The climbing media has for the last few years been primarily focused on one area, northern Spain. I guessed it was because during this time the level of sport climbing was been pushed ever higher by the likes of Sharma & Ondra, and that girls were seemingly hiking 9a’s… no offense but i don’t think ANYONE should hike 9a!
What makes this place so special?
This summer a friend spent some time in Siurana and returned with tall tales of the amazing climbing. Ok ok… so I guess I need to go down and see what all the fuss is about… not too mention the weather for central Europe was predicted to be rather shity the next few weeks. So without any specific endurance training and coming off a broken heel, Kaddi, Daniel (the friend) and I booked our tickets – 3 1/2 weeks.
Two weeks later on a perfect Fall day we found ourselves driving up the winding road leading up to the fortress town of Siurana, apparently the last town to be recaptured from the Muslim invasion.
The crags are very impressive with some incredibly beautiful, long, hard lines! We had decided to sample a few areas during our trip so only had 5 days for the 50 plus crags on offer. We tried to focus on climbing more rather than hard but even so we only scratched the surface!
After 5 days on we needed to rest and used this time to drive to Margalef as well as resupply in Falset (note: shopping outside of the cities is really tricky). We spent the rest of the day checking out some of the crags on offer, which we ended up not even going back to, even though they were AMAZING – there is just too much?! As we were finding out each area has enough climbing for a lifetime.
During our stay in Margalef we really enjoyed eating the yummybears (Strawberry Tree) as we called them, that grow wild everywhere and are delicious, making tea and food out of the wild rosemary, also growing everywhere, and picking up the almonds that were missed during the harvest.
After 5 more days of climbing we were once again buggered, and again used our rest day to drive to the next area, this time bouldering in Albarracín. We moved into the guesthouse of Ivan & Rosie, locals I had met previously in Rocklands, with 2 friends from Freiburg that were already there. It was a really good time going out bouldering together, as we would run around climbing up every cool line, no matter the grade, and at night we would either go out to the bar or have drinks & cook together at the house.
The rock makes this place a dream to climb as it is soft like in Font with mantles and slopers but at the same time has really good friction with incut crimps and dynamic movement like in Rocklands.
From one day to the next the weather went from perfect to a complete white-out with wet snow covering everything! I for one was content to sit inside our cozy house and give my body some much needed R&R… but after 2 days of waiting the others had come up with a plan.
Chulilla, I had never even heard of it before but sitting up at the lodge with the view of the gorge below we all knew this place was going awesome! The next 2 days we threw ourselves at the 30-40m routes but most of the time, I at least, got spat off just below the chains with burning forearms. This place is an amazing venue and I hope to go back the one day with more stamina as those routes are all 5 star!
We still had one more day left there but on the walk-out Kaddi suggested going back up to Albarracín. Daniel & I were both totally blown so it was fine with us 🙂 The next day Kaddi & I tried hard on our respective projects of the day but we left a little energy for one last night in the bar – the brandy is AS good as South Africa!
This trip has opened Pandora’s Box…