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The Climbing Club • View topic - Spain (Madrid) - La Pedriza climbing and other helpful tips

The Climbing Club

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:08 am 
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Rodrigo
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Recently I made another one of my semi-annual pilgrimages to Spain to spend sometime with my partner (Pau). What follows is a brief summary of some climbing we did including a summary of conditions at what is said to be the most popular crag in Central Spain (Patones) and a short trip report from La Pedriza. I'l also mention where to get good and relatively cheap climbing books in Madrid and what to bring if you want to climb at the free lead/top rope outdoor places (like gyms for the public).

Bookstore - Libreria Desnivel
Desnivel (magazine and guidebooks) has a bookstore in the heart of Madrid. If you have time to kill in Madrid I would highly recommend a visit. It's a cool shop and in the back it has an awesome mural with paintings and signatures of famous mountaineers and climbers ranging from Tenzing Norgay to Lynn Hill. More importantly, they have an endless selection of European (especially Spanish) climbing books at great price Some great guidebooks cost as little $15. If you are planning a trip to Spain and can manage any Spanish I would recommend picking up your books here unless you can find cheap ones online.

Patones - Sector Cielo Liquido
I've previously written a trip report about . This area is conveniently located about an hour from Madrid and has a lot of fun limestone with short approaches (< 15 min.) As with the rest of the sport climbing I've seen in Spain, it's difficult to find many climbs below 5.10a and just being comfortable up to 10b or 10c really gives you a much larger selection. As always, the anchors are weird and sometimes have a single U-bolt.

The real reason for mentioning this area here is a conditions report. This particular section of the crag has the highest concentrations of moderate climbs in the area. As such, it sees a lot of traffic. While still climbable, the rock here is extremely slippery. Nevertheless, the routes here are fun and some involve hueco after hueco.

At Patones. Some 5.10a I'm going to call Huecolandia.
Image


La Pedriza - La Tortuga
La Pedriza is a regional park located in the mountains about an hour from Madrid. It's a beautiful place that, according to what I have read, has the highest concentration of difficult slab climbs in the world (I'm looking at you Michelle). Did I mention that this is where you find granite (nice sticky stuff) near Madrid? There is an huge quantity of rock to climb in the area. The Desnivel Bookstore, which I mentioned above, has multiple books on La Pedriza (note that the guide of climbs rated 5.9 and under is out of print), all of which I paged through and seemed pretty good (the book I bought has over 1200 routes in it).

La Pedriza. This picture does not do the scale of the place justiceā€¦some of the small looking bulges you see in the picture have climbs that are 4-6 pitches.
Image

Slab climbing scares the shit out of me and with only my draws our options were limited so we decided to do one short multi-pitch climb and see what else we had time for. Note, there are some crack climbs and other routes that require a mix of bolts and gear. To arrive at La Tortuga is only a 30 minute approach from the parking lot. However, it was a beautiful summer day and the parking lot was already full when we arrived at 930. We had to park another 3 km away and hike in. If you go on a weekend I would suggest arriving around 8 when the gate for the main parking lot opens.

As a warm up we started on the north side with ASA, a four-pitch "classic" (5.7) that tops out with wonderful views of the area. All of the pitches were about 35 m. The exception first pitch was a sustained slab. The other three pitches were mostly easy climbing (5.0 or easier) with occasion 5.6ish moves. I don't think I saw more than 1 possible gear placement on the entire route. After topping out we rappelled down the south face where we had hoped to climb some harder climbs. One rappel the climbs looked a bit harder and fun; however, the south face was pretty busy so we returned to north face. The last pitch we climbed was a 10a crack that is shamelessly protected by bolts. It was fun (except for the part where I took a wrong turn and ended up trying to start the 11a slab). We had hoped to do more climbing but the days are short and we had planned for the long approach. We will most certainly go back to climb the more well-known multi-pitch climbs on El Yelmo, one of the larger chunks of granite in the area.

Here is a picture of La Tortuga with our two climbs highlighted.
Image

Shamelessly bolted and easily protectable crack that we climbed. It's steeper than it looks in this picture.
Image

A few general notes about the area:
- The granite is amazingly sticky and solid (I don't think I touched a single loose bit the entire day)
- It is a zoo on the weekends. Go early to claim your climb and parking space.
- If slabs aren't your thing there are plenty of crack climbs (some of which are bolted).

Example of the potential non-slab routes.

El Vellon
We also went back to climb at El Vellon again (see for more info). We climbed another 6 routes before it got too hot to climb. If I explored La Pedriza more it might become my favorite dragging spot near Madrid, but for now it's El Vellon. To steep limestone here is so much fun to climb.

Outdoor gym climbing in Madrid
As mentioned in the other report about Spain, there are a number of places where you can boulder outside for free in Madrid. This is also true for lead climbing. There are fun routes at a few places mentioned on the (look under "rocodromos"). You will need a rope, draws, and a grigri (both times we were able to climb without one but both times we were told that it was required).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:11 pm 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:18 pm
Posts: 216
Location: Warm sunny rock
Slabs! Granite! Not snowing! Maybe it's time for me to start making annual fall pilgrimages to Spain?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:29 pm 
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Rodrigo
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Perhaps. While it was snowing in the Cascades I was warm climbing in shorts with/without a shirt. You wouldn't have been hot but it was pushing it for me. I really couldn't stop thinking of how much you would enjoy the climbing at La Pedriza while we were there.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:25 am 
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The Pub Czar
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:38 am
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Location: too far from a pint.

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good judgment comes from experience;
experience comes from bad judgment.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:15 am 
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Rodrigo
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:07 pm
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Indeed, food and booze. That is an important part of the Spanish experience. Estas flaco, no me comes nada.


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