The route Guri Guri was the first 8b at the Vânturatoarea(waterfall) sector and quickly became a classic. After the starting jug broke, the initial boulder that was estimated at around 7B+ has become considerably harder, at around 8A.
In 06.2018, Czech climber Denis Pail made the FA of Guri Guri reloaded, committing and risking a ground fall. He registered his ascent as 8c on the 8a.nu scorecard “6.GO, 8b+/8c, FA after broken hold at the beginning, maybe 8c???”.
On his trip he repeated 24 Karate(8a), Cats(8a), Viper Viper(8a), Arista(8a+), Rusalii(8b), Black Cobra(8b) and Rusty Nail(8b+). ?
Begining of 2018, the Czech National TV decided to make a series about climbing and lifestyle in eastern Europe. The main character would be Adam Ondra, considered by many the best climber in the world. And they asked him to choose the climbing destinations.
After 16 years of continuous development, mainly by the Alternative Club from Timisoara, Baile Herculane became the biggest and best known climbing destination in Romania. It was still an unknown destination until the Petzl Roctrip from 2014, which put Herculane on the list of world class climbing destinations.
So it was no surprise, that searching for climbing destinations is eastern Europe, Herculane was the first that attracted Adam’s attention. Two days before his arrival, Adam called the One Move climbing gym and asked for a guide for his 4 days in Herculane.
It was hard to believe and it was incredible that the strongest guy in the world would come to climb in Herculane. The Romanian climbing community would have the biggest gain from his visit, if he could climb some hard projects, set some benchmarks and one day come back. This meant he had to find something special about Herculane and a reason to return. The decision was made not to announce his visit, so that he could have more “space”, concentrate more on climbing, and feel Herculane as a quiet world class crag which you can’t find in Europe anymore.
He didn’t came alone, but together with Pavel his manager, Bernardo this photographer and a 4 men filming crew. Even if he climbed what he wanted, first he put up the fixed ropes, and asked for the OK from the filming crew, the OK from the photographer, and everybody was asked to be quiet for the shooting. Adam made his homework before coming to Herculane, watched the Roctrip video, checked the online information, the 8a database and he already had a tick list for Vanturatoarea (Waterfall) sector. Stone Butterfly project got his attention and he jumped on in. Very fast he figured out the strange and complex beta and made all the moves of the 9a+ project. He gave it a go but failed at the 8A crux.
After climbing he joined us in the campsite at the fire. He was very relaxed and open, talked a lot about climbing, training, competitions and about the things you don’t see in the life of a professional athlete.
On the second day he seemed very motivated and excited to climb. After a while we realized that this was his general state of mind, always positive, excited and motivated to climb, no mater what. After a god try, he was feeling “weak” and decided to leave the project for the last day and try something else.
He wanted to try Black cobra extension. He did the first 8b part onsight, and checked the second part that feeled more like a 9b+ project. He proposed to put a chain at the last jug, that would be the finish of a 9a route, accessible to more climbers and let the last 9b+ extension for the next visit 🙂 On his first go he fell on the last move and after one hour of rest he did it! It was a great deal for the romanian climbing community, the first 9a in Romania, a benchmark for the strong climbers who want to break the 9a level.
The 3-rd day was a break day and we visited the rural part of the region, a travel in time to the remote areas of Caras county. After a traditional meal we ended the day relaxing in the hot springs.
The 4-th and last day started with heavy rain that lasted for hours. The news that Adam was in Herculane went viral across Romania, and many wanted to come to see him, but the bad weather discouraged most of them. After the rain almost stopped, Adam decided to make the 40 min walk on the muddy trail to finish the 9a+ project. The conditions where far from decent, it was quite warm, very humid, foggy and a few showers followed.
He was climbing fast and controlled on the first 8c+ part. After that he turned into a fine tuned climbing machine. You could hear his breathing, grunting while being at the limit and the whole valley heard when he was falling. You could feel a strange energy and the experience was more intense then expected. After every failed attempt, he rested, recharged his physical and mental energy and tried again. His persistence payed off and he did it 4-th go, raising the bar, and setting the first Romanian 9a+.
It was the last day, almost dark. The project was done and probably everybody would have called it a day. Adam repeated the crux a few more times for some photos, removed the quickdraws, didn’t even take off his climbing shoes and went for the on-sight of the route to the left, Rusty Nail(8b+). And he did it!
On the 5-th day he had a plane to catch in Timisoara, but he could still force 2-3 hours of climbing in the morning. Over-motivated like nobody else, he tried 2 dry projects. He on-sighted Catch-up(8b) and climbed 2-go the short Airamana project(8c+). He untied and ran to the car to catch his flight.
Many strong 9a climbers visited Herculane, but non of them was so inspiring. Strong and humble, motivated and passionate, relaxed and with a powerful mind, this is Adam Ondra.
PS: He told us that he had a great time and he will return. Vanturatoarea wall is amazing and there are too many projects waiting to be climbed 🙂
After HCO2016, this year’s winner, Bogdan Rus remained a few more days to finish some unfinished business.
He managed the First Ascent of the Kashmir project at Vanturatoarea sector. He graded the route 8b+/8c meaning its one of Hercualne’s biggest challenges.
Great job Bogdan! More projects are waiting!
George Stancescu made the FA of Kraft Automat extension, suggesting 8b+. It’s a steep, 30m long power endurance test-piece, bolted by Adrian Margea for the HCO2015 competition. It’s now the hardest route from the Magnolia sector, but there are some harder projects waiting for the FA.
