I had a very good trip to Spain, despite much more unsettled conditions than usual. The first week was very wet, then it improved for a time before another massive dump of rain, which left the crags pretty wet. However, the weather was very mild which made living in the van much more pleasant. It also meant we were able to climb in the shade which was a bonus. We started at Rodellar but after one day the weather broke so we did a bit of driving about, spending an afternoon at the football pitch crag at Santa Linya, then a day struggling in the cave itself, before heading up to Bruixes. The weather was pretty foul so we spent a day in the hotel before venturing up to the crag the next day. Conditions weren't good but we climbed anyway, despite the smeg and the water running down all the finishes.
November 2011 - Spain - Karin Magog
Amazingly the north crag (sector Regina) survived this first onslaught and the following week when things settled down we headed up there. This is a great crag for those operating in the 7c+-8a+ range, with all the routes being 28-35m long but pretty damn steep as well. I enjoy the long routes but the steepness was quite intimidating, with big, burly moves between largely good holds. I found the routes were taking me 2 days, usually going down 3rd red-pt. I ticked the awesome El Repte, the crimpy no.11, and the cruxy La Diva, all 8a. The 'slab' crux (it's actually overhanging still!) of La Diva was pretty challenging for the short, involving holding a particularly poor hold that those with longer arms just used as an intermediate. Unfortunately, the crag didn't fair so well after the second dump of rain and I wasted a couple of days getting shut down on routes due to wet holds.
I'd particularly like to go back and climb Alone, an amazing endurance 8a+, that unfortunately got really wet in the middle so I couldn't red-pt it. I persuaded Steve to try Bruixes for a few days as the sun was now out and was drying back the seepage quite nicely, although it did make it pretty hot to climb. I jumped on Flix Flax, an 8a+ that I'd tried briefly last Feb before my heel injury prevented me from climbing. I was really struggling on the big move near the top, but managed to sort it via a very deep lock with a big drop knee, to catch the poor foothold then I popped from there to the good slot. Once I'd unlocked this sequence I did the route first red-pt the next day, despite the blazing sun. I couldn't bear the thought of waiting all day for the shade. For my last few days we headed back to Rodellar as I was keen to try Wiskyri (8a) which I thought would be dry. It was and most of it felt easy, however, there was a hard move involving a big rock-over from a poor side-pull that kept spitting me off. In the end I waited for the shade and what a difference. The move was still hard but do-able and the rest of the route went down okay. Hard work sitting around for a few hours for that perfect hour before dark, worth it in the end though. I then grabbed a lift to Barcelona airport with Tony and Murdo (cheers guys), leaving Steve to head down to Chulilla to meet up with Eddie. He's not back till 21st December, lucky bugger!