Josune Bereziartu and Rikar Otegui make first free ascent on El Castillo
In early July 2009, Josune Bereziartu and Rikar Otegui made the first free ascent of the 10-pitch route 'El Castillo de los Sacristanes' (400m, 8a/5.13b) in Spain's Ordesa National Park. In 2006, Spanish climber Manu Cordova made the first ascent of the line without freeing the 6th pitch. In a one-day effort Rikar and Josune climbed all of the pitches on-sight (up to 7b+/5.12c), except for the crux 6th pitch, which they did on their second try and suggested a grade of 8a/ 5.13b. The 45-metre crux pitch features a very large roof with big runouts on questionable rock and suspect gear placements.
In an email to Arc'teryx Josune called it, "Very exciting-the gear is precarious, and the rock quality is not the best."
With this bold free ascent, the multi-talented husband-and-wife team has established the most difficult route in the Ordesa Valley area. Josune also commented that adventure rock climbing is becoming more popular all over Spain, and that on weekends they often see up to a hundred other climbers in the Ordesa Valley.