The Second of our Expedition reports came direct from my pen. The drive was long, so very very long, and after 4 days we were all eager to know what we had come so far for... our first taste. After finishing our rather long drive, and getting our first glimpse of rock, we pulled into an amazingly shady spot on the back side of a giant brown rocky castle. Piero obviously knew of this spot from previous journeys as he came directly here, no detours or backtracks, simply straight to the point.
James Pearson: The Expedition Reports - 2
Having a guide in this place is essential and Piero’s endless knowledge is worth its weight in gold. This place is like a maze- a giant, spread out, incredibly open maze, that looks the same in every location, has perilous traps waiting to catch the unweary, and is hotter than hell for all hours of daylight. After eating a feast of tomato plus tuna our eagerness got the better and we ran from camp like giggling school kids to make a group free solo of our new local cliff.
The next few events past something like this: Shoes on, chalk up, break a hold, crumble a foot, look scary, climb down, begin to cry! OK, so the crying part may be an exaggeration, but the rock was really shi**y, genuine choss. We salvaged the day by scrambling up loose gullies to bag the summit which was a f***** stunning place. By the looks the the cairn on top had been enjoyed by brave people unknown, at some point in the past. This place is stunning, perfect vistas for 360 degrees and the most beautiful sunsets/rises one could ever with to see.
At the end of the day Piero drove us to the first area he thought had potential, which did not disappoint. After walking for less than 5 minutes I saw the best line of the trip so far: a line that was instantly obvious was become my focus for the near future. The rock on the upper half looked like it could be fairly solid, but to get here requires climbing over two steep roofs made from rock resembling wheat-a-bix! With 3.5 days drive to the nearest city the consequence of any injury out here doesn’t seem too fun, and so before Europe, I told myself that self preservation would be the order of the game. Unfortunately, part of being a trad climber is convincing yourself that the rewards justify the risks, and by the time we return to camp the wheels had already been set in motion. Some days things just work, and sometimes they don’t, but fortunately today was one of the former.
Written beta about the route is neither necessary or needed as the video and stills will speak thousand of words. What I will say is that the quality of the climbing was wholly unexpected, and combined with the location and the formation, made for a phenomenal first taste. First route of the trip. First ascent of the tower. First rock climb in the ennedi!
So, so, psyched :)
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