Heiligkreuzkofel - La perla preziosa - 07.09.2016
After having passed the season in Chamonix and having worked and climbed some good routes in good company I had to return back home - even if just for a few days. I was lucky and it wasn't hard to find some friend to climb a good route with.
Uli seemed quite motivated to climb a route I had dreamed of for the last few years.
La Perla Preziosa is a modern route opened by Nicola Tondini in 2006-2008. It is not that long but the climbing is quite sustained and the crux pitch is given IX+. This is mainly the reason why I did never try this route. I thought I'd probably manage to get to the top of the crux pitch somehow but I would not be able to free-climb it if I was not in a super good shape.
Certainly I did not feel super strong or perhaps I should say that after two months in Chamonix I really didn't know how I would perform on "home rock". But in the end this was a route that motivated me and what I was sure about was that Uli was in a veeery good shape and that he would certainly manage to climb the route.
So at 8.30 we took the chairlift to the hut and from there we slowly started to walk towards the base of the route. In order not to have to climb with a backpack, Uli suggested to pull up a haul bag.
I started climbing up the first pitch, quite easy, one section around V, but on loose rock. The second pitch still isn't very hard and offers nice climbing on good rock. The third pitch is already a bit harder and is graded VIII-, nice rock, well protectable. The fourth pitch is probably the best pitch of the route, VIII (the first half of the pitch is the harder part). This pitch leeds to a good ledge. The fifth pitch has some harder sections followed by good rests and an exposed traverse at the end of the pitch to get to the anchor. Thanks Uli for the patience on that pitch!
The sixth pitch is the crux pitch: first you traverse to the right, then you climb up a small dihedral and get to two bolts. From the second bolt you climb to the right and then straight up before traversing again on easier ground to the right to get to the anchor. The seventh pitch is given VIII and offers some nice climbing on vertical slabs. We missed the last pitch because at the end of the seventh one I traversed to much to the right and so we did the last pitch of the Direkte große Mauer.
The route is very beautiful and certainly is recommendable. The most delicate sections are probably the end of the VIII+ pitch (traverse) and on the crux pitch climbing from the second bolt to the anchor.
According to the grading I think that the grades are generally quite soft. Especially the crux pitch is in our opinion WAY easier than it is graded. We suggest VIII+/IX- or SOFT XI- for that pitch = 7b/+ instead of 7c+. To avoid misunderstandings: it was our personal feeling and hasn't nothing to do with the beauty or seriousness of the climb.
Happy to have onsighted this one! :-)
|Last part of the fifth pitch|
|Start of the sixth pitch - crux pitch|
|Sixth pitch - towards the first bolt|
|Hanging on the anchor after the third pitch|