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The Castle of Jerzu
 

Eleven years have gone by since we opened the car door during an afternoon of January, to get off and see Jerzu cliffs in the centre eastern Sardinia. Two days after the first route of sports climbing was born: it was on the Jerzu walls, and was called "Colour dream". At the beginning we were seized with a frenzy and we equipped almost 60 routes in less than three years: it was the minimum quantity that could assure a certain amount of visits at Jerzu. We have come back and tried these routes during a lot of summer-week-ends (but that also happened during winter, when the climate is harsher, as the walls are at an altitude of 800 meters); we have grazed our fingers on these sharp little holes, with the purpose of giving a degree to the projects, but especially of climbing in a place we liked, even if it wasn't consistent with the fashion of overhanging rocks, which has been in the limelight in the last years. Yes, the routes are all vertical here at Jerzu; the overhanging ones can be counted on one's fingers. They are vertical, but with what kind of continuity! Sometimes there isn't a big grip to allow a rest, especially a psychical one! But if that was a real peculiarity for us, for some others that became an excessively "technical" climbing, of difficult interpretation and little possibilities to climb it on sight: that contributed to create an halo of myth around the walls of Jerzu, an halo of myth but especially of fear. Therefore several climbers avoided climbing those wonderful cliffs in favour of Isili, a famous centre of (exclusively) overhangs. But to explode this myth it is necessary to say that the routes of Jerzu are less technical than certain slabs of Finale, Of Lecco and of Arco! But the bigs have always keep their distance from there in the last decades, even if there were lots of difficult routes and of projects to free ….It is only right that I mention the few who decided to engage in this kind of climbing and obtained great satisfactions. I would like to remember the Piedmontese Massimiliano Giri, who has already repeated "Noi" ("Us", 8b+) at Andonno and conquered the first repetition in three rounds of Manifesto (8a) that was the hardest route of Jerzu. And then naturally there was Marzio Nardi's visit, who was even able to climb "Trasparenza" (Transparency, 7c+), an incredible on sight if we consider there weren't traces of magnesite. And finally we must remember Manolo, who has repeated almost the 70 per cent of the routes of Jerzu in the last year (150 pitches!) and has literally been subdued by this place. The first repetition of "After Eight" (7c+/8a) and especially of the first free climbing of "Penthotal" (8a) took place thanks to him. Manolo confirmed my evaluation of all the degrees I had suggested (I am the first and often the sole climber of the 95 per cent of the routes at Jerzu), except "Ci vuole un fisico bestiale" ("One needs a bestial body") of which he suggested 7b+ instead of 7c. But Manolo laughs and say: "….but they are only slabs, I am getting on well…, my opinion is unimportant!". A regional project was financed in 1996: it was about the environment recovery of the area where there are the walls. Thanks to Giuseppe Garippa's interest that works at Jerzu, the climbing has been included in the project too. I have equipped 150 new routes, alone, in the sun, with the wind, the rain and even the snow from that moment on; these routes are distributed on the three principal routes. I have added several routes of the sixth degree and some of fourth and fifth degrees, to remedy the excessive selectivity that lots of visitors complained of. All the routes have been shielded with resined squared stones fixed in the ground and no hold has been digged. On Penthonal a stone has been reattached instead of a flake which was unfortunately shattered.

 

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Il Mago della Pioggia (7b+)