Spain – 1/2

Wow, it has been quite a while since I have updated this thing. I have been meaning to be more adamant about trying to update but somehow time just keeps passing. Haha alas, I am going to start where I left off and begin with a trip recap from Spain.

I had heard about bouldering near the town of alcañiz for about 3 or so years now. Little hints here and there about a bouldering area very much undeveloped only 3 hours from Barcelona. With areas like albarracin and the incredible lime stone rope climbing in the area, i thought there was no way that an amazing bouldering area could have been missed. Every time I would hear about the zone, I would dismiss it as it seemed impossible for something so special to be so close to other world class destinations.

While in Iceland on a shoot for prAna, Chris told me about this area he had seen while driving down the highway in Spain. He told me of these back sandstone boulders that looked to be incredible quality and I had to come check it out. We looked on the map and sure enough it was right outside of the small village of alcañiz. I decided then that I had to at least go see for myself what this area had to offer.

Fortunately enough I had the opportunity to be in Spain for 4 days in December. At first I was apprehensive yet again. I drove to albarracin since I had not been there in a while. I’m not really sure why I went there, but for whatever reason, I did. I had a few fun days and was meant to go to Barcelona in a day or two. I thought about alcañiz and still didn’t know if I wanted to go. Thankfully i decided I had made my way all the way to Europe, I need to go see what this place has to offer.

I woke up early the next day and drove a few hours to the small town. I did not really know where to go once I got there. I drove down dirt road after dirt road and started to see black boulders everywhere. I hopped out of the car and began running up the hills to see how the quality was. It was identical to joes valley sandstone (for those who have not been to Joe’s, it is some of the best sandstone America has to offer!) I had left the door open in excitement but couldn’t be bothered with that and continued to run up and down the hills scoping boulder after boulder marveling at the color, quality, and line potential on each bloc.

I spent well over 3/4 of my day exploring. As the sun was about to set I ventures up this hillside to the very top. At the top was this small roof with a tall slightly overhanging head wall. I decided I had to do at least one Boulder that day so I grabbed my stuff and headed back up the hill to climb it. The line ended up being slightly harder than I had imagined. As the day was truly coming to a close, I knew I had to send fast. I luckily snagged the crux move from the bottom and climbed it to the top for my first first ascent in alcañiz, “odek” v10/11 (7C+/8A). As I watched the final bit of light disappear, I vowed to return as soon as possible!

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