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The Goloritz Saga
The impressive blue, piercing spire of the Aguglia di Goloritzè has become the symbol of climbing on the island on the Island of Sardinia On its own this stunning 128 meter would be something very special but its location, perched above an incomparable beach and surrounded by huge cliffs, makes this one of the most sought after peaks in Europe.
Several years ago I was lucky enough to do a sensational climb called‘Sole Incantatrare’ a 6/7 pitch 3*** 6c.
Too this date I still think it is one of the best bolted euro routes I have ever done in probably the most spectacular areas I have ever climbed in.
So when we planned to visit the island again it was only natural that another route on the Goloritz pinnacle would be on the agenda.
This year I had teamed up with Alan Walmsley. After a couple of days warm up we decided to go for the main event, the route we had chosen was called ‘Sinfonia del Mulini a Vento’ an 8 pitch 3*** 6a,6a,5b,6a+,6b,5a,6b+6a. The big difference was that on this route the bolts had been chopped so it has to be done on traditional gear accordingly the guidebook gave it an overall grade of E2 5c.
Any route on this tower is a big day out and very popular so to ensure we were there first we got up at 5 o’clock only to find it was raining heavily, we made a decision to go have a look, it was still raining at the start of the walk in so we reluctantly turned back.
The early start was repeated the next morning this time it was dry so we found ourselves starting the first pitch around at 8 o’clock. The intro pitch was given 6a, very polished very tricky we used nuts to back up some old pegs. The 2nd pitch was similar Alan led this, the tell tale slings on pegs made it obvious that many people aid this pitch. The 3rd pitch was easier and deposited us at the bottom of an ‘off width chimney’ that is one of the crux’s of the climb. Graded 6a+ it had very little gear on it apart from a couple of ancient pegs after the main difficulties, a very bold pitch.
On the belay at the top of the chimney the heavens opened leaving me with a soaking wet 6b pitch to lead, this was duly aided, on pegs and nuts it took us onto a traverse line back to the centre of the main face.
Once on the main face we could see the extent of the massive storm and heavy rain just to the north, luckily we were just on the southern edge of it hopefully the wind would keep the main storm away from us.
I was now faced with climbing the hardest 6b+ pitch on wet rock, luckily it was a crack that took nuts to back up the in situ pegs, during this pitch the weather had deteriated it was now thundering frequently. The pointy bit on top of the Goloritz pinnacle is not the place to be in an electric storm, I brought Alan up by this time the conditions were looking very menacing. Should we turn back, we were so close to the summit with only a 6a pitch to do so I set off at a rate of knots. Half way up the pitch Alan shouted up that the storm had changed direction and was now coming towards us, large raindrops were falling on us again but 200 meters away we could see the rain was torrential. All of a sudden ‘whoosh’ a bolt of lightning hit the top of the spire 30 meters from me, I could not reverse so I had go upward to the lower off very close to where the lightning struck it thankfully it was easy climbing.
I got to the belay and gratefully lowered off, I was a bit shaken so Alan took the lead getting us off the tower, by now we were soaking wet but thankfully 2 more massive 60 meter raps got us safely to the ground.