martes, 1 de marzo de 2016

Middle earth to the north face of Cabrones Peak 240 m M6/IV

Picos de Europa are an incredible alpinism playground, several generations have enjoyed, explored, opened new routes... on the XXI the ones like us, that arrived behind have to look for different and new terrains cause the evident lines are already climbed...

There are no more classic lines as Friero or Marqués Gully ... so you have to look with the right eyes to the walls to find your new line.

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4 years ago Martín after climbed the north gully of Cabrones Peak spotted a thin crack with some snow glued to it , little higher a hanging snowfield, another crack further up ... Would be possible to match the pieces?
During the summers sigths from the ridge , a far photo from Ario meadow with a 500 Tele...
Dreams...



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We had to go ... but sometimes jobs, family,  IFMGA guide´s course, uther times two meters of snow blocking access... 4 years waiting.
February 2016...
Winter has come but snow not... few storms, so a lot of sport climbing , life was good , but anxiety was growing.

We are able to find a couple of days that match both of us, but the weather prediction is quite unstable...


So??????

Heading to Urriellu , maybe we don´t know that trail...
Almost no snow till 1900 m. but from there, wind has played and on the north slopes are fields of soft deep powder , and we have no skis...

Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa





On the high Arenera pass wind has blown all and only ice hard as a rock covers the ground, form time to time snows





Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropaWe reach Cabrones, from the pass we can see "our" wall , not too much ... .- Zoom in to see ! ... not  much..
Let´s reach the hut and tomorrow we´ll see ...hopefully


It took us 6 hours to arrive.



The spring is running, so let´s prepare dinner and organize tomorrow´s gear.
Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa

-1º C inside Cabrones hut , my friend Martin is afather since 4 months ago, so ... it will be his first night sleeping in a row in four months!


07:00 am we´re walking contouring the base of the Dobresengos range, shortcutting straight to the base , covered sky doesn´t help to keep thinking positive...

Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
We see a first pitch "climbeable", but with a short wall to connect to a second pitch , some thin cracks... Sooooo Let´s go! we always have the option to retrace...

I start , an open dihedral with snow fixed to it and some  external footholds, a short piton goes in ... you look down triying to calculate the result of the equation of a fall five meters over that piton on the uneven dihedral...
But Martin belaying reads the same thoughts and shouts: .- I´M WITH YOUUU
So another meter...
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Wrong thoughts fly away while the climb improves it´s beauty , and finally i reach the small ledge below the steep section.. the protection of those 30 meters have been a short piton, Pecker, 2 small stoppers  and a green alien, not too bad..

The belay would relay on 2 stoppers and a piton, meanwhile the weather has gone to hell already , our prediction of a  morning window is failing, snows and blows from SW, we are on north wall so we only hear the wind at the back of the peak ... Poor Martin gets waves of snow while he climbs ... i was so lucky only minutes before.

Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
Alpinism... For the most extrem conditions they say...

Reaches the belay , not that confortable , basicly hanging from it , so he takes the lead , sees a stopper place and goes up...


Elegant and slowly negotiates the mixed section below spindrift...

Steeper than it looks but with good footholds, an nº 1 cam goes in so he ´s out and the rope tells me he is moving fast and steady, the difficulty has gone down, the rope ends and he sets a good belay


Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
















Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa


So i follow Martin all protections are good , but we clean everything  not knowing what´s ahead .

After the steep , the visibility is quite poor , very dark day it´s only 10 am .

I find Martin smiling below a perfect gully ...we have find the key to couple of pitches and this is going to be the third..




The belay is a good piton ( the only one we left behind) and a good cam.
3rd section, starts so narrow almost a chimney and i forget to change the backpack , it opens into a perfect gully to end 50 meters ahead on a good natural anchor .







Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa



















Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
4th pitch, a steep start with very thin ice , light ice axe movements to keep going up , we think  where we are in relation to the western spur that is over us.
the higher we get the stronger the wind... we are not protected anymore...

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Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa








a short video explains more than words the conditions...


Same tipe of climbing, thin ice barely 2 mm over rock and some iced snow  , but loosing steepness... the crampons hold everywhere so life is soooo good.

A final pitch after a shoulder takes us to  a short final pillar that dies on the west ridge.

Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa
Too much wind and we are over the north classic Gully so "Finitto" and let´s scape from here !


"Done"!!

2 rappels, pitons and a BD Spectre , and climb down to the base to reach hot tea and food.






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Happyness sometimes is just be able to sit over your backpack for a while.. .


Guias de alta montaña IFMGA UIAGM en Picos de Europa #guiasdemontañadepicosdeeuropa







Repack and go back, almost 3 pm , we have still 6 hours ahead  to get to the car...

Another new line, we have been climbing together the last 11 years, always with the same motivation: just have fun ...
We hope somebaody will go back there to repeat it , if they have at least the same fun than us , it´s going to be worther the aprox to this far corner of the central Massif of Picos de Europa.
The middle earth... on a sunny day!
" The Middle Earth" Cabrones Peak north face.
13-2-2016  Martín Moriyón y Fernando Calvo
240 m M6/IV
One piton left on the second belay and the rappel points on the classic North gully
Gear for this...
Friends from number 3 to the green alien , and a whole sttopers rack including 00.
6 to 8 pitons short better...
10 long slings
1 Pecker
short ice screws (10 cm) but we didn´t use


Thanks Bro ... was a great alpinism day !

Fernando Calvo


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