Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Routes in Andalucia


The high mountain areas of El Torcal. Villanueva del Rosario and Villanueva del TRabuco have seen a lot of attention this summer as the summer heat has made the low lying crags unclimbable.

First off the impressive walls on the left hand side of El Corral at Villanueva del Rosario received attention from Bernabes Fernandez - Bernabes has been injured for some time and was looking for a project to keep him busy.

El Corral had already been breached on it's lower central section with a dozen 35m routes in the grades 7b - 8a and by a couple of multi-pitch routes at 6c level routes that exploit weaknesses and weave their way up the wall, but the left side was a lot blanker.

The upper walls of El Corral (El Paso de Viento) had been bolted last year with 8 routes accessed via a narrow rock gangway a via ferrata safety line. Bernabes used this safety line to as his anchor points to create 6 monster 60m piches between 7b and 7c+. The routes can all be split at a halfway point just before the rock becomes super steep and this gives 6 pitches that are 30m long betwween 6c and 7a+.

Over in Villanueva del Trabuco the local council are keen to improve the area in the eyes of climbers and have provided local climbers with the resources to create both a new via ferrata and new rock routes. The new routes om El Puente del Roca are quite technical on rock that is quite smooth - more details to follow.

The development at El Torcal has continued and the new areas are fantastic - very unlike the "gritstone" type limestone that is found near the summit visitor centre.

Even the Ventana area at Villanueva del Rosario has received more routes.

These high areas have been brilliant this summer - I left the village yesterday thinking that it was too hot, but climbing comnditions at Ventana were perfect - I needed a fleece for belaying, but the friction was amazing.

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