Italians Crack Project on Corsica Granite

Posted on: May 16, 2010


Rolando Larcher tackles Pitch 4 of De Rerum Natura, Punta u Corbu, Col de Bavella, Corsica. Larcher and Maurizio Oviglia freed the eight-pitch climb at 5.12d after spending two days placing bolts and cleaning cracks. [Photo] Maurizio Oviglia

Italian climbers Maurizio Oviglia and Rolando Larcher are no strangers to new routing in the Mediterranean. Together they've established climbs in Sardinia, Morocco, Turkey and the Dolomites; Oviglia, author of "Postcards from Sardinia" in Alpinist 26, alone has climbed roughly 1,000 new routes on that island. Yet on the rock of nearby Corsica, Oviglia had never made his mark as a first ascensionist, despite numerous visits to its excellent crags over the past 20 years. On April 16 at Col de Bavella—what has been called "the Yosemite of the Mediterranean"—Oviglia finally realized that dream.

Oviglia and Rolando Larcher spent April 14-15 cleaning and equipping a steep eight-pitch line on Bavella's prized cliff Punta u Corbu. The pumpy route follows an obvious series of overhanging granite cracks and tafoni, honeycomb-like cavities in the rock that are characteristic of Bavella. Oviglia and Larcher relied mostly on traditional protection, but installed 13 bolts to protect gaps between crack systems. They redpointed De Rerum Natura (7c [5.12d], 7a obl., 230m) all free on the third day, completing what Oviglia called "a fantastic crack climb in a spectacular environment."

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"It's incredible that a lot of climbers don't know about this granite paradise in the middle of Europe," he added.

Sources: Maurizio Ovilgia, planetmountain.com, pietradiluna.com

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