December in Britain can be dreary! With flights at a mere £100 and a forecast of a sunny 20 degrees Gran Canaria looked appealing. A family holiday with a beach priority but enough rock to keep insanity at bay. However, we were met by some of the worst weather on Gran Canaria in years, torrential rain and gale force winds. Schools were closed and buildings were blown down. In true British style I opted to climb on this day!
Local star Chris offered to show me around. Chris is one of the nicest guys I have met, totally psyched, but selfless; an uncommon combination of characteristics for a climber! Despite the weather Chris took me out, battling through conditions to find any dry rock available. Amazingly we found 2 routes, a 7b and an 8c, though the 7b was actually half wet and probably 7c but a better warm up for it, especially considering what was coming next. Chris had already redpointed the incredible Meneo Canario, a soaring arête of rounded basalt, an exercise in friction and balance. It would be at home in the trophy cabinet of the best gritstone arêtes, except it’s bigger by far and continuous forever. Similar to grit, a long reach was invaluable and the flash didn’t come. One to come back for.
It was just a day of rain and life turned normal in Gran Canaria. Sandy beaches and some awesome walking led to a relaxed team and another trip out with Chris, this time to El Cruzadito. Things were much more like it here, with awesome stone cast in shadow and a gentle breeze taking the sweat off from the dusty walk in. Great routes and good movement! I blew the flash of Andujar Power but nabbed it first redpoint. Tough at 8b+ but awesome, in fact in a way I was glad to have fallen, as one go on a route this good would not have been enough. I was like a kid in a sweet shop, throwing myself at routes, getting some, missing others, but what did it matter? A tick, or a tick with a fall? Who cares or even remembers, only me, and then actually that’s unlikely. Perhaps I should have been saving some, because for sure I’ll be back. But then no need to save them really, this was just a taster of the climbing; the whole island is made of rock!
Look out for the new guidebook due February – check ClimbinCanarias.com for a full selection of pictures and photographer details.