Sitting here this morning watching the snow come gently down – no I’m not in the Canary Islands, but just back home from our most recent climbing trip there. Got the fire lit so the house is beginning to warm up. Following on from our visit to Tenerife before Xmas I realised that these islands offered far better climbing weather in winter than our usual haunts in southern Spain. So another flight was booked. Not sure about my carbon footprint these days, more of a boot-print. Landed in Gran Canaria airport the first week in February and drove off in our hire car down the motorway to the town of Vecindario on the East side of the island. This busy, non-tourist, town is a maze of illogical and confusing one way streets. Getting to our simple hotel [hotelavenidadecanarias.com – to give it a plug] proved difficult and time-consuming throughout the week we were there! A bonus was the free underground parking.
The next day dawned sunny, bright and warm, we were in high spirits driving to the nearest crag. What looked like a quick 25k drive took almost an hour as the roads into the mountains were narrow and twisty. Beautiful scenery around every bend.
Thankfully we parked up in the valley, the guide book directions were accurate, and strolled down the dirt track to enter the barranco of SORRUEDA.
Found ourselves a sunny slab area to get started on a few easy IVs, good to feel warm rock again after all those days in the climbing walls. There are only the two of us on this holiday so difficult to get decent climbing photos.
After a pleasant morning on the slabs on slopy holds we crossed to the other side onto steeper walls where I had a fight to get up a steep pocketed wall at V+. The pockets were all sloping with a hard move into an overhung recess – some continental pulling on quick draws was needed to get to the chains! Retired defeated. Back to Vecindario.
The two star hotel turned out to be excellent, very friendly staff and tasty Spanish food in the evenings. There was a mixture of businessmen, groups of workers and the odd tourist. Again in the morning the ‘desayuno’ was more than ample to fuel us for a day’s climbing. Off we went the next day to another crag up in the mountains, some great views from the miradors on the winding mountain road. Having parked up above a dam in a steep barranco we could see our crag below, FATAGA.
Crossing the dam we made our way down the far from solid concrete steps on the dam wall to follow the dry water channel to the base of the routes. They were already in shade, which was good as the sun was strong. The rock here had a reddish hue to it and was much blockier and rougher than yesterday, making the routes feel more secure. Spent a good day here on lots of routes from IV to 6a. There were several other teams doing the same, mainly locals but also a group from Holland and Germany. We never met any Brits all week.
By 4pm we’d had enough and all we had to do now was climb back up the dam stairway to reach the car. Huff and puff!
Soon back at Vecindario. We’ve had two great days climbing to start the week with the temperature in the low 20’s – perfect for February.