Climbing in Piatra Craiului – Locomotive, Cristal Rock and Zarnesti Gorge

Posted: November 8, 2010 in Piatra Craiului

This post is a collection  of memories/pictures/parties that happened in the first 2 weeks of November. I will leave the original text and add only pictures and comments if needed. I’ve noticed that this blog is read not only by me :). This Saturday I met a nice group of climbers who got lost trying yo find Locomotive route after reading my post. So I will add more details and pictures so you can find the route more easily.

I must say that the last 3 4 weeks were just great for any mountain related activity. This week-end was absolutely beautiful. It wasn’t too cold, but especially warm for November. I didn’t see any cloud in Piatra Craiului region the whole week-end. So taking advantage of this weather conditions we  headed Saturday morning to Curmatura for an anniversary celebration and also for some climbing :). We couldn’t waste these two day only with a short trek.

On our way to Curmatura…

We had company till Curmatura 🙂

Sunday, along with Ionel and Tudor, we’ve climbed on Locomotive Rock. For the ones who don’t know very well the area, locomotive is that 3 tower rock that can be seen from Curmatura slightly to the right, facing the main entrance. I don’t know exactly the height, by my guess is somewhere around 60-70 m. The climb it’s not difficult, my guess is that in the middle of the route there is a 4a-4b passage. There are 3 routes, neither of them being very well bolted. There is a regrouping in the middle of the route and only one piton till you reach there. The route is not difficult but you must be very careful not to slip. Also the rock it’s not very good, so pay extra attention when choosing the hand holds. Unfortunately I forgot to take my photo camera with me so the quality of the pictures it’s not very good. I will recover some better pictures from Ionel and than update the post. But till than I will add the ones took with my phone.

This is part of the route

After the regrouping the route is easy and very fast you will reach the top from where you will see a beautiful view of the Piatra Craiului main ridge, Curmatura and Bucegi.

Here are some pics with the route and the “heroes” 🙂 in action

This is the base of the route. To get there just go around Curmatura and follow the fence into the wood. After the you reach the upper corner of the fence go slightly left until you reach the base of Locomotive rock. It should look like this…

The view from the base of the route should look like this

Ionel in the first rope length…

Tudor in the first rope length…

The most difficult part of the route…

This is the regrouping with the first piton…

And the second one.

After some relaxation there we slowly rappelled down. The route down it’s better, the middle regrouping being with expansion bolts. Next time probably I will try the route we have chosen for rappel.  As a summary Locomotive Rock is great for the view from the top and its’ a nice climb if you reach Curmatura. Be careful when choosing the holds and take care of the loss rock.

Some pics…

This is the first rappel…

And the second one.

After a long night with “water” and “natural juice” … mainly from grapes :), we went to Cristal Rock for more challenging routes. Cristal Rock is the biggest cliff from Piatra Mica, and is very close to Curmatura. Just before reaching the mountain rescue refugee (300- 400 m) before, you head straight through the woods in the right. If you pay attention in your right side, you will see the cliff (it’s quite big – more than 100 m) through the tree tops. This is a great area. I really loved it. It’s mostly sunny and the rock is great. A little unfriendly with your fingers – feels like sand paper :), but great. This is where you will see 2 alpine routes – Fisura  de Cristal and Fisura the Rubin. (Fisura = Cleave). I don’t know how many rope lengths they have, but Fisura de Cristal looks very difficult.

We’ve tried two routes here … but succeeded only one :). This is the first one. We’ve reached the fourth expansion bolt but not being able to find good hand holds (for us 🙂 ) we gave up and Ionel rappelled down after we both didn’t have any luck. We didn’t take any risk. In case of a fall, it was some kind of step just above the second expansion bolt, so the risk was quite high to hit your legs. There are two routes there as you can see from the picture.

In that area there are also some difficult routes on big overhangs but they are with old pitons and I couldn’t see the regrouping. However there is a lot of potential there. You can even stay with a tent at the base of the cliff.

The route that we’ve completed was just to the left of Fisura Cristalului. I don’t know what grade it has, but in my opinion is 6b maybe 6b+.  Here is a pic after first round 🙂

The rock was great, although it was  somehow rugged. In the middle of the section it’s harder to find good holds but because it is vertical, if you find good foot holds you can take some time to search. Another pic with Ionel just before rappelling down.

Cristal Rock its a great place for climbing, very close to Curmatura. If you plan a trip here be careful that the area is not very often used for climbing and most of the routes are on old pitons. I counted 4 routes on expansion bolts, but regrouping it’s not very safe. My friend Ionel used a piece of rope to arrange a regrouping on-the-fly instead of using the old one on pitons. There are a few beautiful alpine routes but I don’t know their status. Fisura de Cristal was looking somehow good at the base, but I don’t know how it is in the upper section. The regroups that I saw are not “very safe” … or don’t look very safe. However this area really has a lot of potential and a lot of routes can be bolted here.

On our way home we stopped for some climbing in Prapastiile Zarnestiului. We chose MCM sector for some climbing. More details along with proper description you can find here.

Some climbers say its 6a+. Unfortunately I wasn’t in such a good shape. Luckily Ionel manage to mount the rope, Tudor manage to do the route after, but I was stuck in the middle. Saturday morning I was to Natural High climbing gym for participating to Romania Boulder Coup, and my fingers were not in a good shape, but that its not an excuse. Some days are good … and some of them not that good :). Some pics…

Ionel …

Me… just before the crux section where I struggle quite a lot.

In the crux section … you need to go slightly to the right to make your life easier. I didn’t do that 🙂

Finally after 2 attempts.

I really like MCM sector. I’ve climbed here Sosetutza (6a) and Flatone (6a+). There is still MCM which is 6c+. This is a project for next year. In this sector you will find short routes … around 13-15 m. The regrouping of MCM needs some more attention because some “climber” took home one of the two clippings.

This 2 week-ends were excellent. Parties, climbing, nature … everything I could really want. Probably those were the last week-ends with such warm weather for this year. But as snow will come I have other plans … 🙂

  1. Sebi says:

    Maaa ce tura adevarata !

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