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South America, Brazil, New Routes

Brazil, new routes. Of the new routes added in Brazil in 2008, some of the most impressive were Raja Begun, South Face of Pedra do Fritz, and Sensação de Êxtase.

The huge slab of Raja Begun (640m, 5.12a R) follows a line of good holds mixed with friction climbing on Pedra do Elefante (1,460m), in Petropolis in the state of Rio de Janeiro. At various times in the last 16 years, Ralf Côrtes worked on the route with Marcio Buzina, Ana Alvarenga, and Ingo Müller, until finishing it on June 20 with Flavio Daflon. More information, including more routes on this mountain, can be found at www.abrigodoelefante.com.

The South Face (5.12a A2+) of Pedra do Fritz (755m) is an amazing 400m vertical wall in Nanuque, in the state of Minas Gerais. Bito Meyer and Edmilson Padilha started the project in 1998 and returned in 2000, putting up 150m of the route. In 2002 Eduardo de Azevedo, Gisely Ferraz, and Nello Aun continued to a 200m vertical crack that included hand jams, chimneys and offwidths, but they did not reach the summit. Finally, in 2008, Gustavo Piancastelli, Marcus Rufino, and Emerson Azeredo reached the top, though they started with 170m of the route Leões da Montanha.

The beautiful and fun Sensação de Êxtase (300m, 5.11a/b), all bolted and with a roof in the middle, went up on Pedra da Gavea (845m) in the city of Rio de Janeiro. It took me nine days in August and September to establish, with help from Ljiljana Grmoljez (Lithuania), and then Szvinyarovich Grljevic (Slovenia), before I finished the route alone. The view from the route is fantastic, with mountains on one side and the city and beaches on the other.

Antonio Paulo Faria, Brazil