Saturday, 31 December 2011

El camino del rey, El chorro, close calls

A video of El camino del rey from my recent get away to El Chorro. The trip stretd with the plan of meeting Brad at 5am at bristol airport (with our flight at 6). I got there and called him for him to tell me "Fuck, I overslept. I'll be there in a bit" and hung up on me! He had to come from Taunton and I didnt think he'd make it. Luckly he was only a minute too late so running through security we made the flight! We only had 4 days away, and as our pickup from the airport got the time wrong, we ended up getting to the olive branch with effectively 3 days. The first night we met a lot of new faces at the olive branch, many faces we new already knew like top british climber, James Mchaffe and a few familiar Britolians!. The first day we decided to walk the famous camino del rey through the gorge. The path was built in 1905 and is an 'observation walkway'. There were people dressed as santa walking it too that day but I didn't manage to document that! :( With some very dodgy makeshift via ferrata kit we set off with our solo heads on. In all honesty the path wasn't too bad, much of it had fallen away leaving big gaps where you had to walk on thin train track beams with 100's of metres of exposure each side of your feet. The holes in path made me feel a little uneasy though, as if any step could push through the floor any moment!

Brad pushing it 

After the kings walk we hiked another 40 minutes towards El Makinodromo, a crag where there is one of the most famous routes in spain: 'Lourdes' (8a). I realised after 8 clips in, I wasn't up for it as the sun was setting, we only had two days left and more places to see. So ill have to be back next year with a weeks more time to have a good go at it! Apparently there can be as many as 14 no hands rest on this stalactite obstacle course.. although I think I only found about 2!
Lourdes, (the featured overhang)
The next couple of days, we went to the big cave at 'frontalis'. I managed to onsight Poema De Roca (7a) which reminded me much of DNA at kalymnos. Brad who has climbed his maximum RP of 7a set to work but fell near the end a few times. He ended up sun bathing for a couple of days which he seemed pretty happy about anyway! I was trying 'Veijo Traidor' a hard pumpy continental style 7b+ a few routes to the right. It was a brilliant line taking on 30 metres of overhanging rock with only one semi rest near the end before some hard clips and long moves through 2 finger pockets. I put in the draws and fell near the end on the first redpoint, the sun was setting again so we came back the next day before we had to drive to Malaga and jump on the plane. I had about 3 more redpoints at Vaijo Traidor, falling off one move from the end every go. You can imagine my frustration! I guess my endurance wasn't up to it from lots of bouldering, then a few weeks off before the trip.

On Vaijo Traidor
Off Vaijo Traidor
After a lot of misinformation at the airport, we ended up running to the plane with last calls for 'Tris West and "Bradley cox" even though we had been told we couldn't go through security until 40 minutes before the flight was set to leave! We had been waiting at a cafe for 3 hours just next to security! We got to the gate, I got through but they held Brad up, as the check in assistant didn't stamp his NON EU ticket. " You have to go back and get it stamped! " .. we both knew there was no time, and I made the tricky and probably selfish decision to go ahead on the plane "Brad call me if you get stuck in spain!". A few minutes later after he had managed to plead with the gate staff he made it onto the plane to my surprise! Even then the air steward was a bit suspicious why he didnt have half of his ticket (As the gate staff had torn it off). They let him on and he got sat on the plane with me taking the piss that we were going to start moving, then there would be a call for Bradley cox and the flight would turn round and he would be escorted off again! He wasn't amused.

Great trip in all, got lots of sun and unless I decide to go to Thailand next year, we'll be back for more ;)

More photos to be found on my FLICKR

Friday, 2 December 2011

A few more from anstey's

Heres another video from the summer climbing at Anstey's with Sash, Brad, Laurent, Andy etc. I had to edit this thing twice due to it crashing the other day!