Picos de Europa Day 2 Garrido Zapata route

Today we got back to Pena del Fresnidiello (1477m) with little expectations of climbing (due to poor forecast). Either way we set our minds on the other side of the wall (left) where the route Garrido Zapata goes (315m to the south summit).


BTW I should mention that the most recent English language guide book for the area is 28 years old, with only one edition printed in 1989….

Peter harnessing the power at the bottom of the crag.

Anyway the route is a reverse of what we did yesterday – easy enough start, with harder top pitches.
When we arrived, it was obvious that the sun won’t be out much, but after all it kind of worked for us. It was way too hot yesterday, so a bit of a shade was welcomed.

I started P1, which was a massive water carved slab that ran for 50m, with 1 bolt and almost no other pro (I might have put one or two nuts).

Me getting on with P1

Next pitches were very similar,  until Peter’s nasty traverse pitch, that gave a bit of variety. Rather blank and sparsely protected.

The scale is very difficult to convey through the photos 

At this point it started to rain, just as I was gearing up for first of series of more difficult pitches. Without much thinking I just went for it. I was a solid HVS bridging against weird ear shaped flakes (marked Diedro on the first picture above). It was OK protected, with odd piton and some nuts I placed, but definitely hardest so far.  

Peter on one of the middle sections

Peter’s next pitch was rather blank and now quite wet crux pitch. The weather was in ‘misty mode’ for quite a while now giving the wall  black color. Black limestone equals wet limestone.  Definitely not fun anymore.

Looking up at increasingly wet wall. Gotta continue!

Pete got to the anchors in ‘any means necessary style’. I followed.

Half way up I actually went flying (just some 5meters) when a dodgy hold exploded in my hand… My partner arrested the fall, I shook it off and continued it rain.


At this point we were 30 meters below the summit, but had no safe way to ascent any further. The rain was in full Irish mode, so we decided it’d be best to bail.


On a separate note, the pair of Spanish climbers, who were climbing alongside, retreated on the very first signs of bad weather, some 1.5h before us. Perhaps they were allergic to rain.

Either way, we were going down. Relatively quick abseils (I mean it still took around 45 to 60 mins) took us to the ground.  Quick drive back to Arenas, and we were sitting in a bar drinking beer and eating cheese again.  Tomorrow it’s round 3 at the same wall, and it’s meant to be wet again…

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