Archive for April, 2011

Sun, Rock and Owls

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Julie on the steep initial scramble of the Caval Bernat Ridge

This years sun rock trip to majorca belied Simon's dire predictions of rain and snow. The sun shone all week and bt the end of the holiday with temperatures in the high twenties we were seeking out shady crags.

Our flights went without a hitch – well, almost, unless you count Cef's panicked realisation that he had left his keys in his front door. Back in York Fliss and Tom went to the rescue – problem solved. As we approached the island I got my first taste of the landscape – a sheer knife edge ridge guarding the north west corner. Wow, I thought, this is going to be good.

Arrived at our villa and another wow – a beautifully converted former mine nbuilding on four storeys, complete with swimming pool. And it turns out, complete with in situ owl. This owl hooted every 3 seconds all night, and team Twitcher Andrew told us it was a Scops Owl. This is not what we heard him call it later in the week, as it turns out it was Andrews room it liked to hoot outside.

Los Perxes

Anyway, a quick unpack and we were off to Los Perxes, the local crag for an evenings climbing – not bad after a 5.30am start.

Over the next week we visited various crags in various orders. My personal favourites were:

La Creveta– pristine grey frictiony limestone slabs high above a coastal valley. The approach to this feels quite adventurous, especially if, like Tracy and Pete B, you go over the wrong col and end up abseiling in down the routes…

Looking down from the second pitch of the Gubia Normale

Sa Gubia was another highlight. It is the biggest climbing area on the island with big multipitch routes. Most of us visited at some point, either to do the 7 pitch trad route, the Gubia Normale (4+) or one of the various multipitch sport routes. Even the scramble up to the top of the crags from the end of the routes is long, exposed and exciting. Several people also did The Sharks Fin, a trad route on a formation shaped like-guess what – in the Boquet Valley, and another favourite was Cala Magraner aka the Bay of Pigs – apparently YAC visited this on a previous trip and were molested by rogue piggies. The climbing here was good, but the main attraction was the beach location – when too hot to climb we just went for a swim.

Puig San Marti

Other crags visited included Sestre (which I thought was very polished in places and a bit scruffy), Puig y Garafa, Puig San Marti (met some nice germans here who helped out with gear where the bolt had been removed from the crux), La Victoria, and on the last day we visited a small crag, Can Ortigues, chiefly because Rockfax reccomended it as an easy access crag for an airport day. Unfortunately it turned out quite a few people had also bought the rockfax, and with quite a few shared starts and lower offs there was a bit of waiting for routes, although a spanish team very kindly allowed us to climb on their lower gear.

Puig y Garafa

Non climbing days included a mass gorge descent of the Torrent De Pareis, during which Carmen accidentally (she claims) punched Annie, and Annie crawled inside a pebble.

The Caval Bernat Ridge (scramble)

For me, the highlight was possibly not a climbing day, but the day we spent scrambling the ridge we saw from the plane. This looked steep and intimidating in places, but as we approached each desperate looking section hold magically appeared. I have never done a scramble so continuously exposed and sheer – at one point Rob dropped a pebble from the ridge and we counted 7 seconds till it hit the sea. As we finished the steep sections mountain goats appeared and made us look clumsy by skipping effortlessly over the slabs. A stunning and memorable day.

rest of my pics here