The view from the balcony of El Altico refugio/hostel. Chulilla village on the left, one of the valleys across the middle, and the corner of the accommodation on the right.

I've been lucky enough to visit many of the most well known in crags in Spain but somehow never came across Chulilla until the past few years. I'm here on my first trip, and maybe I'm deluded as I haven't been on rock much in the past year so my opinion is skewed, but I'm of the opinion that this is the best climbing I've done in Spain right now. Stunning location, amazing views, fantastic accommodation at El Altico (see below), and the routes are incredible. To be honest, it's a medium-to-high grade area so low 6's are sparce for people in those grades but if you're playing in the 7's or 8's, the routes are phenomenal. Seriously, I can't state how good they are - intricate, tricky, pumpy, brilliant movement. We brought an 80 metre rope and already I've lowered down with only a metre or two to spare from one route, with the fattest forearms I've had in quite a while.

Image taken with the useful Photosynth tool from Microsoft - just point and shoot to take a full panoramic photo. Image is of the El Altico Refugio - yes, that is a swimming pool and a bouldering room (holds on outside as well as full indoor facility with TRX, kettle bells, etc.)


I came out with a bit of an idea/target of what I wanted to do on this route but I suspect my lack of rock is going to mean I don't have the capability right now. But it matters not one bit as I'm enjoying the climbing so much. Wow. Just wow.

Jonathan Siegrist had this nice little comment on his recent post which perhaps sums up my usual opinion of climbing. With the interesting fun/challenges/experiences I've gone through over the past few years, just enjoying climbing for the sake of climbing is where it's at :)

This element of my climbing has taught me more about my character than I ever imagined. I really don't care what the grades are. Some routes are hard as hell and we will never be certain of a send - furthermore they require a transformation from us. Maybe that transformation is physical or maybe it's something greater. Other routes come easily, and for the most part, while these climbs might be fun, they really hold very little meaning. And that's fine! We can't be overwhelmed with the pressure and emotion of projecting at our limit every day we go climbing, even if it's what truly inspires us. I climbed Era Vella and I had a lot of fun doing it. Grades are there to offer a foundation for difficulty but the more I climb the more I realize the plasticity of grading.

'll write up some more in the next post on what my prep was, what I'd hoped for, and what has actually been happening. For now, I'm off to enjoy this beautiful location and stop wasting any time on the computer :)

The second gorge of Chulilla. 15 minute walk-in from the car. We've been spending most of our time on the right hand side of the gorge due to shade.