The days are lengthening out here - over a month has past since the winter solstice - and we are having some great days climbing, working on developing the area and hanging out with friends before guests start arriving again at The Lemon House. We have been getting on bolting more routes, Peter focussing on "easy" routes up to F6a. In the photo below he's at Campo dei Miracoli, 15' from The Lemon House which is below the sun just behind the hill. This crag, ideal for winter and in a great setting, now has 31 routes for all ranges of ability - 2 4's, 5 5's, 10 routes 6a-6b, 7 routes 6b+ to 6c+, and 8 routes 7a-7c, ranging from smearing on slabs to steep strenuous routes, with the 7c still being unrepeated.
The Czech climbing community has gone mad about this area, with our web site registering a record number of hits, after our good friend and very strong climber Honza (Jan) Kareš published some nice photos on a Czech climbing forum of bolting and climbing hard routes in the Su Telargiu Oro Cave (Co ‘e Serra) and other nearby sectors, including Triton Wall which is only 2km from where we live. You can see them here. Jan will be back in the second half of May to continue bolting and freeing his routes.
The main participation sport here in Sardinia after football is hunting (!), with every Sunday from September to January seeing the countryside full of men (yes, only men...) dressed in camouflaged clothing and brandishing shotguns. The most prized prey is wild boar, cinghiale in Italian or sirbone in Sard. Every Sunday there's a procession of cars beeping their horns through our and other villages with the boars shot that day staked out on the bonnets of the cars. Peter had been invited to go hunting, but was always climbing on a Sunday and Anne was scared he'd get shot by accident (there are many such accidents...) so instead we asked the barber, who'd invited Peter along and whose group has caught 18 boars this season, if we could have a bit for a stew. It was great. Here it is before serving.
Bolting new routes is not much use if they're not publicised with accurate information, and this week we gave a hand to our friend Maurizio to visit, check out grades (Maurizio takes this very seriously and his guides are "the" reference for grades on the island.) and take photos for the next edition of the guidebook Pietra di Luna in a couple of the big caves near Cala Gonone. Although Cala Gonone is only an hour's drive from The Lemon House, we don't often go there since there's so much rock around where we live. However, this was a nice chance to go away for a couple of days and visit all together these two less-accessible places. First we went to the big cave of Millenium, which is truly spectacular and, says Maurizio, is much bigger than the Grande Grotta in Kalymnos. The approach to Millenium involves steep, exposed fixed ropes and Anne's performance was probably the best of all of us that day since she'd never done such an approach before..."If you had told me in advance...". Millenium is well worth visiting for climbing in the 6b+ and 7a grades, as well as harder. The next day we walked 2 hours from Cala Fuili to Cala Luna - we were worried that after the winter rains the approach from Buchi Arta would mean wading the river, but we ended up doing this anyway - and, as at Millenium, had the place to ourselves. The caves at Cala Luna are really climbable only in winter when it's cooler, and when you can get the boat there from Easter to October it is often too hot or greasy...so you walk and enjoy good conditions with the place to yourself. Fantastic! Peter onsighted a 6c and 6c+, so he was dead chuffed...well worth the 4 hour walk....while Maurizio and his mate also had a good time, doing the stunning Aray with its huge stalactites.
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