Friday, June 08, 2007

Sport climbing on La Mola

Last night I met up with Ferran again and we went sport climbing at a crag called La Soleia. It is situated on a hill called La Mola, just near Sabadell, a city about 20 miles from Barcelona, and is in a really beautiful location. The climbing is excellent but slightly strange, because all the routes start up a band of rather poor chossy conglomerate for a few metres, before reaching the main band of grey conglomerate. The latter is some of the finest rock I have climbed on, a really rough texture and loads of pockets; I like pockets, they are generally very positive and you can wrap your fingers around them and crank.

The strangest thing is that, in one sector at least, the lower band of rock is so devoid of holds that it makes all the routes much harder for the first few metres, as the decent rock above tends to be better furnished with holds (if a bits steeper). So the resourceful Catalans have sorted the problem out by chipping lines of holds in the lower band - the size and spread set strictly in keeping with the difficulty of the upper section of course. On a couple of lines they have actually bolted on a series of plastic climbing-wall-holds. Can you imagine such a thing happening in Britain?! The end result seems to work though, because rather than all the lines having to climb something 7c-ish on 5m of rubbish rock before finishing up 25m of something 7a-ish up decent rock, the routes become a lot more balanced and more people get to enjoy the good climbing above.

Anyway after warming up Ferran and I set to work on a 6c and couple of 6c+s. One of them apparently gets 7a in some guides and I was quite pleased to onsight it, but I was so tired afterwards then I failed miserably on the last one which is supposed to be easier. I was so weak at the top that I couldn't hold on to clip, and had to make a chain of three quickdraws to elongate the belay!

Djanira is coming back today, which I'm very pleased about, and then Cathy + new boyfriend arrive (very late) this evening. Should be good!

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