Sombre de Leon 

After a much needed rest day, we’re back in action. It’s sunny but there’s a cold northerly blowing – perfect for a visit to this new  (to us) crag on the side of the Ponoch.

The Ponoch itself is a magnificent adventure ground. Classic 6 pitch outings like ‘Gorillas. …’ and ‘Silence…’

Our crag was tucked over a col at the foot of the Ponoch, and according to our German guidebook ‘is a furnace – don’t visit in anything but the coldest winter day.’ Perfect! 

…but it wasn’t. The only sector in the sun was a disappointing short crag with most of the bolts missing, and the only route with bolts had lost its lower off.

Heading into the shade it was freezing! There were half a dozen small sectors in all. A sprinkling of low 6s and a bunch of steep pockety routes on compact rock in the 6c to 7b range, situated on two parallel fins. We found a good but very sharp 5+ and then I had a go at one of the trickier routes: Utero, 7a. This gets quite a write up on the Web and turned out to be a great route, taking the steep upper / right wall in the picture below 

Steep flakey wall with pockets and cracks provide generally good handholds, but less for the feet. A knee-bar rest near the top helps get something back before the crux moves to finish. The crack disappears and a couple of good crimps on the face allow progress to the chain. By now I literally can’t feel my fingers, but just about hang on. 

Lowering off, the hot aches kick in – ouch. Time to head down. Worth another visit, but on a warmer day!

Gorgeous view though. ..

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