It's been a while since my last blog...I've been fighting elbow tendonitis all summer and my spirits were low for much of the time. I finally started getting the injury under wraps towards the beginning of September and have spent the last month and a half easing back into heavy sport climbing. I did, however, manage to get in a great trip at the end of the summer despite the tendonitis. By climbing only an hour or two per day and not trying anything too hard, I got in some great days at a special place in Spain: Santa Gadea in northern Spain is about 1.5 hrs from Bilbao. Cool breezes of the North Atlantic allow this place to be climbable in full summer.
Santa Gadea sandstone bouldering - Elizabeth Hardwick
The main attraction is a huge field of sandstone boulders of super high quality (think a mix of Gritstone and Rocktown) with everything from V0- to Vhard, and probably only about half of the doable lines have been established yet. Plus there are two satellite areas to change things up a bit within 30 minutes: Los Tuerces (huge limestone area with diverse problems from pocketed roofs to 45 degree walls with slopers and pinches, tons of potential for further development) and Resconorio (a super high quality small sandstone area with mostly easy and moderate problems).
Each of these areas is in a beautiful setting with few other people around - mostly wide open pastureland with flat, grassy landings.
We made the trip into a multi-sport affair, with terrific sport climbing (this is Spain afterall), surfing at any number of great beaches along the north coast, and world class multipitch in the Picos de Europa all within about 1-2 hours.
With my elbow on the mend but not quite out of the woods, I constantly have to remind myself to push a bit less than my psyche is urging me to. I can't wait to head to Getu Valley in China for the Petzl RocTrip - we fly out bright and early tomorrow!