Text and pictures © 2010-2014 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2012/12/10
"Just being in a new place. Meeting new people from foreign places. Speaking new languages. Going on adventures and being spontaneous. You never know what's going to happen. You meet someone and you end staying at their house. And climbing in exotic places. Exploring the world." — Chris Sharma.
Left: Largely overhanging wall on the right of Velika (Osp, Slovenia)
15 years ago, the partner I shared some routes with in Yosemite told me that the cliff of Osp in Slovenia was the most beautiful he'd ever seen. Since then I'd always meant to go there. So we were on our way to Croatia and stopped for only 2 days in Osp and my first impression upon arriving after a 10 hour drive is that it's not as big as I expected...
Right: Easier section in the upper part of the route, with the sun catching up.
The second impression is worse. We head for Netopir, a classic long route on Velika Stena, and there's not a soul on the cliff. Well, were are close to Italy (barely one km), so maybe the climbers here have the same kind of 'late start' attitude. The first pitch is some kind of gardening junction pitch, poorly protected but very easy. Then on top of a big rock there are many more lines of bolts than in our print from the web. I try what looks easiest but soon end up resting and pulling on gear. OK, so we were forewarned that slavic ratings are a bit 'stiff' and we aren't any great shape, so I assume that I just suck. The rock is not so good (another disappointment) and I take a wiper.
Left: Lush vegetation in the spring right below the cliff.
We suffer on 4 pitches like that before rappelling down. Later at the campground a look in the new guidebook will set things straight: 7b+, 7b, 7a... Ok, tomorrow we'll go sport climbing where people are nearby.
Right: The main cliff of Osp Velika, the route we did is on the right of the yellow section.
Also I have always been curious as to how the Slovenians get to be some of the best climbers in the word. I guess if Osp doesn't provide an answer to that, we'll have to someday go take a look towards the Triglav.
Left: A remnant of old Yugoslavia, a rotting Zastava in a garden of the village, better known in the US under the brand Yugo...
Right: Great sport climbing cliff of Osp Babna, on the left of the previous one.
Right: The village and the cliff of Osp. Another popular cliff with heaps of hard routes is a short distance to the east.
So Osp may not be the best cliff in the world, but it's certainly worth a longer visit than the two short days we spend there before heading to Paklenica.