Weekend Warm-Up: Orbayu, a Climbing Odyssey

In 2014, Swiss climbers Nina Caprez and Cedric Lachat attempted to climb the intimidating Orbayu, a 500m face in Spain’s Picos de Europa National Park.

Iker Pou and his brother Eneko did the first free ascent in 2009 and graded Orbayu an 8c+/9a. At the time, that was the hardest grade in big-wall climbing. Nicolas Favresse and Adam Pustelnik later challenged this grading when in 2011, they became the first to repeat the route.

Orbayu is renowned as much a mental challenge as a physical one, and Caprez goes to the brink more than once in her efforts to free it.

Nina Caprez. Photo: Mojagear.com


Climbers must contend not only with 13 pitches, a crux at 8c and an elevation of more than 2,000m, but also at times exposure to light rain or mist that soaks everything. According to Lachat, “It’s a fine drizzle that resembles a harmless fog but gets you drenched in seconds.”

Directed by Mathieu Rivoire & Julien Nadiras, the film depicts graphic determination, some awesome climbing and sublime photography with brilliant time-lapses and incredible angles from Nadiras, Diego Defila & Sam Bié.