Evening light at l'Hermitage. Photo- Calum Muskett
Evening light at l’Hermitage. Photo- Calum Muskett

I’ve just returned from a fantastic few weeks in the Spanish sport climbing Mecca of Margalef. Despite having been on many climbing trips, mainly multi pitch trad or alpine climbing this was my first sport climbing holiday and great fun.
I travelled over to Spain with a group of friends from all over Britain meeting up with other friends already out there. Our first destination was Margalef, a small village nestled in between two valleys full of amazing climbing on conglomerate cliffs. There is enough climbing here to keep you occupied for a lifetime and there are certainly twice as many undeveloped areas out there as developed ones. The climbing is often on positive pockets varying between full handholds and single finger pockets on a plethora of different angles; it’s slightly difficult to get used to at first but very enjoyable and aesthetic when you do.

Dave Rudkin climbing another pockety line. Photo- Calum Muskett
Dave Rudkin climbing another pockety line. Photo- Calum Muskett

Dr Feelgood, a classic 8a in Margalef. Photo- Calum Muskett
Dr Feelgood, a classic 8a in Margalef. Photo- Calum Muskett

I only tried on-sighting or flashing routes as I don’t have the patience to repeatedly fall off the same route- especially on holiday! It was really fun climbing like this as in Wales you end up having to red-point sport routes or else you run out of things to do. I was astonished at how relatively poor my stamina was for resting and climbing long routes, some of the holds I fell off were jugs! My favourite venues in Margalef were Fenestra for its variety of styles of climbing and its northerly aspect, important for hot days and the Hermitage, a beautiful venue at the head of a valley with some long routes on perfect rock beginning off a ledge.

Rest days were equally enjoyable eating food, learning mathematical theorems off Blair and Tony (!) and playing a game of cards called ****head which often decided upon who was making brews or doing the dishes!

We also made a quick trip up North to an area called Terradets with the justifiably famous crag Les Bruixes. This is an amazing wall of tufas overhanging considerably and with rather long routes, in fact, routes longer than my arms could sustain me up! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great whilst we were up there and I caught a cold so we decided to head back to Margalef which is a bit further south and at a lower altitude. The final week of climbing was also enjoyable and the final day was spent climbing (sunbathing!) in the sun above an ocean of clouds.

I feel really fit now that I’m back home but Wales isn’t the perfect place for rock climbing in December so I might start sharpening my ice axes in (hopeful) anticipation of a good winter and start getting the Rab duvet jackets out!

Guy Steven going big! Photo- Calum Muskett
Guy Steven going big! Photo- Calum Muskett

Iain Small 'hanging in there' in Spain. Photo- Calum Muskett
Iain Small ‘hanging in there’ in Spain. Photo- Calum Muskett

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.