A bit of Googling around Cascais unearthed a crag that isn’t covered in the selected climbs guide – Encosta dos Bebados; only 4km from the campsite. Worth checking out to see it had been overlooked by mistake – it hadn’t 😦 North facing, very steep and a bit polished (would suit bouldery types looking for a shady venue). Here’s a link to a topo in case you want to check it out for yourself: http://www.gmesintra.com/topos/html/bebados.htm
That left us with an afternoon to fill, so encouraged by our Portuguese friend Rafaela, we decided to give Casal Pianos another look. We’d written it off based on a wet weather visit to the crappie sector that happened to by dryish. Everyone deserves a second chance!
It certainly looks better in the sunshine; even the short-arse sector we climbed on last time had a certain charm,
and the seascape and situation are absolutely stupendous, with views all the way south to Cabo da Roca (and the end of the world!) impressive cacophony of crashing waves accompanied by the the occasional waft of sea spray, even 50ft above sea-level. The remaining (now sunny) sectors are natural basalt cliffs rather than quarried remnants and could be mistaken for gritstone at a distance.
With plenty of reasons for caution (little-travelled and somewhat friable rock, lingering moisture and saltiness, and trad protection) we started off on a V, Duro mas so de ouvido, on the Canto Sul. We actually ended up on a rightwards finish (I wasn’t impressed that the Easter Island shaped monolith that formed one side of the finishing crack was just perched on a plinth). No soft touch, with slightly scrattly rock compensated for by some good finger locks.
This proved to be an excellent choice, with a bit of everything – finger locks and hand jams, a few positive edges and a bit of back-and-footing to get established in the crack. Probably worth E2 5b (and felt a bit harder for someone so far out of the trad zone and climbing with only half a rack) It’ll certainly linger longer in the memory than 90% of the routes we’ve done on this trip, such is the way with trad.
We took the scenic coastal route home, stopping briefly to admire the pretty village of Azenhas do Mar…