With a perfect day presented to us yesterday, Simon and I got out fairly early to go and do some easy to moderate route climbing at one of the Oliana area’s oldest crags. We had been to Coll de Nagra a few days previous, however the weather sent us packing. The sun was now on our backs and we knew this was a great opportunity to get our Spain heads on. Driving through the village is really a step back in time and really shows you rural Spain in a very different way.
Arriving at the crag I noticed there were a lot of cars and when I looked at the cliffs there were no climbers…….where were the? I thought. The crag is very spread out and there are a few pinnacles separated by some open forest. Its a very beautiful place to be. The town and farmlands below as you walk in are just gorgeous.
Anyways back to the climbing part……….we arrived at our destination and identified the routes using our trusty guide book and chose our warm up line. I munched down a Vegemite sandwich as I was a little peckish. Hadn’t had Vegemite since I was in Munich with Erin and Paul. It was AWESOME! My lunch reminded me of my school days as a kid. Great flashback indeed.
The first route was a 6a and I thought yep lets warm up on that! Well it turned out to be a bit of an epic. Its was nails and the runout’s were worthy of a total freak out. Slab climbing is tenuous at best but when theres runout’s involved, its a massive head fuck. Thats where the adventure ended and the fear began. The second route was a hard boulder problem off the ground to some cruisy climbing for five metres and then another slab with a couple of heady runout’s. Great start to the day indeed……….where is this all going? I thought.
Then the rain came so we headed for the town of Oliana to get some fuel and hope it wasn’t raining at another crag nearby. There seems to be a rain shadow in the valley we are staying. If it rains at Oliana, we have great weather here and vice versa. Its bit crazy I know, but it is the mountains. We headed back to Coll de Nagra. The rain had stopped so we went climbing again.
The first route was real adventure climbing on a conglomerate wall. 30 metres of stunning and varied terrain indeed. Simon and I both loved the route.I think the word “sensational” was thrown about a fair bit afterwards. The I put the draws on the 6b. This was one of the most technical and amazing routes I have climbed in quite a while. The grade doesn’t matter one iota………this route was just absolutely committing and sustained from the ground to the anchors. It was balancy and on small holds on a vertical face to a slightly overhanging wall.
It was a memorable battle…………..