Friday, 2 October 2009

hangovers and overhangs

And so we have returned (almost on time, no missing planes this time!) after having got to Valencia airport ridiculously early and spending several hours sat outside playing cards on my DMM Courier bag, which was extremely useful both as hand luggage and when out climbing! To be honest, after the start was so eventful, the rest of the trip seemed a little tame, with climbing every day and beautiful weather on all but the first and last days!

Albarracin is still fairly new, but a wonderful bouldering spot with many easy comparisons to Fontainebleau. We were actually camping at an altitude higher than Snowdon's Peak, as we were deep in the heart of the Iberian mountains so as a consequence, the nights were pretty cold. For anyone making the trip, i would thoroughly recommend a down jacket (my Rab Neutrino Endurance did a sublime job) and a nice warm sleeping bag. As for the boulders themselves, they were too numerous to count, still with many sleepy projects for local climbers or those willing to walk.

We did take a slightly softer option on this trip and decided to camp on a site, as there is no camping in the forest. There is only one site that i know of in the area, but with a small shop (that sells gas) and a bar, not to mention running water and hot showers, we were glad we did.

So, the boulders! Similarly again to font, the area is split in into different areas and the eBloc bouldering guide was very clear and useful. All told, we managed to visit six different areas and I managed a total of 66 problems! More photos will follow shortly.

Unlike the boulderers promised land in France, the boulders in Albarracin are strewn within several big gorges, and we did wonder at the possibility of trad climbing. For those crazy enough to try this, bare in mind that the rock is still quite loose in places. The other major difference are the hideously steep roofs but with big pockets, there are problems of many varying grades. There are often climbers from all over Europe there too, so extra pads are often available, as i found out on a brilliant 20ft fall onto my backside. However, if you see a crazy Englishman making tea at the bottom of the boulder, it's probably me... Thank you Jetboil!

So, the trip was a huge success and i would thoroughly recommend a visit from all. Although a little more expensive than Font, it was a nice welcome change, working parts of body and mind that otherwise wouldn't have been challenged.

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