Sardinia Sun Rock Workshop Report

We always knew that the Sardinia Sun Rock Workshop was going to be a varied trip, visiting the granite boulders of Capo Testa, the mega-steep inland crags of Isilli, the mad tufa climbing at Domusnovas, climbing above ´the beach of your dreams´ at Cala Luna, and even some superb multi-pitch action, but we didn´t figure on getting the same variety from the people on the trip: with ages from 13 year old Leah Crane to 60 year old Dave ´E´, and with redpoint personal bests from French grade 5 to French grade 9 courtesy of guest coach Steve McClure. Jim climbing at the secluded spot of Jerzu Week OneWe started the two week coaching at Capo Testa, with some exercises in trusting the friction on slabs that you can walk up- if you trust your feet enough! We made our way south to the resort town of Cala Gonone where we were to be based for the week. From here it was a short drive to the crags of Cala Fuilli, Cala Luna, Biddiriscottai, Dorgali, and La Poltrona, each of which got a visit. Not wanting to stay in the same place, we made an effort to make the long drive to Jerzu – and weren´t disappointed, superb climbing in a tranquil, remote setting. Arriving at Cala Luna by boatRapidly, it became clear that the varied nature of the climbing, and everyone´s appetite to experience as much of it as possible, made the trip mostly an onsight climbing trip, highlights of week one included: watching Mark onsight the ten meter roof at Biddiriscottai, Jim coming within a move (twice) of redpointing his first 7c, Leah onsight 7a+ (her best outdoor lead to date). The points star of the week was Cherry, who went from climbing 5b indoors to ticking loads of 5c´s on rock – onsight!

Gary climbing above the sea at Cala Fuilli Stretching out for a tough day at Biddiriscottai

Week Two This time based in the south west of the island, our plan was to visit some of the superb inland crags. Straight from the airport we dashed down to the clean limestone walls at Masua, near to where we were staying, and got a few routes in before sunset. It was the area of Domusnovas where we were to find ourselves based for the most part, climbing on Ruota Del Tempo, Sherwood, Canneland, and a number of other parts. The Week Two team at Isilli – the best crag in Sardinia! A day at Punta Pilocca was enjoyed early on in the week, where our special brand of confidence building worked absolute miracles (a secret recipe for success!) and some heroic battles ensued – and continued to do so throughout the week! We also experimented with video analysis for the first time, and with extremely encouraging results – must try to include that next time! We also made a day excursion further inland to Isilli for a redpointing day, which actually yielded some pretty hard onsights. As usual, it was the last day at Canneland where, despite bleeding fingers and tired limbs, some fine efforts in both onsight and redpoint made the hard work all worthwhile.

Flavius battling heat and hard climbing at Ruota Del Tempo Steve McClure shines in his debut as a Sun Rock Workshop coach – here giving Vince some footwork pointers!

Highlights of the week: watching Steve onsight 8a´s and 8a+´s in the greasy, polished, hot sun when everyone else was flailing, witnessing Caroline overcome a fear of falling to climb so well – and redpoint the longest 6c+ ever, watching Gavin´s footwork improve to the point of redpointing a 6b+ slab then go on to battle his way up a steep 6b, watching Vincent and Flavius getting to grip with rock after prolonged exposure to plastic, and generally watching some outrageously determined climbing – and some monster falls!

Gavin going for it on the last day – on a 6b+ slab redpoint at Sherwood Dave E – in the week before retiring from work and starting his career as a full time climber (!)
Name Onsight
Expected Actual
Mark 6c
Gary 5c+ 6a+
Duncan 5c 6a
Paul 6b
Adam 6a+ 6b
Simon 6c+ 6c+
Cherry 5b 5c
Alan 6a 6b+
Richard 6a 6b
Jim 7a 7a+
Dave C 6b 6b+
Dave E 6b+ 6b+
Caroline 6c 6c
Nick 6c 6c
Richard 6b
Bill 6a+ 6b+
Vincent 6a 6a
Flavius 6a 6a+

* For a number of climbers whilst the achievements of the week in Sardinia merely equalled their personal bests, often these personal bests had not been equaled for a number of years.

Steve McClure inspired everyone! Here onsighting yet another 8a/8a+ at Ruota Del Tempo