Travelling Monks - Arco

By Beth Monks

The rock climbing in Arco is similar in that you can; boulder, attempt short sport routes of every angle and style, “Trad” climb on long routes or do multi-pitch sport climbs. Just up the road are the classic alpine routes of the Dolomites and in the centre of Arco is the world famous Rockmasters outdoor wall which provided excellent training for Beijing. The climbs face in all directions giving choice about what time of day to climb. Our favourite flavour of climbs were the long multipitch sport routes. We just don’t have anything like it in Britain. Pitch after pitch of quality climbing in fantastic positions.

Passo Falsi 250M 7a was recommended to us by Hans-Martin the owner of the guesthouse but also a well known alpinist and climber. Every pitch was quality with a spectacular finale crossing through the huge roof at the very top of the cliff. Although the climbing was nowhere desperate, the consequences of a fall would have left one in a lot of space.

Hans-Martin seemed impressed by our ascent and suggested “Zanzarra” was the natural sequel. What we failed to notice was the slight twinkle in his eye. This was an entirely different kettle of fish. 300m 7a+. Hans-Martin had assured us that only one pitch was 7a+.

When climbing it was difficult to tell which pitch was 7a+. The 6B+ at the bottom felt 7a+. The top 6a pitch felt 7a+. There was an outrageous 6c pitch in the middle which traversed across a vertical face finding its way between hidden pockets which was an onsighter’s nightmare. Not only that, but the bolts were up to 7m apart. Safe but a bit worrying. We had taken some wires just in case and they were needed. We did manage all the climbing, (with a few rests).

We didn’t ask Hans-Martin what came next in the exam. We went back to the ice cream and tried another flavour at Massone shorter 35m sport routes.

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