Stâncile Sfânta Ana (St. Ana Rocks) is the closest crag to Bucharest. It offers both short and multi-pitch routes. Good protection, extremely easy access. In this blog we describe a set of routes perfect for one day, for beginner/beginner-intermediate climbers. The surroundings are very nice: pretty views, imposing crag, a tiny cave-chapel and a stream near by.
Note: this crag can get pretty busy on weekends, especially during July-August-September.
Crag location: Town of Sinaia in Prahova valley. Detailed directions in Getting there tab.
- 3 short sport climbing routes. 15m long each. 5a, 5a+, 5b.
- One 2-pitch route, alpine grade 3B/5+.
Short routes are equipped with expansion bolts, multi-pitch route has good expansion bolts and some old pitons too.
Best conditions: Dry. Wait for 1-2 consecutive dry and then go. Can get hot during summer days.
Helmets, harnesses, climbing shoes, chalk bags, abseil device of your choice, one (better two) 60m ropes, 10 quick draws, 4-6 slings for building anchors and tying into protection.
Sources of water: there’s a stream near by, but I doubt it’s very clean. Better bring water from town with you.
From Brasov: drive on E60 road passing towns of Timisu de Jos, Timisu de Sus, Predeal, Azuga, Busteni, then you’ll arrive to Sinaia. Map.
In both cases at some point you will have 2 road variants when you enter Sinaia. If you are coming from Bucharest, you will have a road going straight and a bit downwards and a road going left-ish and a bit upwards. Take the upwards and left-ish one. If you are coming from Brasov, take the right-ish one so you have forest on your right and houses on the left.
Once you reach Sinaia, number your round-abouts. Go straight on first one, and then turn left and up on the second round about (if you come from direction of Bucharest) or right (if coming from Brasov). You should be going up following winding town street, passing by: Sinaia monastery, Furnica hotel complex, then you’ll have another round about, go straight ahead (not left, and not downish-right, but straight and up. Then some more winding, and then you will arrive to the first left turn, where there will be a stone paved road deviating from main asphalt street, a stone wall with some large posters on it, including one with “Attention – bears!”. This is the limit of Bucegi national park. Street view. Pass by and go further till you reach another place with a gravel road deviating from the asphalt. This is the road to the crag. You can either leave your car here on a grassy spot by the road, or go a bit further up on the paved road till you reach first head-pin turn. Leave your car here and continue on foot, taking the smaller gravel road that deviates towards left-n-up. Walk 5-7 minutes, and you will see a lime stone cliff with a tiny cave-chapel. This is your crag.
Accommodation: no overnight stay necessary.
Where to eat: restaurant of Bucegi hotel, Cabana Schiori, restaurant of Anda hotel.
Short sport climbing routes. Easy slabby face climbing.
The 3 routes are color coded (blobs on rock), from left to right: blue (5a), yellow (5a+), red (5b). You’ll find them at the leftmost part of the crag, vis-a-vis a wooden bench. Protection is quite good – relatively new expansion bolts, good frequency. This makes these 3 routes a perfect playground for some one who wants to lead for the first time or is new to rock climbing and wants to top rope.
Leader should have 8 quick draws for each route (just in case, I can not recall the exact number of bolts on each route). If you brought 2 ropes, you can put up 2 routes simultaneously.
Although the Blue route is graded the easiest, I found yellow route a bit more logic and easy to climb for beginners. The red route is the hardest and has a traverse to the right that may seem challenging to a beginner.
Hornul Suspendat (The Suspended Chimney), the multi-pitch route.
Hornul Suspendat is a 2-pitch route with alpine grade 3B and crux graded 5+ UIAA (or 5a French). This technically grades as an alpine route, but it is vertical enough, so we put it into “climbing” basket.
The route is in the middle of the crag, to the right from the 3 sport climbing routes. You have to walk up a small hill of loose limestone gravel to reach it. At the beginning there’s name and difficulty of the route pained on rock with large red letters.
Although the route has 2 pitches, we have done it in 3. Normally one would do it as a rope of 2, or with a leader and 2 seconds (with 2 semi-ropes). We have done in an unorthodox fashion as a team of 3 and 2 9,8mm ropes. First person led, then second followed having a second rope tied to the harness (basically dragging it behind). Then that second rope was used to bring up the last member of the group.
Leader should have 10 quick draws, 3-4 slings for building anchors, abseil device. Each second should have his/her own sling, a couple of carabiners and an abseil device.
First pitch starts off very easy. You start by scrambling up some ledges with a lot of loose rock. In general, this route is full of loose rock, so be on the look out for stuff flying by or into you. You will find the first pitons and bolts to clip into soon enough. Continue easy climbing till you reach a belay station with 2 solid bolts, shaded by 2 small trees (number 11 on the picture above). We used this station to build an anchor and bring up the third team member who then took over the lead. But you can just as well continue up to the second belay station.
From here on the climbing gradually gets harder. First there’s a crack with bolts on the right side of it. To reach bolts you need to stem and open wide:).
Then there’s some more interesting crack and slabby face climbing. Second belay station is another pair of solid bolts on a vertical slab. On the right-n-up of it there’s a comfy platform in a tiny cave-like hole for a second to rest at. A large crack stems up right above the “cave”, and there’s one more crack between that one and the slab with bolts. This is an actual start of a second pitch. The hardest one. You can choose to climb directly up the small-holds almost vertical slab above the belay station. Or you can climb up the crack that goes up from the “rest cave”. A wider crack between the slab and the crack on the right is another possibility. Then you’ll go up an almost vertical face. There will be some small grassy ledges to rest at from time to time. But in general, 5+ grade is well deserved we would say.
Finally you top out on a flat grassy platform with a final belay station. From here you can either go down the trail that you will see behind the platform (some cables and cordelette there). or you can abseil. 2 60m ropes tied together will take you all the way down to the gravel slope. With one rope you will abseil either to the start of the second pitch or to the small trees (where we switched leads) and then make another abseil – all the way down.