Background News

L’eix del mal (8b 340m) - Paret dels Sostres

Author: Ekaitz Maiz

"One of the most impressive lines I have opened and linked. A succession of ceilings, crossings, length, difficulty and commitment." 

I’ve been eyeing up this wall whilst passing it on the highway. It was after Miquel Blanco's opening of Lluita when I first went climbing.

I liked this line a lot and the wall even more. A few months later, Faust Punsola and I, went to repeat Mare tenebrosum to see the possibilities this wall had to offer from a different perspective. We spotted a few possible lines, but one stood out from the rest. The line we envisioned was imbedded into our minds and there was no turning back.

We started opening the first pitch, and we were surprised with the good quality of the rock, it was better than it seemed. We opened the ceiling of the second pitch and we were mesmerized: This is great a 3rd pitch! “ left us right under the first big ceiling.

The challenges begun! The quality of the rock diminished, but the patio we have under our feet, makes us take it easy. We completed the ceiling through a diagonal crack with ridge exit. The rock was quite dirty, but once cleaned it will be amazing!

We were under a slate which appeared to be almost no ridges. Despite thistle line is quite evident and the rocks quality gets better. The 5th pitch is no disappointment, small ridge area which we protected with sheets and 2 clear rests. Then we got to the cover of of the large widened ceiling and exhausted we left the large ceiling for the next day.

We thought all week about the large ceiling. The next day, we left the parking before sunrise. We hope to finish the line that day.

We arrived at the large ceiling after traversing a horizontal dihedral, we arrived at a dihedral shared with Mare Tenebrosum. But when it continues the line about half way through the ceiling, we free climbed the large horizontal dihedral.

This pitch is spectacular! We were delighted to have “finished” the hard parts. But we still had to finish. A crack followed by a slate of excellent quality which we “had to climb”  leaves us at a veer. The first comfortable junction!

15-Durante-la-apertura-en-la-6.-reunion-web

We continued through an overhang filled with large holes, night was falling upon us and we were exhausted. However, the smell of the summit gave us strength. We then passed from a physical section to a technical one. Which became easier as we advanced. It was night, the quality of the rock was good and we finished the last pitch, knackered but happy! We just opened L’eix del Mal! 

The route wiring:

The line was open, but we still had to put the icing on the cake. Faus started the winter season at his job as a guide, and returned with Asier Luke to attempt to wire the route.
It was December and to be able to take advantage of the hours of light, we left the parking before sunrise. We climbed the first pitches but we winged it and weren’t able to progress as fast as we had hoped. Even like this, as we reached the first ceiling, I completed it with relative ease and I still had energy. I started to climb the 5th pitch. The slate at the beginning was no challenge, arches over edges took us to a rest after which we have another overhang with better, but more spaced edges. I was at the last rest and I attempted to visualize the required moves. At this last overhang, over a small ceiling, the edges got smaller. I gave it all I had, but all of the sudden I found myself hanging from my rope.
After half an hour’s rest, I tried it again. It got more humid and I’m not even on the second edge. I could feel the tendons in my arms contracting. I knew then I had to come back! There were 4 pitches left and we had to sort ourselves out. I climbed the ceiling “French free” observing the moves for the next day. We arrived at night and we were in no rush. So we took it easy climbing to the summit.

After a few weeks of intense sports climbing, I came back with Asier, confidence was high. I finished the first pitches with ease until I got to the 5th one. Even though I arrived strong and confident, I grabbed an edge out of place and I fell again on the key move! At this point, my doubts were getting to me…
After some rest, I attempted it again, the sensations were similar to how I felt before but this time I manage to get all the edges just right and I climbed with rage, I came out at the junction. What an achievement!!! But I still had the big ceiling. I started to climb, and I felt better as I went up and as I confronted the key sections with confidence and wired the pitch. Yuhooooo!!! We climbed sector after sector till we got to the summit. Super happy! L’Eix del mal did not disappoint, I gave it my all!!!

Ekaitz Maiz
x