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Sport Climbers Establish Trad Scarefest in Spain

Josune Bereziartu on the first ascent of Frenesi (Frenzy: ED+: III/IV M6/7 R, 450m), which she established with Rikar Otegui on March 14, 2008, in the Spanish Pyrenees. The pair named the route Frenzy after Otegui took a factor-two fall that ripped two of their three anchor points from the wall; they rushed to restore the belay while hanging from a single ax. [Photo] Courtesy of Josune Bereziartu

On March 14, 2008, Josune Bereziartu and her husband Rikar Otegui–both known almost exclusively for their sport climbing achievements–put up a seven-pitch alpine scarefest on the north face of Pena Telera (2764m) in the Spanish Pyrenees. Their new line, Frenesi (Frenzy: ED+: III/IV M6/7 R, 450m), they climbed onsight and ground up over seven hours, placing only natural protection.

Bereziartu said that the crux sections are concentrated in the first part of the climb. The first two pitches were M4, with more rock than ice. On Pitch 2 Otegui took a factor-two fall when his crampon slipped and a micro cam–his last piece of protection–blew. The violence of his fall ripped out two anchor-point pitons, leaving both of them hanging by a single ax. They repaired the belay hurriedly.

“The snow that covered the rock didn’t allow him to progress easily, and the fall occurred very fast as usual. Recomposing the belay was a very frenzied time,” Bereziartu said. Around the time of their ascent Otegui was reading a biography about Alfred Hitchcock that included a chapter about the movie Frenzy, and after Otegui’s fall, Bereziartu said the route name was an obvious choice.

Pitch 3 provided the first crux: overhanging M6/7 climbing to a gully with a lip of very thin ice. The fourth and fifth pitches climbed a gully with a small section of vertical ice and snow that led to a roof. To start the sixth pitch the pair wanted to take a very thin ice/mixed line to the right of the roof, but Bereziartu said poor ice conditions forced them to take an M7 line up an overhanging dihedral to the left. They then followed a vertical icefall to the top of a small tower, and after another short pitch the pair mixed climbed 45-50 degree slopes to finish up Chez Lulu (ED-: IV 6a M5+ WI4+) for 350 more meters to the summit of Pena Telera.

Frenesi (Frenzy: ED+: III/IV M6/7 R, 450m), Pena Telera, Spanish Pyrenees. Bereziartu and Otegui climbed the route onsight and ground up over seven hours, placing only natural protection. [Photo] courtesy of Josune Bereziartu

Conditions were poor, Bereziartu said, because during the beginning of March the sun hits the bottom of the wall and temperatures are warmer. They knew the recent snow hadn’t turned into ice, but Bereziartu said she and Otegui were desperate to climb, so they went after the new route with less-than-ideal conditions.

“My alpine experience has been very short because I mostly sport climb, but in the past two years I’ve been gradually seduced by alpinism,” Bereziartu said. “Frenzy was the first alpine route that I opened, so it gave me perspective on what’s mentally and physically difficult for me. This route was hard for me, especially because many of the placements were pretty poor, which didn’t give me much confidence.”

Source: Josune Bereziartu