American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

South America, Venezuela, Roraïma Tepui, El Mundo Perdido

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Roraïma Tepui, El Mundo Perdido. Tony Arbones (Spain) and I established the route El Mundo Perdido (VI 7b+ A2, 480m) on the southwest face of Roraïma Tepui in February in Venezuela. The expedition lasted two weeks—one for trekking and another of climbing. The route wanders up a 460-meter sandstone face that overhangs all the way. We established the route from the ground up. The high level of the climb was the result of a mistake: we wanted to put up a sport route with hard free climbing and good bolts, but after our powerdrill broke, the route turned into a traditional-style route with natural protection.

The route’s 17 pitches went as follows: 6a, 6b+, 6c+, 7a+, 7a, 7a, 5+, 7a+, 6b+, 7a+, 7a, 7b+, 7a+, then three meters of aid on hooks, then 7b, 7a, 7a+, 7a+, 6c. All the pitches were freed except pitch 12, which was not linked up, and pitch 14, which includes a short section of aid. We swapped leads, and left nine 10-mm bolts (on pitches 3 and 4) and some 20 pegs.

We also found 17 hand-drilled 8-mm bolts without hangers. Once back in Europe, we learned the bolts were from an aid route that met our climb in places. Gorilas de la Niebla (“Gorillas in the Mist,” VI A4) was put up over 11 days by Xabier Izagirre and Raul Alava at the end of 1996. While on the wall, we didn’t even knew that the hangers were those of a finished route, as climbers from Caracas had told us no one had climbed this main wall of Roraïma. When we found the first hangers on pitch 6, we didn’t follow their path but only tried to reach the top by the most logical way for us. On some pitches we found several more hangers, on others, none. It appears that we followed a line close to Gorillas, but didn’t free climb their route.

Jean-Minh Trinh-Thieu, France

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