Part 2 of the development of the new climbing area in Arico is written by Tom one of our Belgian heroes who came all the way here to help us start developing the new area.
Via Facebook I came in contact with the Tenerife Climbing House who were looking for volunteers to help develop a new climbing area. I was interested immediately and I contacted the for me unknown island of Tenerife. Two weeks later I was already there…
It was the 27th of November around 5 pm. I stepped out of the airport and it was 25 degrees Celsius. It felt great! The sun was giving me the energy to start this new adventure. Hanneke was picking me up at the airport and she brought me to the Tenerife Climbing House. In the house I met climbers from all over the world.
You already read about the first step of developing a new climbing area in the previous blog about the new climbing area so I will not go into it too much… However, I want to share with you that it really felt like starting a new adventure.
It was amazing to explore a virtually untouched canyon. On both sides there were these basalt stone rocks rising up. We saw the rocks, but we couldn’t climb them yet, because they were blocked by forests of thorny blackberry bushes. I learned my first Spanish word there in the canyon: Zarza. The name of the bushes that would cut open my skin for the coming days…
First we established the line for the route that we wanted to make. To mark the start and end point of the route you need at least two people. One person down in the canyon and the other one up. The one who stayed down in the canyon can guide the other person to the end point of the future route. When that point is found, we searched for a solid rock or tree to install a static rope. Via this rope we descend and we look for a good point to install the anchor.
The static rope, we use to clean the route for the first time, meaning taking out loose stones that can be dangerous when climbing and taking away dirt and sand that have been building up in the cracks. After ± two hours, the first cleaning was done which means the route is now a bit saver to climb and to belay!
The first climb on the route can be done! The first climber topropes the route and marks the spots where the bolts will be placed with chalk. After a second cleaning, a second climber climbs the route and checks the placement of the chalk spots. We can start drilling now!
After two weeks of hard work, we opened 7 climbing routes in this amazing new canyon. For me, it was a unique experience in an amazing brand new canyon. I learned a lot and the feeling of first cleaning a route, then to test and bolt it and then finally to climb it for the very first time is amazing! After this climb, we named and rated the routes. One of the routes is of course called Planeta Zarza 😉
My two weeks at Tenerife passed by very fast. I know for sure that I will come back to Tenerife to check out the progress in the new Canyon, to climb new routes and to build some new ones in this magnificent place.
By Tom Gyselinck from Belgium.