Thursday, 20 June 2013

Riglos, Spain

Well we have just returned from a fantastic trip to Spain where we checked out the incredible Riglos Towers. Nor Sam or myself have ever done anything like this before other than a couple 4 pitch routes out in Buis Les Barronnies about 6 years ago. So it felt rather intimidating on our first day when we walked up and stood underneath Fiesta De Los Biceps the UBER classic 9 pitch jug fest.

We had 5 days in total to try and climb as many routes as prossible in preparation for Sam’s big Canada trip where he has planned with 3 others to climb the almighty Lotus Flower. Yes I’m rather jealous!!!!

So our first day was rather chilled and consisted of checking out the routes, sorting out our campsite and buying enough food for the rest of the trip. After seeing the line of chalk that’s winds its way right to the top that being Fiesta, we both just couldn’t wait to just get on the wall and start pulling some moves.
Back down to the Campground for a big meal and to get kit sorted.

Alarm was set at 6am and we had aimed to be on the wall for 7am and surprisingly that actually happened ;) Sam was up first then I followed and so we went up and up and OMG what a BLOODY brilliant route it was. It has to be said that while leading some of the pitches it was hard to believe that Alex Honnold was in the same position yet he soloing…WHAT THE HELL???? It made me feel rather queasy at pitch 7. Anyway we climbed the whole route in about 2.5 hours and had a well-earned lunch break at the top. This for the both of us was just such a great moment to have finally climbed this classic well know big wall route. We eventually found the path down and a beer was waiting for us back at the campsite.

This route can also be seen from a long way away with its chalky line that climbs straight through the steepest section to the right of Fiesta. We had planned the evening before to start similar time to yesterday which again actually happened ;) I went first this time and Sam followed and so we went up and after a few pitches found ourselves at a rather nice 2m wide ledge. Was luxury to be able to chill out for a bit and take off the ol’ climbing boots. We were not quite as relaxed as we were on Fiesta as we knew that the hardest pitch was the last at 7b. We punched on and before both gaining the top of pitch 8 we heard this loud noise and a shout for below us. At first we didn’t quite know what had just happened but that’s when we saw this bright green parachute open up which scared the shit out of the both of us. What happened next was rather Frightening, the guy who had just jumped had got completely tangled in his chute which meant he couldn’t steer away from the cliff so within a few seconds he was thrown back and smacked the wall (super hard!!) once and then unfortunate hit it again knocking of rather large rocks which echoed as they hit the ground but luckily his chute got caught the second time and so he was left hanging at around 200m, thankfully he was ALIVE but obviously not in good shape. There was nothing that Sam or myself could do other than making sure we were both safe. It was my turn to lead the last pitch at (7b) and after just seeing this guy nearly kill himself in front of us really shook me up but managed to climb through and not think about the 300m drop below me and the hanging base jumper to the right. Sam followed and we completed the route in 3hours. It wasn’t quite as rewarding as yesterday but we were just happy to be off the wall for that day. A helicopter was called in and after 6 solid hours they eventually got the guy down and flew off quickly to the nearest hospital. I’m not sure how badly injured he was but one can only imagine……… L
DAY 4 (Rodellar)
After quite a spicy session up on the wall yesterday we decided to have a lie in and hit up Rodellar for a few hours. This was a great idea and proved to be a rather nice change of location. Its only 1 hour drive from Riglos so perfect for a few hours of sport climbing. We didn’t want to get on anything long so checked out the Ali baba cave and managed to onsight the classic but short ‘City No’ (7c+) and the Sam climbed it too. We then headed around the corner and I made an onsight of ‘Familia Manson’ (8a+) Great route!! And then finished the session with ‘Rebelion en le granja’ (8a). It was a great couple of hours and its yet another place that I must spend some more time at.

A few hours climbing at Rodellar did the trick and we were back in Riglos psyched for the next route which was China Town. This line follows the left hand arĂȘte right the way to the last pitch before finishing up this vague groove leading to the summit. We climbed well but both felt rather spaced out and tired that morning. IMPORTANT NOTIICE – this route felt like the hardest out of the ones we had done before even though it was graded easier. Some rather steep ground and long run out pitches made it quite a full on and scary experience. Towards the end the wind had picked up and as Sam headed up for the last pitch which was a long one, I was left not being able to hear a thing which wasn’t ideal as you both need to know exactly what’s going on. Eventually I worked out that Sam was safe and was taking in the rope which mean I could take him off and get ready………The last pitch felt pretty hard especially with a ruck sake. I made it and sat feeling rather exhausted on the top.

The end of the trip came around pretty quickly but as they say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. At this point we both felt pretty wasted but happy with our success on the routes before. Mosquitos is one of the easier routes that follows this big flake line that crosses Fiesta/Zulu and some others before heading straight up and into the blue coloured rock. The climb was fantastic and for me the most fun out of them all. Some really nice exposed pitches and a perfect ledge for a quick lunch stop half way up. We walked in, climbed and were back at the campsite within 3 hours. Time to pack up and a quick swim were in order and then off to Zaragoza to catch our flight. It had been a really great trip and I won’t ever forget how amazing it was to be climbing on those towers. We will both be back for sure but for the climbing not base jumping ;).
On the back of this trip Sam leaves for Canada for 1 month to try and climb the Lotus Flower with 3 others. This should be an extraordinary expedition on an 800m wall of 19 pitches in the Cirque of the unclimbables on the border of the Yukon and North West Territories. Good luck to them all!!
Whilst Sam is away I will be getting my ass in gear and then maybe kicked for the upcoming Senior Lead competitions in Chamonix and Briancon.

Here is a video of our trip to Riglos  – thanks and Enjoi ;)

1 comment:

  1. what was the camping situation? I cant find any official campground.