AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Pedra Baiana, East Face, Sangre Latina

In August, Argentinean climber Horacio Gratton and Brazilian climbers Wagner Borges, William Lacerda, Valdesir Machado, and Ed Padilha opened a long and difficult new route on Pedra Baiana. (Gabriel Tarso and Edson Vandeira were also present to document the ascent.)

Pedra Baiana is located about 20km southeast of the better-known Pedra Riscada, between the towns of Itabirinha and Nova Belem on private coffee-growing land. The climbers asked permission for access and then established their base camp 20 minutes from the east face. [Editor’s note: The big east face of Pedra Baiana is thought to have been previously unclimbed, with one prior attempt by 2016 team members Lacerda, Machado, and Padilha in 2003, which ended 450m up the wall. Gratton and Padilha had previously established new routes on Pedra Riscada; see AAJ 2010 and AAJ 2016.]

The team began their ascent up a vertical panel (7c+/8a). The crux second pitch (8b/8b+) ascends a dihedral with a finger crack that finishes through a roof that the climbers thought resembled the Great Roof on The Nose. The third pitch climbs a finger crack to offwidth (7b+). They climbed these difficult, initial pitches over two days. Above this, they saw an obvious line to the summit continuing through a heart-shaped hole.

On the third day they found easier terrain on pitches four (7a) and five (6c). On day four the climbers trended toward what looked like a shelf for a bivouac. They rated this sixth pitch 7c+. The shelf didn’t exist, but they were lucky and found a perfect cave with level ground 15m to the right. They called this bivouac El Buraco (“The Hole”).

Above this bivouac, the rock became overhanging, with numerous pitches of 8 and only a few of moderate difficulty. Portaledges were essential on this upper portion. On day 10, they finally reached the top, bivouacking that night on the summit.

They called their route Sangre Latina (800m, 8b/8b+, not yet redpointed), which means “Latin Blood,” because of their wounds during the ascent. Seven of the 17 pitches are grade 8, but not all have been led free yet. Although bolts were placed, many sections require traditional gear: The climbers recommend a rack of 20 quickdraws, two sets of cams from 0.3–6”, and nuts.

– Marcelo Scanu, Argentina