Lechenkif Crag Rock climbing9 routes in crag
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It has it all, 30 meter sport routes, pumpy boulders and a wide variety of highballs.
It is located 40 minutes from the republic’s capital of Nalchik and is on most days easily driven to in most any type of vehicle. The rock type is Tuff which allows for a great variety of holds but tends to be on the soft side. There are cracks, crimps, sloppers, bulges, wacos, pockets both passive and positive big and small, pinches, off-widths and the list goes on and on. The area is still being developed and has endless potential. Parts of the crag are climbable most days all of the year due to it's unique placement in a small valley and the south facing face of the main cliff. In summer you'll find routes that are shaded and cool. In spring and fall you'll find routes that are overhung (keeps you dry) as well as in direct sun to keep you warm. In winter if the sun is shining the south facing wall will warm up to a perfect 65* of quiet calm. All sport routes are well protected and most have stainless steel bolts and belay stations. Trad climbing is limitless with the only barrier being your ability to push your limits and the occasional loose boulder the size of a VW Beatle. Marked routes are clean and safe but climb cautiously at other unmarked locations.
The Crag is easily driven to on most days by car although in winter and spring the road can become impassable by car requiring a four wheel drive. It's located 5 kilometers past the village of Lechenky on a well traveled dead end gravel road. The gravel road is 8 kilometers long and you'll know when you get to the crag because you'll narrow into a small valley with the wall 40 meters to your right. In Russia there are very few places in the woods, hills or mountains that are off limits due to private property and those that there are tend to be well marked.
Drive up, park and walk the 40 meters or so to the wall. The hardest things about the approach (in the summer) is the growth of the very healthy stinging nettle which locals say is good for you. The plant life grows to Jurassic park proportions.
Where to stay
Nalchik (the republic’s capital) has many modestly priced hotels and sanatoriums (the Russian equivalent of a hotel/hostel) but camping at the crag on climbing days is preferred. There are 3 camping sites each of which allows for different groups sizes. Closest to the crag will host 3-4 tents. Just down from the crag (perhaps 500 meters) is our second campsite which can host 5-6 tents and still further down the road (approximately 2 kilometers) is our third campsite which can hold 20 – 30 tents.
The biggest thing we can ask is that you keep the trash picked up and use common sense when finding a place to use the bathroom. Bolting is best left to those who have the experience and equipment but help in the process is always appreciated. Chalk when needed but use sparingly if possible.
This area was first bolted by an unknown Russian whom I believe lives in the Krasnodar area. He made some homemade hangers in his shop, bought some anchors from the local market and started drilling. He set 2 routes and one traverse. Many of the hangers are still hanging on but plans to remove them are in process. 4 years ago another groups of climbers found the area and began developing it. There are now 26 routes and counting with endless potential. Every time we look up we see another great route. We are now also in the process of building a 200 meter zip-line that will span the valley giving each person a thrilling ride 60 meters off the valley floor.
Check out what is happening in Lechenkif Crag.