Leonidio – Cave of Panagia and a (not) multi-pitch adventure

After our last trip to play on the fabulous tufas above the lower tier at Cave of Panagia I’d been pestering Jake to explore further with one of the multi-pitch adventures to be had there.

He kindly relented on his last day and we set off up Bernhault – Sinistrelle which takes the black left-trending line of tufas towards the right of the picture below in about 100m of 5c, 7a, 7a+.

The 5c was no kind of warm up for the 7a which followed, which felt more like 7a+/b with a couple of tough tufa bulges and then a thin crimpy pull. This is followed by another 10 metres of somewhat scary unprotected climbing on loose, damp and little-travelled (though easy) ground to the belay for the top pitch. All those adjectives looked to apply to the next 40m (except “easy” – it was clearly anything but…) and we applied some sound mountaineering judgement and reverted to a day of single pitching (there are plenty of loose adventures at home on Red Wall but not many 40m bolted tufas!)

Jake did the excellent Edlinger that I’d enjoyed a couple of weeks ago, and we both did Gullich, 7a. Here are a couple of shots showing the fine art of the sneaky rest, which really takes the sting out of the 15 degrees overhanging rock. First the “sit down on a huge lump” rest…

… and then the “lean backwards against a tree sized tufa” rest

As a final treat we finished off with Geneva Cayenne at Theos, which he agreed was a fitting end to a great (and highly productive) trip.

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