31 Pitches, 5.13, No Bolts for Pro

By Dougald MacDonald ,

A multinational team has free-climbed the El Capitan-sized wall to the left of Angel Falls in Venezuela, using no bolts for protection. Britons John and Anne Arran, Miles Gibson, and Ben Heason, along with Alex Klenov from Russia and Venezuelans Ivan Calderon and Alfredo Rangel, climbed the 31-pitch route over 19 days, with 14 nights on the wall. Fully half the pitches were 5.12 or harder, and nine were rated E7 (dangerous 5.12 or better-protected 5.13-). The team onsighted most pitches and redpointed the remainder with preplaced traditional protection. The Angel Falls wall has four other routes, including a shorter free line spearheaded by the late José Luis Pereyra in 1996, but only a Spanish aid route had ascended the steepest and biggest wall, just to the left of the world’s highest waterfall; the free route follows part of this 1985 climb. Look for more info and photos in Climbing #241.

John Arran starting an onsight lead of the 14th pitch (E6 6b or 5.12c).Photo courtesy of John Arran, www.thefreeclimber.com.

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