13 November 2013

Climbing in Pula, Croatia

When I got back from Croatia I had big dreams about writing a blog for each day I was in Croatia. And you know what? I wrote 4 posts, so...that's like a 4 out of 7.... a passing grade, especially if you're grading on a curve!

N-E-way.... I'm back. And it's time for more Croatia. Because....CROATIA!

On Thursday of our trip, our 4th day climbing, we decided to get in some beach time while also getting in a little climbing. According to our crappy guide book, Pula had the best climbing the closest to the beach, so we headed there. More on the beach later, but for now, here are photos from climbing in Pula. All you need to know is we climbed at an old quarry. It was an....experience.

Walking into the quarry. A dilapidated building on our right. Climbing straight ahead.

In case someone should need to administer first aid

Walking into the quarry. Notice all of the right angles.

Much like all of the other climbing in Croatia, we had the place completely to ourselves. Which was eerie for this particular place, as you could imagine many people used to work there harvesting the marble from the walls. We wandered around before getting to the climbing and discovered some pretty unbelievable places.

According to the book this is a 5.14. Do you see the route? Right up that crack under the roof, which we referred to as "the countertop"

First, was a peek at the natural rock before it was "quarried" (is that a word?). You got a sense for just how much rock was taken. The overhang on this stuff was incredibly. Definitely well outside of our climbing abilities! 

The "overhang" - left.

Looking up under the overhang. I can't imagine one move on this wall, let alone stringing them all together!

Next up on our tour was this amazing old machinists room, where the giant pulley system to raise the blocks of rock were housed. I love these photos of the girls walking in to see it. The pictures do NOT do it justice, but their expression really give you a sense of this magistracy of the place. Walking into this room was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience. 

Sarah's first view
Linnea taking it in

What you see when you walk in


Happy face

Oil stain

Getting artistic

More artistry

Once we were done being total gapers (and trust me, I was gaping for a solid 20 minutes), it was time to climb. Sarah had her eye on this super fun-looking climb where holds were screwed into the wall, just like at a climbing gym. We all assessed it as an easy warm up, maybe a 5.8. Sarah geared up and started leading, only to find that at least 1/3 of the holds had broken off (turns out they had been glued, not screwed as originally thought), turning an easy 5.8 warm up into a 5.hard-miserable-disaster-zone. She still led it like a champ until the holds just ran out on her. Turned into a pretty sweet photo op at least!

Standing under the climb
Gearing up at left. Gives you a sense of scale.
Climbing. With Linnea giving a really solid spot.

Working the way up.

You got this girl!

After bailing on the 5.hard due to hold issues, Sarah and Linnea joined Ed and I on another wall, only to discover that the rappel anchors had been cut. I wish this was our first experience with missing bolts, but unfortunately, it was not. Then, Ed put up a 6a+ along an arete. Super chossy at the bottom, the holds were actually all old drill holes from the quarry. Perfect for me with my little fingers, but hard for Ed. Not that I'm EVER planning on going back, but should circumstances find me here, I'm going to lead this climb!

Ed on the sharp end

Me on the soft end

Finger pocket. Move feet. Repeat. 

The arete was our last climb before calling it a day. We had high hopes, as we were adjacent to another AWESOME wall with super cute holds on it, just like a climbing gym. And guess what - the anchors were still in tact! Too bad some a-hole had cut all of the bolts on the way up. Climbing 100' with NO protection? Nothankyouplease.

Climbing gym route

At least Grandpa Max got to have some fun!

Seriously, doesn't this look SWEET?

And with that, we were on our way to THE MEDITERRANEAN! That's right, swimming in saltwater baby! Of course, we had to take a few silly pictures to see us on our way. Ready? JUMP!

On the count of....1....

You can't tell, but we're laughing because Ed nearly fell on his face climbing up this easy slab.

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