BD athlete Albert Leichtfried and crew develop numerous sport routes in Sicily
Black Diamond athlete Albert Leichtfried recently returned from a highly successful trip to the island of Sicily where he and group of fellow Austrians bolted numerous routes including a stunning multi-pitch line. Below is the report Albert emailed us along with a selection of drool-worthy images from pro-photog Klaus Kranebitter.
Tyrolean gang in Sicily
While surfing trough the internet last chilly winter I got stuck on some eye-catching pictures of amazing and sunny rocks in Sicily. Some weeks later my motivation to have an even closer look on those rocks grew with the appearance of the new guidebook “Di roccia di sole”. Already some days after our last winter activities Vroni, Mira and I checked in at the ferry boat from Livorno to Palermo. We spent two relaxed weeks in pleasant temperatures, gorgeous springlike landscape and perfect rock. After the first visit there was one thing I was sure of: the amazing rock potential at the northwestern part of the island is worth coming back for.
It was not very hard to convince some friends for another southbound trip—our stories about spanking walls covered with numberless tufas brought not less than ten Tyrolean climbers to the walls around San Vito lo Capo this October. Equipped with a couple hundred bolts we searched for suitable rocks on our first days. I had the objective to establish a whole sport climbing sector, as well as a multi-pitch route. The goals were set very quickly—at the incredibly structured and up-to-100-meters-high wall in Custonaci and at the north face of Monte Monaco.
Located directly next to the famous Grotta Mangiapane and a mere 500m from the seaside, the almost surreal Never Sleeping Wall cannot be overlooked. You need a fair while to realize the beauty of the great limestone wall with its incredible tufas and streaked, grey and orange rock. At sunset the entire crag glows bright red and the atmosphere couldn't be more impressive when you climb one of the 50m routes at last light. We spent many hours at this magic place. Several new lines were developed, all stunning and unique from 6b+ to 8a/a+, including the 30-meter long tufa of Tears of Freedom, which from my point of view should be ranked to be the most beautiful 7a+ in the world.
After all this action it was time for a rest day. But my motivation was unstoppable and instead of resting I wanted to start a new route on the North face of Monte Monaco. Two pitches were done rapidly, but of course I didn’t get enough rest on the rest day. Already at our arrival I was fascinated by a roof full of stalactites at about 120 meters off the ground. With my binoculars I spotted a logical line, heading to the roof. Climbing ground-up was very exciting, not least because hardly any structure was visible above the roof from the ground. When I had a look around the lip of the roof I was lucky to find a hold, exactly in the right distance from the lip. Relieved and happy that the line was climbable I bolted a belay on the ledge. In the darkness, only in the glint of the headlamp we reached our base at the campsite. A couple of days later I was glad to be able to climb my most beautiful multi-pitch ever. La lingua pura (7c, 6c obl., 200m) is of perfect rock quality, with parts on amazing tufa formations and compact corners.
As usual, when the atmosphere is brilliant, time is running fast. Having a gorgeous barbecue directly at the Grotta Mangiapane, organised through our dear Sicilian friends, an amazing climbing trip found its adequate end.
— Albert Leichtfried