Monday, December 10, 2007
Climbing in Panama
There is a great little sport crag right on the edge of town. There are about 20 routes from 5.9-5.12b. They are short but steep; a bit reminiscent of the moderates in Rifle, without the posers, Front Ranger egomaniacs, and polish. They are well bolted basalt and the climbs either ascend the broken ends of columns (like this picture) or cross horizontal columns (desperate slopers) or climb columns vertically with stemming and friction. The approach is about 30 seconds from the road. The locals have done an incredible job cleaning and the routes are well done. There are a handful of climbers here but this crag demands power so they are strong. If we had a crag like this in Carbondale, 2 miles from town with a 30 second approach, we would all climb a lot harder. They are working on a new cliff nearby that climbs out of a huge cave. They are finishing a new 4 pitch sport route that they think will go at 12b and it looks like there is lots more potential. Eduardo and Marcol also guide here and those passing through can get out cragging without bringing their gear. I recommend the guides- they are strong climbers, low-key, and willing to tolerate my Spanish even though they speak good English. Amazing to find high quality rock here and to learn that the word "pumped" is exactly the same in Spanish.