Last night we wanted to go climbing but work and chores delayed us til past 8pm, which is probably a little too late to head to the crags in May, so we decided to check out what indoor walls Barcelona has to offer.
The two major ones are La Fuixarda, an old road tunnel up on Montjuic that has been converted into a (very overhanging!) wall, and which is free and lit up at night; and Climbat, a 'more conventional' indoor bouldering wall not far from the city centre. We went to check out the latter (not realising it was bouldering only - fortunately the rope was hidden in a bag so I didn't look like a proper twit).
The first impression one gets is that it's small. When you're used to the super-walls of London, a single-storey bouldering room, about a quarter of the size of Mile End, seems quite claustrophobic. And expensive - €12 for a session! That's around 8 quid, exchange-rate fans. So, pricier yet smaller than Mile End; not a great start.
Spend a bit of time there though, and you begin to warm to the place. The staff are friendly and went out of their way to explain the way the problems/grading worked. Like Mile End and every other sensible wall, all problems were sensibly graded on a colour scale, but better still the colouring is consistent for all panels i.e. green problem uses only green holds, and all green problems are roughly the same grade. Very simple and no confusion. There is a very strict no-loose-chalk rule (only balls allowed) which I was worried about because I only had my super -8-euro-Decathlon-mega-chalk-refill in my bag, but it turns out that I didn't feel the need for chalk at all - not once in a 2.5 hour session. Why? Air conditioning!! It is absolute revelation to climb on plastic in cool, dry conditions, the friction was superb.
The whole place reminded me of a slighty larger, air-conditioned version of the bouldering room at Dynamic Rock in Swansea, which is no bad thing. Yet, at €12 a session, and with the long summer evenings approaching, I can't myself spending too much time there in the coming months.