Part 5 Climbing Sella

The climbing in Sella is amazing! There isn’t anything remotely comparable to it in Sweden. Sella has everything from overhangs, to steep vertical walls and slabs. Sadly the area with the hardest and most overhanging routes, the Wild Side, has some access restrictions – you have to ask for the land owner’s permission before climbing there. But it was anyway too hard for us so we didn’t go there.

Camilla climbing

The El Cajón de Los Cuartos sector is quite good as a starting point in Sella. The easy routes there will help you get familiar with limestone and you’ll get experience with polished routes as well. The two pitch route to the right, Pequeñecos III, a 4+ route, is a good introduction to multi-pitch face climbing. If you’re not used to hanging stances, I wasn’t, this is a good place to start before moving on to harder longer routes. The last couple of moves to the anchor on the top pitch is a bit tricky though.

To the left around the corner is the Culo de Rino sector with some routes in the 5 to 6 difficulty range that are worth doing. Further to the right is the Techo del Rino sector with the El Torronet 5+ route which is lots of fun and not at all polished. Even more to the right along the cliff to the left and right of the Marión arete are quite a few good routes, but they are popular and hence are getting polished.

A 7-8 minutes walk from the main parking area takes you to the Ojo de Odra sector and sector Final. Two less popular areas, mostly because it’s so “far” to walk, but enjoyable due to the non-existing crowd and quite unpolished state of the routes.

Marion

If possible you should try to climb Marión, the three pitch classic that takes you to the top of the Sella ridge. We climbed it the last thing we did on the day before returning which was good because we had got used to climbing on limestone and we felt more comfortable with hanging stances on multi-pitch routes.

If we would have done Marión earlier in the week I’m sure I would have felt much more stressed hanging 50 meters over ground at the second stance. It’s good to get some rest at the stands to recharge for the next pitch. Even though the pitches are just graded at 5, 4+, 5 I thought they were a bit tricky.

The first pitch is quite easy with a few harder parts but nothing spectacular. The hardest part is actually to get off the ground on the polished grips.

I thought the second pitch would be quite noticeable easier, but it didn’t feel that way. It lacks a crux but instead it’s quite sustained climbing with a few delicate parts and no good rest positions.

The third pitch is definitely the toughest one with the route’s hardest crux. I found it a bit tricky to clip the bolt next to it, only to discover afterwards that if I would have just dared to move up a bit I would have had an excellent grip for my right hand to clip from but it’s hard to know beforehand. I think the crux also was mentally hard because at that point you’re something like 60 meters above the ground and I’m not used to climbing at those heights.

Me on top of Marion

After the crux the last pitch gets easier but the bolts end so you better bring some wires! The last unbolted part up to the anchor is definitely worth doing, and the view from up there is quite nice. You get an even better view if you continue past the anchor to the top of the ridge. But then you’re faced with a difficult descent, first easy rather pleasant walking along the ridge until you’re on top of the Oja de Odra cave. After that you have to climb down something like a 2+ or 3- unprotected there you really don’t want to fall. We decided we’re rather safe than sorry and sacrificed a sling and a thread so we could have some kind of protection on the way down.

Overall climbing in Sella felt quite secure. Sure there is the occasional missing bolt or loose bolt head, but those are exceptions and they are usually reported in the routes’ comments on the rockfax website.