Margalef - social, reading and routes

Beautiful french village visited on the way down - selling itself as the 'Green Venice'. Camera: iPhone 4S

As always it's been amazing spending time here in  Margalef. It's not just the climbing but the community and village atmosphere. From hearing stories, and seeing, in many smaller villages over the years where you can almost feel the village dying as all the younger residents leave for big cities, it's great to see the rejuvenation in Margalef from people moving to the area based on the climbing and lifestyle. 

We've been enjoying both parts of the setup, hanging out with all the great people hanging out in the area, meeting friends in the Refugio, some yoga, reading, and of course, climbing. 

In between all that, there's been a lot of catching up on documents with Pocket (it turns out you can save quite a lot of articles over the space of a year.....), listening to podcasts (amazing how many good quality shows there is out there for free - we don't even appreciate it anymore?) and books. 

Heather on one of the first classic 7a+'s of Sector Espadelles in Margalef. High on the hill, lots of sun and on this route, lots of thin pockets. Tough for the grade! Camera: iPhone 4S

It was a good first week - finished off with a bunch of onsights on 7b+ range. A nice feeling that I can now imagine myself climbing at that level all day, onsight. Prior to that we've dealt with the highly variable conditions (night temps below zero, day time temps as low as 3 degrees and as high as 18, and very high winds - nothing in comparison to what is happening to the Ireland, UK and USA however!) sending a bouldery 7c+ first red point on the very first day, an 8a 2nd Redpoint (little mistake on the first go which I learned a lot from) on the third day, and an 8a+ second redpoint on the 5th day in darkness and freezing conditions. Main notes from all as ever were that your technique needs to be absolutely top-notch and strength is just the added benefit - knowing when to apply the strength is key. Efficiency, pacing, strategy is critical. All in all, a good week.

It's been really relaxed this trip (less days spent climbing) and it's meant that I've really had to focus on each attempt to learn the movements, understand the positioning, pacing and strength required (in that order). It's paid off too, using minimum energy at all times but directing it where it is needed. Good times. We'll be spending a bit more time here as we're enjoying ourselves so much before going off looking for some multi-pitches further north. Can't wait!

Beautiful sun of Spain with one of the many(!) wind farms overhead. Incredible to see so many of them as well as solar farms sprouting up across the region due to all the hills. Personally, I think they look beautiful and don't take from the scenery (it's a smal price in comparison to a smoky oil or coal plant), but they sure make a lot of noise - staying on a ridge a few kilometres away, we could hear the hum off them in the distance...... Camera: iPhone 4S

 Moonlit nights. Camera: Panasonic Lumix

Moonlit nights. Camera: Panasonic Lumix

 one of the new 'classic' 8a+'s of Margalef. Thin and bouldery to a good rest, to more thin and bouldery.

one of the new 'classic' 8a+'s of Margalef. Thin and bouldery to a good rest, to more thin and bouldery.

Jonny B pulling down on the early 8a+ moves

The ultimate route for viewing a battle close-up: 'Magic Festival' 7c. Here, Anna going for it with Grant watching on.

 

 

 

Neal McQuaid