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Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500'
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sonso45


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)


gblauer
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Oct 24, 2012, 8:00 PM
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Re: [sonso45] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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Wow Manny, it sounds like you had a great time. I was surprised to read about your scary moments...you are such a strong leader. Must have been super hard leads!


Gmburns2000


Oct 24, 2012, 8:12 PM
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Re: [sonso45] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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fucking A. About time we had a good TR around these parts.

Nice to read. I'll be south of there in Jan...a lot farther south, but still, inspiring enough.


dagibbs


Oct 25, 2012, 8:23 AM
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Re: [sonso45] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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That sounds like an awesome climb!


sonso45


Oct 25, 2012, 9:20 AM
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Re: [dagibbs] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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Thanks, it was an awesome climb and I only weenied out once. I was humbled by the team above us: only one leader and he was fast.

Next time I'm staying at the Refugi and minimize the uphill hiking. There are many routes on this wall but this was the longest, I believe.

Have fun in January. It would be cold and snowy in Pedraforca.


(This post was edited by sonso45 on Oct 25, 2012, 9:21 AM)


Gmburns2000


Oct 25, 2012, 9:59 AM
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Re: [sonso45] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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I'll be in Seville, so no problems there.


boymeetsrock


Oct 25, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Re: [sonso45] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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Nice TR!! Thanks!


losbill


Oct 25, 2012, 10:32 AM
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Re: [sonso45] Spain's Pedraforca: Via de Tots 5.11R, A0, 1500' [In reply to]
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Nice TR Manny! Very much enjoyed it. I assume the only downside for you was no off-width to thrash up!


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