Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Hola from Spain, at last.
We are now in Spain and have indeed been in Cavallers, after a gruelling 6 hour drive (3-4 hours on windy mountain roads) due to missing a road junction, nearly getting swept away in a tsunami of sheep, trying to get settled into our booked accommodation with the Catalan owner's dad and a total of one word comprehensible between us - "hola", and finally climbing beneath the bloody massive dam at Cavallers. I am so tired I can't even be arsed to have a second beer, so am blogging to pass the time until 10pm bedtime!
Our stay in Ariege was both pleasant and worthwhile in the end. The climber's gite at in is a real treasure: Comfy rooms, good kitchen, ace shower, breakfast in the morning, even decent coffee if you double the amount of grounds the friendly owners put in ;). Definitely a base I'd come back to. We made the best use out of the weather - hearing about floods in Lourdes and rubbish weather from Siurana to Costa Blanca reassured us we had made the right plan B. Combining late starts, some optimism and a bit of luck, we were able to avoid roof-angle rotpunkting in crusty caves, and after a couple of damp starts managed to climb daily and sample limestone at Sinsat, Rochethingy De Chateau and Carol, gneiss at Appy, and in particular granite at Auzat.
The latter we'd recced on one of those damp starts and estimated it was worth prolonging our Ariege stay for - and damn right it was. Granite slabs....but unlike the low angle large crystal no holds horrors of Pedriza (and probably Cavallers from first impressions), the Auzat granite is fine grained, with positive holds, and the perfect steep slab angle that makes those holds necessary - big rockovers on crimps and nubbins, none of this padding bolleaux. Some of the most fun granite I've been on, and another reason to come back to the area and combine it with some of the more imposing limestone we didn't get to.
We have two days (in theory a possible morning en-route to the airport if I can persuade stinky fox that a 6am start is really a sensible plan). At least one of those will be a full day at Cavallers, maybe the other will be too or maybe we can mix it up with a bit more Cavallers and a bit more limestone. The very typical granite at Cavallers is a good change but not my favourite rock so can work as a good combination with the lime....we shall see...