In this Covid-no expedition year, we were eager to have some days not thinking about anything else than… to climb.
It is restriction time here in Portugal, so we decided to stay within borders, and go for the highest walls nearby. About two and a half hours from home, there is a place we call “The Promise Land”. It is a land of shist and quartzite, where the vultures, eagles, and the subtle tiny swallows fly free from all the problems resting on solid ground. It is a place with a large wall, with a couple of old routes, but mostly a lot to explore.
We headed north on the 29th October ready for 5 to 6 days out. Heading for “The Promise Land”, for the total isolation, for a long cliff around 120m high, quiet, empty.
A few days before, on a single day we spent on those walls, we spotted an irresistible stone “Sentinel”, 120m of dihedrals, perfect cracks and an outstanding roof. This would be the first route to attempt on this journey.
After an enjoyable crack on the first pitch, on the first belay we spotted “CMG” written on the wall. “CMG”, “Clube the Montanhismo da Guarda” (Mountaineering Club of Guarda)! These engravings told us that about 40 years before, that obvious route had been climbed, we were not the first ascensionists! Although feeling like a child without its lollipop, the route was so aesthetic, so perfect, that we decided to move on until the top. There was one particular roof, always attracting us up. It was easy to understand why that particular line, is one of the few routes around.
First day was done. The prize was a smile on our faces.
Next day we headed down to the base of the long cliff, and decided for a super vertical, super obvious crack on another wall. From the bottom to the top, we enjoyed 120m of pure happiness. From the bottom to the top we found no gear, no writing on any wall…looks like today we opened a route!
Third day, as we “studied our lesson” well, we still had a few lines to climb on that big world to explore.
We headed for the “Sentinel” again and started on a less obvious climb. After the first pitch, we just let the rock guided us, and the wall showed us the way to the top, always through cracks and dihedrals.
We still had one day left, as after 2 days the weather reports were predicting some rain.
On the 4th day we headed back to the wall of the second day, for another perfectly drawn crack on the wall. We left this one for the second climb on the wall, as it looked harder. Now, already “acclimatized” to this type of rock, we were ready. Needless to say, pure happiness!
In the end of that afternoon, we checked the weather and…surprise! No rain for the next day, after all! Meaning…another route to go!
…and that route was not a farewell to this amazing little explored place, it was a “See you soon!”.
5 days, 5 routes (4 of which new ones!). 5 days of only climb, eat and sleep.
5 days to feel happy with so little. 5 days that we will repeat as soon as we can!!!