Friday, 10 October 2008

Back from the Island of Sun and Rock (and rain...)

Friday 10th October 2008 Majorca Trip 08

Well, we all got back into Dundee early this morning from our lads climbing trip to Majorca, and there are some cracking photos floating around, and certainly some cracking memories floating around my head, both of which i will do my best to give you a taste of over this (and perhaps one or two smaller additions to this post).

I'm not really sure where to start, but the holiday started with a whacky idea of a boys trip abroad for some hot rock, suggested on a rainy night at AVW, and Dave being one for adventure seemed interested straight away. Fast forward 3-4months later, numerous call offs, and unfortunate clashes of timetables, we had our line up. Dave P (the restraining force), Iain Irvine (the boy in the bubble), Ben Johnstone (The love machine) and me (the one who needed restraining from myself!)

Anyway, we (Dave, Iain and myself) made it to the airport and caught our flight to Palma with little trouble, but were not sure if Ben had made it (as he was on another flight, and needed transport to the airport), so it was with some reflief that we met him at the arrivals section.

Car hire sorted, we zoomed around the Palma ring road and off up in the hills, through Valdemossa and off to our Hotel on the North coast. Arriving well after 0100hrs, there was little sign of life, so we made a quick recce around the grounds (thank god they had no guard dogs!), and someone managed to phone the front desk, asking them to let us in. 30mins later, we were safely tucked up in our beds, snoozing away.
The view from our hotel balcony (and beer den)

Up early the next morning to bright sunshine and clear skies, we zoomed down to Valdemossa to get some grub, and stopped at the local market to get supplies. After haggling with the locals over melons and grapes, we thought it only right to treat ourselves to lunch before climbing. Straight off to the local crag at S'estret (2Km south of Valdemossa) after lunch, where i showed the guys the delights of Limestone bouldering. Having come from the relatively reasuring high friction of Sandstone, we all took our time to get confident on the sometime smooth and polished limestone, forcing us to focus on good footwork and technique.

All of us messing about on a rather hard boulder problem.

After a good few problems, we decided we wanted some real climbing, so crossed the road and walked to the easy sections. Starting easy, we cracked Pipe 1, 2 and 3 (f4, f5, f4+), then moved to do the lovely Zarza mora (f4+) which combines a lovely slab climb, with a powerful but easy overhanging top section. Lunch was called for, so we cracked open the melons and baggeutes. Bliss!!!

A large group of Englanders were hogging some of the popular routes, so we moved uphill and found the best section of climbing on that side of the road. Even busier (and cosmopolitan) than the other sector, we squeezed in on the easier free routes, and bagged another 3 decent climbs. Las Cagao (f5 **) was my favourite, with lovely climbing up an immaculate crack line, with wonderful flakes for hands all the way up. Next Door, End Slab 1 and 2 (Both F5) were a bit bolder, and thinner than Las Cagao, but provided an interesting challenge none the less.

Iain pumping his way up Quarried wall (f5+)

Dave climbing like a bat (in the dark!)

With the day drawing on, we decided one more route was in order, so moved back down hill to do the overhanging and pumpy route known as Quarried wall (f5+). Iain and Dave made easy progress to the last clip before coming off because of the pumpy and compressed nature of the route. I made it up clean, but have done it on top rope previously. Ben tried the route, and made it up halfway before suffering from a lack of climbing over the last few months, and was unable to make it up clean. Despite this he 'manned up' (his term, not mine...) and finished it as dusk set in. All that was left was a moonlit walk back to the car after an amazing first day on the Island.


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