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Author: Alexander Shelhakov
Photo: Alexander Kuzmitcky

Experience on Kastropol wall

Wathing the route from the road
No one of us has ever been on Kastropol wall before. All fe heard about it can be said in few words: much destroyed, overhanging wall with rarely visited old routes. There are topos from Internet, but we didn't know if they were right.

Kastropol wall - Morcheka triangle
First 3 pitches of Fantik's route are rather inclined, only sometimes vertical sections appear, but even there climbing is difficult. Destroyed limestone not only makes klimbing more difficult, but also compicates the belay.

First belay is 30 m from the ground, on the ledge. There is an old bolt from Fantik with diameter 10 mm, which is quite strong.

Кastropol wall (Fantic's route is seen)
Second belay is also equipped with a bolt. But further there is no more such luxurity. On the secon pitch a big stone about 40- 50 kg fell from my foot. I held by my hands, and the stone flew over the rope and over Grisha. After this accident I became twice attentive and continued climbing, similar to miner's work. The tird belay was under the red overhangs, and was hardly seen (1 bolt).

While Grisha was coming, I thought about the further route. Just up through red overhangs there was a vertical overhanging red corner. A bolt was in it. What can it mean? That somebody climbed, understood, that it isn't right, and descended. I also guessed so, because higher something fantastic began: stones with narrow slabs and feathers — it was an overhang. Then a gully filled with clay was seen.

To the right, bypassing it, was a crack with a number of small cornices. After 20 m this way was lost. I moved there, holding the crack using friends. When it finished, and furter way wasn't seen, I placed a bolt under the cornice, climbed on the slabs and moved 10 m to the right and upwards, and entered the inclined ledges, made of small stones. Here I understood that there is no further way, there is no bypass and it is difficult to return to the route. I returned and climbed on the cornices. I thought the route is difficult. It turned out to be «fanatical». You place a bolt and stones fall in 1- 2 meters from you.

Кastropol wall — view from the road
As a surprise after dangerous AID there is some gully climbing with moving stones. Grisha cleaned it as he could, but I had had fun there. Belay was made on the first appropriate place — a ledge, good cracks for nuts and hexes. Rope lenght was about 20 m , but with lots of gear, and further it was somwthing uncertain.

On the next pitch it was not so many moving stones, it was simply a crack with AID, then a bit of free climbing a one more present from Fantik. A nail, overhanging crack, little wider than a fist, on its both sides there was a slab without hangs. In the beginning 2 bolts 8 mm diameter are placed near each other. First I thought it was a belay. But then I remembered: it was His style. And I was right - there was climbing further, so I belayed and climbed. I put off everything except chalk bag and a quickdraw (one more bolt was seen above).

I climbed through the crack, cursing cuch adventures, and then returned for the gear. Then it was turn to the right, and a belay on the ledge on 2 bolts.

When I tried to place my own bolt, I felt bad: a huge slab, combined from smaller blocks, began to crack, and my bolt widened the crack to 60- 70 cm.

I understood that the belay is not safe and decided to climb upwards a little to add several points on the beginning of next pitch. But the crack was far from the belay, and I made a sort of web from the rope. Grisha was told not to fall. He wasn't surprised, but, coming to the belay, in about 7 m from me, picked from the rock a jiant stone 70- 80 kg and few with it. The belay was all right, and I wondered if the nervious system can restore.

On the next pitch which, I guess, was the last one, it was as much moving stones, as on the whole previous overhang. For orientation several bolts are placed.

I climbed to the ledge which turned to a 30- 40 cm crack. It was blowing cold there, and I climbed to the left through the unit which occured a sharp tooth in its upper part. Then it is a ledge with 2 cracks starting from it. To the right it goes a wide destroyed crack, and to the left it is solid, but AID one. I chose free climbing, and it was a real mistake. To reach the plateau I had to pass only 15 m , but they could become the most difficult on the whole route. I climbed about 10 m , and then stopped. The crack was like a cake, filled with slabs, stones, feathers. In its upper section it overhang, and I fixed myself with the last hex and began to think.

Suddenly I heard a voice just over me:

Кastropol wall- FA of
«Pressure» (6а, 7а+, А3)
Just a moment, I give a rope.
Rope appears. I clip quickly and ascend last 8- 10 meters .

On my opinion, the route is too dangerous to be recommended to anybody.

R0-R1 ~ 50 m , 5 а
R1-R2 ~ 50 m , 5b-5 с +
R2-R3 ~ 40 m , 5b-5 с +
R3-R4 ~ 20 m , 6b, А 2+
R4-R5 ~ 35 m , 6b, А 1- А 2
R5-R6 ~ 40 m , 6b, А 2 (left variation)

Totally 235- 240 m . Overhangs up to 130 % starting from R3

working time 8-10 hours

Team: Dmitry Popov, Alexander Kuzmitcky made a new route by a logical red corner which was called «Pressure»(6А, 7а, А3) length 300 m with overhangs up to 125-130%.

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