Morcheka, free routes and controversy
Russian climber Sergey Nefedov, who in 2010 had freed the 335m route Machombo at 7c+, revisited Morcheka in May and free-climbed four other routes or variations on Crimea’s traditional limestone wall. This included a free ascent of Center (10 pitches, 7b+) with a variation start. Nefedov and partners spent two days replacing old bolts and pitons on the popular aid route. In September, Nefedov became embroiled in controversy when he returned to Morcheka and joined a team of sponsored American climbers. He and American Cedar Wright rap-bolted (with a power drill) a line linking variations of other climbs, and the resulting route, dubbed Cold War, angered local climbers, who said Nefedov, from St. Petersburg, and Wright had not conformed to the local ethics of ground-up ascents. The bolts eventually were chopped. More info at www.thebmc.co.uk/cold-war-in-the-crimea.
Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, and PlanetMountain.com