More Sintra

September 4, 2009

After so many weeks without updates on this blog it feels a little strange to update it twice in two days; however, I am not complaining and I believe/hope that this trend will continue since it just means that I’m climbing a lot!

Despite my fingers being all pink on the tips from the climbing session the day before, I was very interested in seeing some of the new sectors and new boulders, so I went to meet up with Macau and Pena at S. Pedro at 3:15pm.  If I remember correctly today we went to the sector “O Gigante” – The Giant.

IMG_4802Macau – the main developer of the Serra de Sintra over the past decade.

One of the reasons why so many new sectors and boulders have shown up recently has been because of the small group of fanatics that sprouted this past year, another reason is because the government is taking steps to avoid fires in the Serra and so they have cut down HUGE amounts of brush and trees.  This large scale, organized deforestation has made the walks in the woods much more manageable and vastly increased the visibility (not to mention the reduction of risk of fires!).

What most surprises me about the climbing in Sintra is the variety of rock within the same Serra.  Yesterday the sector had really rough granite, dark granite, that innevitably leaves your fingertips and palms raw at the end of a day, today the rock was much lighter, nearly white, and a much finer grain (and I’m told some of the other new sectors have even finer grain).  We warmed up on two easy but super fun tall slabs and then played on some other technical climbs.

IMG_4805IMG_4811IMG_4807The above bloc as the FA and only send by Macau, it looks easier than it is.  It involves several compression moves first on good holds and then on small slopers that are very temperature dependent.  Neither Pena nor I managed to send though Macau showed us all the moves.

As a testament to the opportunity that exists at the moment, in the little time I was there I saw and cleaned a nice new line starting just to the right of an existing bloc.  This starts on two underclings with a high left foot, placing the body in a compressed and locked position, then one tight move to a shallow mono divet followed by a large move to the top; the FA was by Macau who reached the top without having to cut feet, I gave it several valiant efforts but it stays for another day.  The line was dubbed Chapavao.

We then moved on to a problem called Zeitgeist, also a Macau FA (and again sole ascent).  In contrast to the surrounding rock this prow has a really fine grain and is a dark color–reminding me of some lines in Hueco Tanks such as Black Mamba.  Pena and I both tried it several times and made good progress but no ascents.  The moves are awesome, top problem which is given a 7b+/V8 grade.  Sintra has, in my opinion, pretty stiff grading; I think the most common grades in Sintra are 6a (given to something that is easy), 6c+ (given to something that is hard but come on that that hard) and 7b+ (given to something that when first discovered everyone thought would be at least 7c but once it was finally sent nobody wants to give it the V9 grade).  I won’t pronounce my opinion about the grading here, these are some hard problems, they are great quality and I’m happy that I can move my ass on them – that’s all I’ve got to say about that!

Here are some photos of Pena doing the beginning moves:

IMG_4829IMG_4830IMG_4832IMG_4833I didn’t get good photos of the last moves but they are not a given as you may imagine if you think about topping that thing out.  I got just about as far as Pena did, so we are both pscyhed to come back to this new gem.

Along with these sweet little gems that are being discovered there are also the giants.  Macau had brough 4 crash pads, Pena and I 1 each so, with the aid of a rope, Macau cleaned a wall which contains at least 3 good lines and we gave it some burns.  My fingers where shot from the sudden immersion into Sintra grains yesterday and I wasn’t feeling ready for the psychological high moves today so I took photos while Pena and then Macau sent a new 7a and then tried a much harder line (undoubtedly 7c+/8a for now but 7b+ when it finally goes) to the right.

IMG_4838Macau cleaning the line with Pena looking on.

IMG_4845Macau starting the line.

IMG_4847IMG_4848IMG_4849IMG_4857Macau learning to fly.

IMG_4850Pena on the start moves.

I’ll just leave one more photo taken at night with the headlamps.  I started taking this photo just as Macau made a move to the next hold, he then fell and fell towards me while the shutter was still open, leaving a cool light effect:IMG_4861

Macau, Pena and I have planned to have another session on Monday, at a different sector, so it gives time for the hounds to heal!  More updates will most certainly come!


One comment

  1. Very nice post!
    …and I agree, grading in Sntra its a bit like a misterious and crazy science.
    I’ll try to show up monday!

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