Happy 2014 everyone! I hope this year is as filled with great climbing as 2013 was. Actually, I want more!
|The roof is the topmost tip of the rock.|
When I first started rock climbing a little over a year ago, I set my eyes on quite a few routes that are abasolutely amazing but obviously out of reach of a beginner, let alone someone who’s a late comer to the sport.
“Teto do Baú” (Baú’s Roof) was one of them. A classic aid line in the Mantiqueira range, this route seemed like territory for super experienced climbers, not only technically, but also on exposed routes, given that it is super aerial in 90% of its two pitches.
Given that sport climbing makes up for most of the rock climbing activity in Brazil, I thought I would never get to climb it, since it was hard enough finding partners for less commiting routes of lesser grades, or even a mentor to get me through learning everything I would need to know to get myself climbing similar routes until I could give Teto a try. It was one of those things that was just too out of reach.
The tip of Pedra do Baú, know as the “Roof” is obviously a result of erosion. Its lower part probably dropped as time went by, leaving this huge overhanging tip that is ssen from most angles.
Teto do Baú is an A1 5c french/5.9 YDS line that starts at a small plateau, following the south side tip of Pedra do Baú. After about 40 “Ps” (home made bolts very commom in Brazil shaped as a P, I’ll refer to them here as bolts to make reading easier), you reach the first anchor station. From there to the top lies the A1 grade, for you need to climb a bit in order to reach two other bolts quite apart from each other and follow on with aiding. After this second bolt, the route turns positive and it’s a 3rd class climb to the summit.
Because the bolts are from the 70s and the route is very exposed, authors of the guidebook have decided to ommit it from the guidebook. In other words, there’s no topo. I don’t know if ethics wise I should put it here or not, although the route is quite obvious once you get to the base.
Pedra do Baú is filled with trad routes, bolted, mixed and clean, of a large range of grades, so there are several options to get to the base of the Teto route itself. You can join routes on each other on either face, it all depends on your experience, weather conditions and time. Because we’re at the height of summer season and it’s been extremely hot aside from forecast that predicted storms at any time, we decided to french climb the shortest and easiest possible route to the plateau, which is called “Cresta”. We did so in 30 minutes over about 55 meters of route.
|One of the first bolts of the route.|
|About to head to exposure!|
|Dangling in the air, literally!|
|Nearing a passage under a small roof, and then on to the anchor station.|
There were some ugly looking clouds above us as well as a pretty strong wind and I started the route figuring I’d have to retreated. But by the time I was about a third of the first pitch done, the clouds sort of disappeared and the wind turned to a breeze.
From there I entered an airy part with pretty much no contact with the rock, then went bellow a small roof, and finally started climbing up again to the anchor station, where I set up belay for the second, and sat for about 40-50 minutes dangling my feet in the air and admiring that exclusive point point of view while he climbed.
|The classic shot from the dropping tip.|
|About to reach the anchor.|
|Baú’s east face as seen from a viewpoint after the climb.|
In order to expedite the climb and because the sun was a bit hard on our skin, my partner came into the anchor station, switched to his climbing shoes and lead the second pitch to the summit. We then descend to the base of the route by trail, and from there did two rappels to trail that led back to the parking lot. All of that took us less than 4 hours.
Overall I thought the route to be technically easy on both aid and free climb sections. What makes it daunting is its exposure, so for people who are not used to leading aerial routes, this one is a no-no. I did think I’d shit my pants in this lead but somehow I didn’t. In fact, I felt great and serene at all times. It was a transcendental experience for sure.