Yet Another Sector – Pedra Amarela – and more updates

November 27, 2009

And if I thought that the bouldering scene in Sintra was expanding and that I had plenty of projects… well, yesterday evening that was pushed out to another level.  At 2pm I met up with Pena and Rasta, Goncalo and Teresa, Philippe and another climber whose name I forget now at the Pedra Amarela (Yellow Stone) sector.  I had been there before, 8 years ago actually, when the area was completely overgrown with bushes and trees and when I was still taking my baby steps in climbing.  It is amazing how one’s view of a location can change with time.

Similarly to the other sectors in Sintra, Pedra Amarela is completely different.  The rock is a distinctly different color, the typical formations are distinctly different and the setting is different; by setting I mean the landscape, the environment.  I found myself again amazed at the diversity of this “small” mountain called Sintra.

Tapada sector is covered in trees and bushes and rock.  The feeling is of things close together, not cramped but covered, surrounded.  The rock in Tapada generally feels soft on the fingers (actually: read softer if you are not accustomed to Sintra… soft is not applicable to any rock here).

Pedra Amarela is more in the opposite direction, the view extends forever, hills with scattered boulders, in the distance you can see the ocean, the beaches, the city of Cascais and Lisbon.  The rock has a beautiful clean look, a pale yellow color which changes intensely as the day progresses, often forming tall slabs and rounded aretes.  A beautiful place for watching the sunset and for watching the stars.

…and for climbing too!!

Rasta on a nice slab problem (so many nice slabs in Pedra Amarela), foto by Teresa:

Goncalo on Doo Bop, foto by Teresa:

Myself on Doo Bop, foto by Teresa:

Phillipe on a nice line, foto by Teresa:

Pena on Estrela Decadente, foto by Teresa:

With good effort I managed to send both Doo Bop (7b) and Estrela Decadente (7a+ which I consider as hard as Doo Bop 7b).  Best news was that my ankle was not 100% but it was good enough to not bother me throughout the day!  and I feelt the bouldering form/motivation coming back after such a great night session.  Climbing with a bunch of happy motivated friends is the best way to get my spirits up, and it is my experience that most of the climbers here in Portugal are more motivated for the problem than they are motivated for their ego so the sessions end up being fun and we all try hard.


Two days later I was back in Sintra for another night session, this time at the Mecca area where my main project lies: O Mito (The Myth).  The picture below was taken at the end of September, on the 21st, when I first tried this line.  This is an overhanging crimp problem with shouldery moves, the stand start goes at 7a+ and the sit has seen two ascents: one by Leo and one by Andre.  Macau has worked this line for several months and got painfully close to sending (and taking the FA) before Leo did it, they both said 8a (V11).  Then Andre Neres got the second ascent and lowered the grade to V10.  Andre has been the rising mutant in Portuguese climbing for a few years now.  He progressed very quickly but then dropped out for some time and returned with a girlfriend and a baby girl; his return to climbing has seen the same progress as before and he has been crushing the hardest routes in Portugal, up to 5.14b, fast.  He doesn’t show up much in the bouldering world but when he does he normally sends several projects in a day.  On the day he sent O Mito sit he also sent a 10-year project in Sintra (graded it 7b …….) and a project Nico Favresse and I had been trying for about 4 days (grading it 7b+).

Photo by Macau

I was feeling super light that night and I very quickly sent the stand start which got me very motivated to work the moves on the sit.  After some figuring out I settled on a sequence which differs from both methods used by Macau, Leo and Andre but which suits me better and I started giving it burns.  The moves are still beyond my ability but feel very reachable!  We then moved on and scoped out some other climbs but nothing good enough to make me stop thinking about O Mito…

So, yesterday night I returned.  This time on a solo session in Sintra.  I took my pads to O Mito and spent a good hour methodically working the moves and listening to music.  Made some good progress but the link-up did not occur yet.  But it will.  To end the night I went to another sector to try the hardest line there called Eduardo Maos de Strappal (Edward Strappal Hands) rated 7b+.  This is a really nice overhanging compression problem on slopers, completely the opposite of O Mito.  The holds felt huge after working on crimps for an hour and compression moves are my favorite so I sent it quickly.  I started working on the sit start too which goes at 7c (V9) but couldn’t figure out how to do one of the moves… and then it started drizzling.

Here are two links to nice videos of climbing in Sintra made by a spanish climber called Dani, Macau does the sit to Eduardo Maos de Strappal at the very end of the second movie, enjoy:


One comment

  1. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your climbing, Brogi. I am glad to hear that your ankle is healing and you are climbing well.

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