Climbing in Croatia… at last!

Finally the weather seems to be improving for a time and we are trying to make the most if it. The first afternoon of good ish weather we headed up to the crag near Split as we were parked in town. It’s weird that for days all I have wanted to do is climb and be active, however when the opportunity to climb arrived I felt lethargic, and nearly did not go out. It’s weird how inactivity breeds inactivity. Once we had walked up the to the crag, and wandered around the buildings that have been built into the cliff we climbed a couple of routes, including an interesting 6a+ route, that I climbed although I felt rusty after a few days off. It was good to get out and I felt it warmed me up for the next day when we would climb the first multi pitch we had been on for a long while.

Jess climbing at Marjan
A cloudy evening in Split

We parked up and approached a multipitch climb called Rambo, again the map and approach in the guidebook were average, and so we set off up the hill following a trail, until we had wound our way up to the far side of the cliff, and quite a distance from the start of the route, we had gone the wrong way. We scrambled up the scree beside us and once at the foot of the cliff we made our way along animal trails and ledges, creating a path where we could until finally we seemed to be on a real path of sorts which was confirmed by bolts on the wall, although this was not our route, ours was the next.

At the foot of our climb there was a small memorial plaque and some pictures and candles, it’s always a bit unnerving to see this at a climb, although I tried to put this out of my mind and set up ready to go, I couldn’t help but think how? If your about to climb the same route, how bad is it? The first couple of pitches were easy enough and although the third was supposed to be 6a it was very low in the grade. The climbing seemed to wind its way up the cliff between all the foliage and trees that littered the face, and to be fair the quality of all the pitches and the rock was excellent, it was good fun climbing this route. The best was saved for last as the 6a graded pitch was on point and a good way to finish the climb. No sooner had we finished, we were rigging the abseil ready for the descent.

Not a bad view, and it got better the higher you got!
Great rock winding its way through the jungle

The descent was an absolute nightmare, it’s easy to see why the route is called Rambo as the entire time it’s as if you are abseiling through a jungle! With every abseil, of which there were six, I spent a good deal of time untying the ropes, pulling them out of trees, bushes and plants, as well as navigating my own way through it all. With daylight disappearing behind the opposing cliffs we were loosing the race with time and light, so this seemed like a good time for the rope to get caught when it was pulled down, I had mentioned this potentially happening earlier in the climb and my premonition was coming true. I climbed up about ten metres and managed to untie the rope that had wrapped itself around a stump of a branch, and then down climbed. By the time we were on the last couple of abseils we were both wearing head torches and working in the dark. At this time I was working overtime to make sure that we were safe, checking, re checking and triple checking every single element of the abseil, just to be on the safe side!

Looking up at jess abseiling, it was dark!!
The final rays of light creeping through!
And the night time abseiling begins!

Throughout this trip we have narrowly beaten light and time, getting down from routes via the last rays of sun, or just catching the last lift down, it seems only fair that our turn had come and we ran out of time. Although now it’s all over it was a bit of fun and added something different to a day out on the rock.

Memorial plaque for a climber who fell and died on the climb
Finally at the foot and walking home!
The building built into the cliff at Marjan crag, just outside Split
Some ducks seen on the approach to Rambo

The sun sets over the bay at Marjan
Split at night
Curious squirrel checking us out!

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