Bogdan Rus climbed the route “Rusty Nail” at Vanturatoarea sector in Herculane. He is the first Romanian climber who nailed the test-piece! This is also the hardest route ever climbed by a Romanian in the Cerna Valley. The route was originally bolted by Gerhard Hornhager for the Petzl RocTrip and has been ascended 4 times by the following climbers: Mike Fuselier, Gerome Pouvreau, Enzo Oddo, and Markus Jung.
For thirteen years straight, it was the date of the country’s main climbing competition, HCO.
However, due to logistic and meteorological reasons, HCO was moved to September. Still, every passionate Romanian rock-climber knows that May 1st is the day the community will be present in the Cerna Valley. We hope that climbing on May 1st will remain a tradition and a national gathering of our climbing community. See you there!
HerculaneClimbing.ro aims to be a complete guide for climbers that come to Herculane. We try to keep it updated as possible. We also are happy if we receive your feedback so that other climbers can benefit from your experience.
One interesting point is the collective blog, where we try to publish/repost all blog posts regarding the climbers experiences in Herculane. So we are happy if you share the story of your trip in Herculane!
Baile Herculane est une des plus ancienne station thermale d’Europe, la légende raconte qu’Hercule lui même y aurait vécu. Les eaux minérales de la station Baile-Herculane ont été découvertes et exploitées par les soldats des légions romaines qui ont conquis l’ancienne Dacie.
Bref, après cette minute culturelle, plongeons nous dans le vif du sujet et direction Vanturatoarea. Cette falaise offre différents profils, du long, du court, du facile et du teigneux, il y en a pour tout le monde.
Aprés avoir flashé Black cat, white cat 8a+ et Guri-Guri 8b, je me suis offert la « First Ascent » de Rusty Nail 8b+.
Et oui, après avoir fait 2 mois de canyon, j’avais les crocs qui rayaient le parquet…
Les copains n’ont pas mis bien longtemps à s’en mettre également plein la musette et Cedric Lachat s’envoie la First Ascent de Mrs Baba 8b+.
à noter également la belle perf de Flo Pinet qui a Flashé: Guri-Guri.
Et pour clôturer cette étape en beauté, nous avons eu droit à la traditionnelle bringue du Petzl roc trip. la pluie s’étant invité, on avait l’impression de vivre un semblant de woodstock !!
à noter que si vous êtes sur un évenement Petzl et qu’il n’y a pas de Fiesta à la fin, il y a des chances que ce soit un fack …
La première étape se termine et maintenant direction Vratsa en Bulgarie.
I left my apartment in Grenoble, France for about two months and I had no idea what to expect. I traveled east to join the Petzl Roc Trip caravan headed to Romania. I don’t usually travel east to climb, but I loved the idea of discovering new countries, cultures and new climbing areas.
Together with our French friends and team members, we finally arrived in Romania and the village of BaileHerculane. One of the first things we noticed was the difference between gypsies and Romanians. We had always had this idea that all people from Romania are on the road, which is not true. But, it was so fun to see how the real Romanian-gypsies live their life by the road.
The valley of the Baile Herculane is an amazing place and a great climbing area. To start off our trip, we hiked about an hour to reach a huge cliff along side a beautiful waterfall.
I had almost forgotten about the Roc Trip vibe, because the last one I went on was about three years ago in China. There are so many climbers and everyone just wants to get out and climb. It took a bit to get used to all the people in the beginning of the trip because I had spent my whole summer almost alone in the mountains of Picos de Europa. Now, I was climbing on a cliff along with 200 others!
During the first three days of climbing I felt really weak and was struggling to get back in form. I was still feeling the effects of traveling in my legs. After such a long break from rock climbing, I was little uncomfortable. But, Roc Trip means climbing! Who cares what level you are at, it’s all about enjoying new routes with the people around you and the opportunity to travel while doing what you love.
Baile Herculane is also famous for his hot springs and since we were here, we couldn’t miss a chance to experience them. We had the chance to meet one gypsy who lives in one of the tunnels where the 50 degree hot water comes out…ha! This was not easy to watch, but at least he won’t freeze during the winter! 😉
The roads in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria are well known for being harsh on vehicles. As well as being a top climber, it’s just as important to be a world-class pilot: there are so many huge holes in the roads that you feel like you are in a video game.
Unfortunately, Gérome Pouvreau found one of the holes in the road. Lucky he had only dented a rim and somehow with some heavy hammering the rim was repaired and we were on our way…
Romanian’s like to have a good time after climbing. The base camp was full of food, beer and souvenir stands – a whole party area. We had the chance to try all the delicious food and were impressed with the local games and concerts.
We have now crossed the border and I’m ready to discover Bulagria during the next ten days….
Lately more foreign climbers come to Herculane. most of them come because Petzl RocTrip was here, they saw the photos, the movie and yes, it’s worth a visit. We are happy that also strong climbers come, recently we met german top climber, Markus Jung.
He flashed Viper-Viper(8a) and did Black Cobra(8a+/8b), Guri-Guri(8b) and Rusty Nail(8b+) all second go, after which he decided to try some projects. Between others, he tried the extension of Viper-Viper and described it like a 8a, into a 3 move 7B+/7C, another hard crimp and a 7b+ to the top, summing around 8c+. Let’s see who will grab the first ascent.