Monday, 5 November 2007

Siurana, Spain - Part 1

The mission: to try and get on some decent Spanish sports routes to keep the motivation high before ploughing headfirst into the winter training. Caroline, Neal, Kev and myself were all wanting to climb as many hard routes as possible in a very short space of time.

Siurana is a climbing heaven. We climbed there for nearly two weeks last August and fell in love with the place. The tiny stone-built village sits on top of a limestone ridge overlooking a reservoir and it’s nearest town, Cornudella. The village is surrounded on 3 sides by sheer sports climbing perfection in the form of vast amounts of terraced limestone steepness! Looking west from Siurana village you are faced with it’s considerable valley crags – home of the famous La Rambla, 9a+. The village has a refugio and campsite which are both owned and maintained by the Arbones Family. Toni Arbones (Jnr) is a famous climber in his own right having climbed in the high 8’s and established numerous bigwall routes all over the world and is still the areas most prolific new router. During our previous visit to the area both Caroline and myself became friends with Toni through our running and enjoyed being shown around the beautiful surrounding valleys by Toni on numerous, torturous, multi-terrain runs. The mans a beast! This trip to Siurana was to prove no less inspirational and motivating.

Siuranella North as seen from sector L'Olla

The first night set the standard for the trip. While driving up the hairpins to the village I had to brake suddenly to allow a family of wild boars to cross the road infront of our rental car! Toni had told us of the areas wildlife before but we hadn’t expected to encounter them like this… it was great to see. Less then 5 minutes later we had pulled into the familiar car park of the campsite bar and restaurant. As usual it was fairly busy but we squeezed in and seeing Toni at a table full of people I decided not to disturb him and to go to the bar to try and check in while the others waited near the door. My pigeon Spanish didn’t get very far with the barmaid who quickly shouted over to Toni for help. Toni turns around, recognises Caroline and myself and comes over with hugs, kisses and slaps on the back as if we had known him years – it’s such a friendly, genuine place – you gotta love it! Only then did it strike me who was at Toni’s table! None other than Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda. Having watched and read all about Sharma’s exploits ever since taking up climbing it was weird to see the guy in the flesh. Toni lashes straight into catching up with us, talking about running, climbing, races, new routes, wild Boars – everything! Before long Sharma and a few others are gathered around us before they leave, chopping and changing between English and Spanish while telling us about the nasty stomach bug running rampant through the area. Weird! Eventually things settle down and we get treated to a substantial dish of Toni’s Mams Paella before getting the key to our home for the next few days, the cabin. I could tell from everybody’s grins that evening that it was going to be a good trip.

More to come…

5 comments:

Stephen Mc Gowan said...

So come on whats keeping you.....I need something to distract me from college work!

Bring on part 2

Dave said...

It's on it's way - so many sends...

Zander said...

I'm going to Siurana next week. Do I need to call ahead to Toni's refugio to reserve a spot, or just show up?

Do you have any contact information for them? I can't find any info searching on Google...

Thanks,

Alex

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