What a crazy week or so, returning to Scotland, buying a campervan (Mavis), catching up with family and friends, travelling south again on the karaoke ferry extrordinaire to Santander, to very, very slowly cross the Cantabrian mountains (bad map use) back to the inferno of Lleida, swimming, drinking, organising the Spanish dole and now Basque Climbing WOOHOO!!!!!!!
The first crag we have come to is Apellaniz, a small seemingly locals crag which is beautifully set in a lush Basque forest. Climbing here is a little surreal as you climb to an orchestra of cow bells worn by the huge cream cows that mow the grass at the base of the crag, making it seem as though it has its own private gardener.
Arriving to the crag without any guide or anything, we were warmly welcomed by the locals who gave us a guided tour of the crag. There are about 60 routes spread over three main buttresses. In general the climbing is short, bouldery and explosive on pockets and edges. The middle buttress is longer and has a more British limestone feel, white and blue with delicate climbing on slopers and undercuts.
Im so psyched to get back climbing, its been a while.
First day at the crag I did a classic 8a os, La Txunga del Txi and another 8a La Txunga del Gotzon 2nd go. Yesterday we returned to Apellaniz, warmed up on a couple of brutal 4 bolt 6's and Lynne did a 6b+ with a full on move off a mono!! I then go so spanked on a 7a+ that I had to check the guide to see if I was on the right route, as I knew that there was an 8b next to it. Unfortunately, I was on the right route!! With Lynne chuckling I wondered if it would go next red point, joder! Luckily, I shook my way up it feeling scared on the first pad mono undercut and smeary feet. Now I know why the Basques are so strong. Anyway, a couple of biscuits later I finished off the day by onsighting a really great 8a on the Garrapatta wall. Grades, what an odd concept sometimes.
We are resting today and tomorrow we are going to check out Valdegobia.