SAFT WALL, WAITING FOR THE SUN

Posted on: December 1, 2003


Aide Jebb, with Rob Mirfin on belay duty, tackles the A3 pitch on Pitch 9 of the 1996 Croatian/Slovenian route Ujarak. The pitch was “headpointed” at E7 6b (5.12c R), and the team made the first free ascent of the route, which they renamed Waiting for the Sun (V E7 6c [5.13a], 830m). In all, the British expedition freed three lines on the 1000-meter Saft Wall, climbing from the ground up in good style. [Photo] Nick Boden

Ujarak (VI 5.11a A3, 830m, Cujic-Dular-Kajzelj-Kalan-Pausic, 1996) was the first route climbed on the Saft Wall. Nick Boden, Aide Jebb, Rob Mirfin and I had the Croatian/Slovenian team's topo, which described twenty-three pitches, twelve of which were aid, that followed a beautiful open corner in the lower half and a prominent crack system above.

On our initial day we climbed and fixed the easier lower pitches and freed the first A1 section at 5.11a. Pitch 8 (A2 on the topo) followed a fingertip crack that eventually became hairline thin. Tricky face moves into a corner avoided the aid crux; this pitch went onsight at 5.11d. Above was an A3 pitch. After onsight attempts by two of our team and a twenty-foot fall onto a number two RP, we decided to aid the pitch. After working the sustained technical groove on a toprope in freezing conditions, the A3 pitch was "headpointed" at E7 6b (5.12c R). The A1 bolt ladder above followed an arch that succumbed to contorted stemming moves and fingertip power laybacking at sport 5.13a. We freed and fixed two more pitches, a 5.12a face (redpointed) and a 5.11a (onsight), which brought us to the top of Pitch 12 with 450 meters of fixed rope (the 1996 team had fixed to this point as well).

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From the end of the fixed lines, we climbed the remaining eleven pitches over one and a half days (with a sitting bivy), freeing all the aid pitches onsight. Although sustained, with some loose rock, the second half of the route was mostly 5.10, with the last aid pitch freed in wet conditions at 5.11b. We renamed the route Waiting for the Sun (V E7 6c [5.13a], 830m) after one of the pitches on the Croatian/Slovenian topo.

— Tom Briggs, Sheffield, United Kingdom



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