This summer some friends and I went on a trip to Rodellar, Spain, where we spent 5 weeks climbing the incredible walls and enjoying the mega chill life style of a dirt bag climber in Europe.
Rodellar, Spain. How do I even begin to articulate the magical place known as Rodellar? Long days at the base of a never ending overhang in the hot sun followed by long nights crowded around a pool table, an ever-flowing bottle of wine in hand, to keep out of the pouring rain. Every language you could think of being spoken all at the same time. The daily trips through the one street town to get to the small market where we would stock up on peach rings, coke and freshly baked bread. One rest day may consist of simply reading on a balcony overlooking the most majestic rock faces imaginable, sipping hot coffee in the hot sun. Whereas another may include washing your hair and shaving your legs in the sink outside of the bathroom because your too broke to pay for a shower token, then hand washing the clothes you’ve been wearing for weeks in that same sink, and leaving them out to dry here and there.
The day in the life of a climber in Rodellar: wake up at 12ish, breakfast by 12:30 (cereal), climbing by 2, lunch by 5, (peanut butter and nutela sandwich) home by 10, dinner by 10:30 (pasta), in bed by 2. Then again, and again.
Though we were not used to it, the 8am wake up call was worth it. It’s still cool on these mornings and there are only 2 or 3 people scattered around the picnic tables in Kalandraka. Everyone is grumpy and tired. We eat and make our lunches in silence as we prepare ourselves for the hike ahead of us. Our legs are not used to an up hill hike and we are drenched by the time we finally take the last up hill step. We stop to take a breath and admire the wondrous view, nothing but beautiful landscapes for miles, or should I say kilometers. After a quick drink of water, we're on back our way. The remainder of the hike is down hill on shifting rocks. At times your heart may skip a beat when you step on a rock you though was solid but ends up shifting as you lift your other foot off the ground. When you finally reach the end of the trail a smile is inevitable. Though your exausted and sweating, the view is unimaginable. As you stand dripping, you look up at a perfect chunk of rock going up at a 45° angle for what seems like forever, with a perfect black tufa running up the middle. Beneath this magnificent slab of climbing heaven are perfect pools of the clearest blue water you’ve ever seen. Hot and exhausted we strip down and leap into the brain freezing water. When your whole body goes under it feels like your chest has imploded and you will never breath again, your scull feels like its crushing in on your brain and its hard to focus on anything but the whoops and hollers that are coming from your mouth. When you get out it's as if the hike never happened. Every muscle in your body feels brand new, every thought clear as the sky above you. And you’ve never been so psyched to climb. The best part about Picsinieta is that you could have the worst climbing day of your life and its still the best day of the trip. It’s is hands down the most beautiful, pristine, enchanting, wonderfully perfect places I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Once the wall goes into the sun, it's unclimbable but we arn't ready to leave the majestic area, so we swim. Sometimes you just sit in the sun for hours reading. When you're in La Picsinieta it doesn’t matter what your doing, your always in a good mood.