Rodellar 2010 - Trip Report 1 (La Fuente, El Camino, Furia Latina)

Hey Hey!

Welcome to the Rodellar 2010 Upskill Climbing Camp. New places, new faces! The aim? Heaps of super enjoyable limestone, learning, improvement. Have a holiday, go home with skills! I've been waiting for this one for a while :)

So, Rodellar! What are we talking here? North east Spain, three hours from Barcelona. Limestone. 400 climbs. Lots of tufas, lots of very impressive steep routes!

Rodellar as marked. Sport climbing centre of the universe.
Our willing team members for this foray into steepness are Kirsty, Kirill and May from Queensland and ACT in Australia, and they join me (Lee) and Sam for two weeks of pushing limestone limits. We picked them up a few days ago in Barcelona and buzzed back up the highway in the Citroen Berlingo (the car that is like a spanish mullet, car up front, van in the back).

The first walk in through the village of Rodellar never fails to impress.
Upskill HQ for this camp is in one of the nicest apartments in Rodellar. Four bedrooms, big kitchen, flat screen, all the mod cons. We roll deluxe. Dirtbagging? I think not!

Yeah, this goes alright!
 After settling in, we sat down to a great first dinner of roast chicken, pumpkin and walnut salad, smashed potatoes and other goodies. Sam is pulling out all the stops on the menu.

Day one of climbing saw us head to La Fuente which is a great sector for cleaning out the cobwebs and getting some ticks under the harness. 18 routes, slabs, 5 to 6b+ (16 - 21) on very solid limestone peppered with deep pockets. Every route has something to recommend it.

The TEAM get their first taste of Rodellar limestone. Go team!

May has laser focus on Los Jumbis, La Fuente sector.

One of my faves on the sector, Ta Fiole Con Tonica. May leading. The amazing cave in the background has some impressive Dani Andrada 9a roof routes.

Kirill highsteps on Que Pasa Oues, Zagal. La Fuente.
How nice is that for a backdrop? The water really is that green!
Highlights from the day was Sam crushing an unnamed 6b+ (21) she'd tried previously, Kirill projecting the same and taking some air (yeah yeah!), Kirsty leading the intricate and tricky El Raton 6a+ (19) and May leading Ardilla 6a (18), possibly the best on the wall?

We climbed until about 7:45pm and at the end of the day, we all had at least five or six routes in the bag. Don't you love Spain?

That night it rained. And hard! And as we'd planned to eat out at the nice Kalandraka refugio, there was some walking involved. Through the torrent. Not a problem for those with Gore-Tex and umbrellas. But me? Well, I had to make my own Gore-Tex.

I'll stay dry, let me tell you! Later: "Holy shiiiiittttt"
Day two we woke to dryness and sunshine. Perfect! Group discussion topic was the importance of the climber-belayer bond and what it means to be a top notch belayer. You're not just there to hold the rope and look bored.

El Camino was the sector for the morning. This is a sweeping concave wall of blocky orange limestone. 30 routes between 5 and 7b+ (16 - 26). Very popular with the punters, but we mostly had it to ourselves which was a welcome bonus.

 Que Majete 5 (about 16-17) was our warm-up route. Technical and slippery down low!
Kirsty samples the horizontals on Que Majete, El Camino. Almost like the Blue Mountains!
Alright WTF!? Who's the wise guy??
Kirsty takes a big whipper off the classic Bugs Bunny 6a+ (19). Great soft catch practice. You can see by looking at the sweep of the wall that El Camino is steep!
May cranks the initial overhang of Bugs Bunny 6a+ (19)
The techno section of Bugs took its share of scalps today. Kirill negotiates the trickery.
Some good falls were had by all, which is a desirable for our group, as all are focused on improving mental toughness, tenacity and banishing fear of falling. It's an issue for most climbers, so it's good to acknowledge it and tackle it head on.

The afternoon saw us at Furia Latina sector (aka Furious Latina Pasta) down on the river. The route of choice was Bolskan 6b (20). Kirsty bravely racked up for the onsight and did super well through the bouldering opening crux. A bizarre mantle over a roof foiled the onsight, but a second shot and it was in the bag. Nice! Not to be outdone, Kirill utilised his patented high step to rock-over the roof and flash the route. Top effort!

The walk out was just a little slower than usual as Sam implemented a blackberry collection competition. Blackberries grow wild all around the cliffs and on the menu for desert was pear and blackberry crumble with whipped cream. I just finished mine - yum!!

They're everywhere!
See you soon for installment #2 :)