Thursday, 22 January 2015

Spain for New Year

It seems like the last few years I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in Spain and New Year’s is the time to go. Last Year I was up in Catalonia near Barcelona climbing at the famous Siurana crags. This year however I fancied somewhere different and a place I’ve never been too. 

So along with Ted and Haydn we decided to fly out to Alicante meet up with Jose and then drive into the hills to the tiny little picturesque village of Chulilla. This is another famous climbing area of Spain with huge limestone gorge stretching for a few kilometres with hundreds of sport routes of all grades. The routes were very long, on average about 35/40m. Some even over 50m in one rope length so stamina was the name of the game here! We spent about a week in total there climbing as many of the classic lines as possible. Mainly just having a go at everything that looked good, onsight, ground up and if you fell off straight to the ground. So it made it a good challenge! Temperatures were freezing in the shade and boiling in the sun which made it rather interesting at times! Highlights were onsighting some very long 8a’s and a load of classic 7b+ -7c+’s.

Tequilla Sunrise 7c+ 

Beautiful village of Chulilla 

Chulilla castle walls 

Mid way up a monster 8a

Chulilla gorge

Cactus and spanish villages 

Ted happy after his 8a+

From here we then drove down towards Valencia where we met up with Gaz Parry who lives out there. We were lucky enough to then join him at one of his local cliffs that he has recently developed. While he was trying his very difficult project up an amazing arĂȘte, we got stuck into some of the other routes at the cliff. One route involved an amazing long, tuffa formation which felt like you were climbing up a tree! The other a stunning diagonal feature about 30m long, which could be seen from the road. It was great to be getting some very early ascents of the routes that only a handful of people had seen.
Beautiful countryside

Cheers Ted me lad

Jose underneath Gaz's route


The final destination of the trip was around the city of Murcia which was the local area of my great friend Jose who I spent my time in South Africa with. It was great having someone so local who knew all the best places to visit. We checked out 3 very different cliffs La Boveda, Mula and Ferrari all of which had a very unique style of climbing. The cliffs were stunning the views were even better! It was an awesome trip to a beautiful part of Spain and we didn’t see a drop of rain in 2 weeks!

Van life!

Me and Jose

Another beauty!

El Boveda

No words :-)

I’m back home now and ready for some hard grit this winter! 
The First weekend turned out quite successful with two very good ascents. The first one being the incredibly stunning arete Beau Geste E7 6c up at Froggat Edge and the other a modern classic of Tom Randalls Nah'han E7/8 6b at Gardoms edge. Conditions were almsot perfect if one could keep the fingers warm as it was freezing! Hoping for more days like this ahead. Looking forward to some big plans in 2015!

High up on Beau Geste

Into the sanctuary of the crack

Taking some airtime!

Beau Geste Crux

Beau Geste Ascent 

Snowy Peak

Nah'han crux