The next day was much brighter. The clouds had gone, the sky was blue, everything was set for a great day. Driving baby car up the windy valley to El Balco de l'ermita, we were reminded at every turn at how much potential still remains in this incredible place. The day was spent onsighting and flashing some of the areas classic routes, including Laura (the best route I have climbed in Margalef) and El Vuite Art. As the sun set we joined friends in the bar for a birthday drink – a fine end to the day...
But this wasn’t really the end! It was my birthday, and on ones birthday, one must party... thats just the rule!
Barcelona, like a jewel in the sun...
After a good old “knees up” in MOOG, Thursday was spent relaxing in the city before joining Jaume to a video presentation in the nearby city of Vic. Fixe had kindly allowed Caro and I to gate-crash their party, and after a quick tour of the factory (which was uncannily similar to Wild Country’s back home) we sat down to watch David Palmada high step his way up some muddy desert choss. I dont have so much “aid” experience, but the impressions I get are as follows:
1. It is very very slow
2. It can be very very scary
3. It is super geeky – lots of fiddling in small, weird gear, equalising knobs etc etc
So basically, its like trad climbing... sort of... ;p
We were all tired from the night before and a long day, but just before leaving, someone uttered the famous last words “do you guys fancy a quick beer” – which for some reason was soon followed by a “yes” from my mouth. I should have known better...
We stayed in one of the most beautiful apartments I have ever seen, full of class, beauty, modern gadgets and ancient art. The apartment belonged to a friend of Jaume, Xavier, and the following morning we drove the short way to Savassona to meet him for a day of bouldering.
If you can read Spanish, there is more info here, or keep on reading below if you are a language dunce like me!
Savasaona is a beautiful tranquil spot 1 ½ hours north east of Barcelona, where ancient ruins and sandstone boulders sit peacefuly in a small forest. Xavier is Papa Local of the area and he gave me the best tour I could have wished for. I saw all the hard boulders, all the projects, managed to repeat a few of them and even establish my own FA – a lovely highball arete that had unfortunatley seen the destruction of Xaviers knee a short while before.
There are two problems in particular that really stood out to me and will have to wait for another day. The first, La Madame, is a short bulging boulder, begining with compression pinches and finishing with the most disgusting of mantles – a fine effort from Edu Marin! The second, Maria – Alba, is a 15m slabbly 9a from no other than the Machine himself, Ramon! Yes, you heard that right, 15m, slabby, 9a!!!
I will be back...