Considering the fact that I travelled to Corsica explicitly for „Delicatesen“ the 90s test piece of French climbers Arnaud Petit and Stephane Husson I arrived shockingly unprepared. That’s at least as I see it now. I was equipped with a formidable weather report and a guidebook that must have dated from the era of the first ascent. That was it. Being a great planer or anticipator has never been my strength enabling me, however, to travel „light“ without much pressure of success.
I was in Bavella with Anna and right on our first day we set off for Delicatessen. The conditions were bad, heavy fog had rolled over the pass, wrapping the cliffs and towers with humidity. I made great progress on the route nevertheless, smearing off from time to time. In fashion with climbers having difficulties to send I was swearing the bad conditions. I must say that I was confused when I did not find the first belay point but stopped there nevertheless (on one bolt and with a convenient no hand rest). A no hand rest after a hard 8b pitch seemed just like the right place to stop, especially with my topo.
When I arrived at the last hard pitch, a 7c, I was glad to have reached the part where my topo informed me of an aid part and easy climbing thereafter. The alleged A1 part was a whole bolt-ladder pitch through a blank roof. I was not really impressed by this but continued. The celebration on top of Punta di U Corbu was short-lived and we sett off abseiling through he thick fog just before the night set in.
Two days later we decided to invest into a new guidebook and with it came the surprise. Flapping through the topos I came across Delicatessen again, this time deeply changed. The first two pitches (8b and 7c+ originally) had been merged into an 8b+ (according to the new topo) and the aid pitch had been avoided, traversing the roof right and then dancing on a crimpy 8a slab to the easier sections of the wall. Well, I was thumb struck, and disappointed! How on earth could I rely on this old topo, not ask friends who had done the route before and thus run blindly into this failure?
After a day and night of self hate and promises to prepare better for future endeavors Anna and I went back to Punta di U Corbu. I managed to redpoint the whole route, free and barring some astonishment, with the right belays.
Back home I consulted Arnaud Petit. He told me that the route and especially the belay points had been changed several times since it was established in 1992. The 8a slab instead of the aid roof pitch was added in 1993, and the lower pitches all had different belay points. That’s how Arnaud redpointed Delicatessen in 2001. When Arnaud rebolted the line in 2010 he merged the first two pitches and changed the following places of belay points. The route as it is now was first climbed by the Swiss athletes Cedric Lachat and Nina Caprez and has seen few other ascents since.
A week later we found ourselves in „Hotel Supramonte“ in Gola di Gorroppu, one island south. Again the conditions were horrible on the first day. A gusty wind made climbing a lot easier on my second day and I was able to send what must be one of the steepest and surely one of the best multi pitch routes world-wide.
Climbing these two exceptional routes in one trip has always been a dream of mine. Thanks to Anna for supporting me and making this dream possible. Thanks to Arnaud Petit and Stephane Husson as well as Rolando Larcher and Roberto Vigiani for having the inspiration to bolt lines that will forever be gems on anyone’s tick list.