After a very, very long ferry back to the mainland, our time in Sardinia has come to an end, thankfully with a succesful ascent of our biggest project to date.
The big project James is talking about is Pietro Del Pra's, until now, unrepeated multi-pitch Aria on the face of Monte Plumare, Sardinia.
A few days ago, Caro and I made the first repeats of Aria, a 350m EXPO 8a+ on Punta Plumare, directly above the ocean. We had first tried the route a few weeks ago but unfortunately found the crux 8a+ completely wet. With all the rain over the last month, it seemed at times like every colonet on the island was soaking wet and we were not sure if we would have the chance to try again. Luckily, the last week was a little better and we were able to tick the route on one of our few remaining days.
8a+ might not sound cutting edge with only two 8a+ pitches and the rest quite a lot easier but, we mustn't forget the "EXPO" part:
Aria, therefore, in theory, is quite a normal route: 7c / 7a / 6c+ / 6c+ / 6c+ / 8a+ / 8a+ / 7a+ / 7b+ / 7a. 10 pitches, 350m, and seriously overhanging – with just 2 pitches in the 8's, we could do in the day if we fight well... Except that, after further clarification, Aria has a small a-typical side : it can be done with 6 quickdraws!!!!! AAAAAARRRRGGGGG
6 quickdraws, in pitches of 45m, do your calculus – it's at least 7 m between two points! Minimum, I mean, because if the first two spits are a little closer (and I am glad, nothing worse than the climber falling on the belayer), it means of course that the other spits will be spaced more than 7m!
Read the full story on James' blog.