Monday, December 2, 2019

                 30.11.2019 - Fisura Gălbenelelor (The Marigolds Crack) 3A, 6+ (5+, A0)

(Busteni - Munticel - Izvor Costila - Refugiu Costila - Galbinele Principal - Fisura Galbinele - Rapel pe Galbinele Principal - Refugiu Costila - Busteni)

Classic grade: 3A 
Mandatory grade: 5+ 
Aid climbing grade: 
A0 Rotpunkt grade: 6+ 
Quickdraws: Ten 
Type: Classic route

Last week, i have decided with Petre to go on Galbenele main couloir (valley), in order to give a jump start to winter mixt climbing season. The weather was perfect, snow in good conditions and the climbing was a pleasure. At the end of the valley we have on the left side the Coamei Chimney and going ahead to the Strunga Galbenele on the left side on a ledge we have the entrance to various alpine climbing routes and one of them is the Galbenele Crack which I want to climb for a long time now (the blue line from the below picture).

Friday evening me and Andra decide the line we want to climb but we will not go alone, Petre Bogdan and Mihai Sava (second team) will go in Rosculet 3B. So, Saturday morning we leave Bucharest at 5:40 AM and arrive to Busteni around 7:15 to meet Andra and Mihai at the train station.

From the CAR Cabin we take the red triangle route (35-40min) until we take right on a yellow marked route, goes up on a hill and then we take the path to the right (the left path goes into the White Valley).
We continue the path for 20minutes until we go past 2 big rocks and we arrive at a fountain (this fountain is not always clear unless it rained few days before and it's completely covered in the winter). Here we take some water and we continue our path upwards for 15-20 minutes, we pass 2 couloirs to the right and then we get into Costila Valley which is quite large. 30m on the right we have the Costila Refugee.

Qickly we take a short snak we leave here some of the food and the water for the return and at 9:30 we continue our way on the route left from the Refugee on the Costila Valley for about 100m and we take another path on the right up the hill then left on a ledge alongside a wall. Then the path becomes clear, goes up and right to  traverse into Galbenele Valley.

Once we are in Galbenele Valley we have 3 harder climbing sections which are protected at the end with pegs or bolts (if you are a begginer I recommend you bring camp tricams here sizes from 0.5 to 5, these work best on Conglomerate rock in wet condition).

                                Andra on first hard section grade 3

                               Andra on second and third hard section have maximum grade 5.

Weapons of choice: Camp Tricam size 0.5 to 1.5, Wild country big size wallnuts and Rock empire offset nuts. Singing Rock Ice pick (dry tooling blades) and Simond Vampire Crampones (single pointers).

We continue to go up we pass the Coamei Chimnney (on the left) 

                               Getting closer to the ledge which is on the left side, quite wide.

Here we equip the gear and leave one of the bags. Since Andra was not in the best shape she proposed that I should lead the climb on all I accepted the challenge.

First pitch (45m / 6-), no belay station and no fixed protection, leading the climb on icy chimnney, i place a red tricam in a pocket on the right.

I place another middle size nut on the right

First belay station

2nd Pitch (45m, 6+), didn't find any pegs on the first 35m, so I placed 1 middle nut on the right in a crack, then size 1 and 1.5 tricams on the next 10m, climbing on several ledges, falling is not an option if the protection is far away.

After the second ledge I place a tricam 0,75 and a medium size nut in a left sided crack in the chimney, would have been better to have a size 4/5 tricam in a large crack on the right. Here the snow started pouring onto my head and arms which lead to an extra challenge...Almost fell once becase I was exhausted, the protection was like 4m below me, but I didn't give up, Instead I had a big urge to climb all the way up and I pushed the limits this time. 

Before the 2nd Belay station I find one anchor on the right and a peg in front after 35m of trad climb.

2nd Belay is on the left side with and has a orange rope for protection. We decide to retreat because a snow storm started and the snow was pouring on us all the we couldn't climb anyway. 3rd Pitch and the last would be the hardest as far as I know, however it's better protected with bolts and pegs.

After we retreat we buckle up with hot tea and start to descend...the other team is still rapelling, they succeded to climb the whole line, congrats guys!!! It's amazing how much could snow in a relative short time...I triggered 2 small avalanches while descending...quite dangerous for the next day since the storm did not stop the whole night.

Happy to get back to the Refugee alive! Here is a picture with Mihai after the retreat...Congrats guys!!!


  1. Well done Vali ! Congratulations for a nice description of the great line climbed and this post on the blog. Keep them coming !
    PS. Thank you for leading the pitches.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Andra!
    Thanks for the good words and for keeping an eye on me all the time! See you soon on new routes!