep slab/face. He found a few old pitons, gear and cords (thin or thick cord tied through bridges of rock) and new bolts! All of the old buriles (rivet hangers) had been replaced. Yay!

This is the previous fixed protection, a burile:

Our partnership extends to his visit to the USA where we climbed in Arizona and Indian Creek, Utah. I eventually visited his home in Catalunya and had a blast on a road trip with him. He is a fast, competent, and brave leader; also recently he has become a climbing guide. I was glad to have him with me. Via de Tots was done in 1981 ground-up with very few bolts in 1500' and many of them are way runout. Our plan was to link pitches together and we did. Unfortunately, I got lost on the second half of our third pitch. It should have been an easy move to the right but he said "look for the classic crack" and I went left. The crack petered out (not much protection anyway) and I ran out a holdless blank steep slab. It took precious time and I felt physically and mentally spent after that. He arrived at the belay and looked at me with wonder in his eyes; what was he thinking...

The crux pitch fell to Marc, my how nice I thought. Well, he cruised it and quickly too. It was the weirdest crack climbing I'd done, and I've done a lot. The canalones (visible above his left shoulder in the photo below) are more like square-cut grooves and I was able to get a fist jam in a couple times. Generally though it was either layback or stem and occasionally a pinch. Very runout between the bolts and very committing. You had to just go or go home.

The wall is a series of vertical sections dissected by ledges. After the crux pitch we arrived at the grand ledge, it is a walk from the base of the wall to this point. But we would have skipped the fun. After this pitch we were half way to the top. I lead a traversing pitch that was protectedby a hidden piton and some gear. This set Marc up for the next hard pitch; it finished on A0. Plus the pitch after was mine again. It turned out to be another runout to the bolt from a hanging belay but at least if I fell I would land to the side of my belayer and not on him. Marc congratulated me on the lead since the gear was skimpy and tricky. In the photo our friends are still nearby and about to romp up the tricky dihedral.

The next couple pitches were ok and protected well enough. We stopped for lunch just as the clouds formed around us. We got a little chill and moist but the rock remained dry. Marc said this was typical of Pedraforca, each afternoon in summer a cloud hung around the top.

I was happy to follow along but I did have one more scary moment on one of my last leads. From a large ledge I had to climb up a smooth undulating face to a bolt about 40' directly above my belayer. I didn't fall but did grab my quickdraw to clip; never did find a good hold to clip from. Here I'm following after that lead knowing we were nearly done.

Marc lead the last two pitches in one. I took off with the rope to lead a final pitch but it was obviously a scramble to the top.

The descent turned out to be a long downhill hike along the east edge of the wall, the arete visible in the first photo of this TR. Here is Marc walking down the ridge.

Then another long hike through the woods and we made it to the car. A great climb with a great friend. Can't beat that kind of day. We began hiking at 0900 and arrived at the car after 6pm. Marc Vilaplana made it possible for me to get to the top and I'm grateful. If any of you are ever in Spain and want a competent friendly guide, he's your man!

(This post was edited by sonso45 on Oct 28, 2012, 8:46 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 24, 2012, 3:45 PM
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 24, 2012, 4:11 PM
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 24, 2012, 5:12 PM
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 24, 2012, 5:21 PM
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 24, 2012, 5:23 PM
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 26, 2012, 8:03 AM
Post edited by sonso45 () on Oct 28, 2012, 8:46 PM

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