Arse Kicking In Chulilla, Spain - photos December 29 2014

Grassy Arse From Chulilla

Totally got my arse kicked in Chulilla. In fact, as I was roping up for a 7a (24) I asked my encouraging 16 year old daughter if I should try the 6c instead; she said, `depends if you want to get your arse kicked.’ And after I decked out on the 7a, I then got my arse kicked on the 6c (supposed 22). This was typical of our 6 days in Chulilla. I only led 6 climbs and dogged my way up a few more, but the 7a onsight called El Muro de las lamentaciones was very satisfying and a beautiful climb.

Chulilla is a visually spectacular orange limestone gorge up to 80m high with 800 sport routes. In the last few years it has become an internationally popular destination and we are sharing our accommodation with about 30 other climbers from many different countries such as Austria, Sweden, England, Norway, France, America, Germany and Spain. The popular cliffs are a circus with every climb occupied, ten different languages being spoken and Spanish climbers with their dogs shitting everywhere. It is one of the most amazing climbing areas I’ve ever seen. The river Turia has carved two connected gorges near Chulilla with sheer unbroken orange cliffs on both sides of the river for several kilometres. Then there is the unlikely positioned village of Chulilla clinging to the side of the cliffs, all painted in white with absurdly narrow and steep streets. From a distance the cliffs look amazing, but up close it looks a bit scrappy; like the routes required a lot of cleaning and the holds look a bit temporary at times. However, with all the traffic, the climbs are perfectly solid but a bit polished at times. I found the grey coloured limestone on crags outside of the gorges such as Pesadilla and Fantasia to be much better rock.

The grades are quite flexible here depending on whether the routes were put up in the 80’s or not. I onsighted a 7a at one crag that felt like 23, but got my arse kicked on a 7a on a different cliff which locals say is probably more like 7a+, and then got my arse handed to me on a 6c+ (supposed 23) which the locals inform me should me more like 7a+.

Jemimah on a terrific 6b (20) at Chulilla

What is it with Spaniards and their dogs? At every single crag we have been to, there has been at least 4 or 5 dogs at the cliffs and of course the accompanying dog shit everywhere. Spain has more dog shit than any country in the world I reckon.

Anyway, tomorrow we are off to the Costa Blanca, about 3 hours south and a bit warmer which we are happy about. I thoroughly recommend the climbers hostel called El Altico, perched on the edge of the cliffs, comfortable, reasonably priced, hot showers, and local legend Pedro to give you all the advice you need. So Gracias (grassy arse) for reading the article and log on in 10 days time to see how we got on in Costa Blanca. The only thing I’m missing about Australia now is getting the shit scared out of me while new routing on Stacks Bluff and the cricket. C’mon Aussie c’mon and kick those Indian arses.