|The impressive Lourdes wall of El-Makinodromo|
From the guidebook:
"The reputation of El Chorro as a destination for sport climbing is mainly built upon the notoriety of the truly awesome section of cliff known as Makinodromo, and in particular the central line up its largest and most severely overhanging wall of tufa - Lourdes. A couple of decades on since its first ascent, Lourdes is still one of the most famous climbs in the World and many come to El Chorro only to try this one route!"
With such a accolade it was understandably the highlight of the trip for Luke and myself to mange to climb Lourdes, at 8a it was at the top-end of out ability. To make it even better we both managed a successful red-point on the same day, and even better earlier that day Barni has successfully sent Trainspotting another classic 8a (with a wild dyno at 30m!) further down the crag!
I've been to El-Chorro several times before, even before my first visit I had heard about Lourdes. I remember my first time at El-Makinodromo crag back in Dec 2008. We made the long walk in in the dark after climbing the big multi-pitch Zepplin in the gorge. We slept in a cave at the base of the crag and awoke to thick mist and drizzle. I can remember standing below Lourdes straining my neck to lookup at the steep tufas now running with water, the top of the route was lost in the mist. Even in sub-optimal conditions Lourdes was one of the steepest and most impressive lines I have ever seen.
|Make no mistake!|
|Barni recovering in the the rest below Lourdes!|
|Barni on the lower section of Trainspotting 8a|
|Powerhouse Brooks reaching the end of the bouldery start on Lourdes|
|Me approaching the crux on Lourdes 8a|
|El-Makinodromo windturbine sunset|
Although Lourdes was the highlight we also ticked many other fantastic routes on other crags in El-Chorro. A couple of favourites which spring to mind are Honk Down 7c on the Momia section of Frontales and Generacion Limite 7b+ on Les Encantadas.
As mentioned earlier, the weather in Spain has been amazing, cold at night but warm and sunny during the day; perfect conditions for climbing. Apart from on the last day, temperatures in the sun reached a scorching 22 degrees! Too hot for hard climbing, we had to take a lay down in the early afternoon.
I've not got a few days of festiveness to re-condition back to UK weather before a couple of weeks of van living in Scotland trying to remember how to winter climb in the new year!
Merry Christmas everyone.