Saturday, 17 May 2008

Bouldering in Galicia - O Granito galego

Bouldering at Pena Corneira, Galicia, Spain

Forget Hampy, it is too far. Forget Targassonne, it's too cold or too hot. The futur of European granite bouldering lays a few kilometers away from a town called Ourense in the south of the Galicia region, northwest of Spain: here, 15km of hills are covered with huge round granite boulders. There is so much there that you could spent your entire life climbing first ascents. The place just blew me away. It has it all. It is beautiful and quiet. The winter conditions are perfect even though you can climb there till the early summer.
But first thing first, let's talk about Galicia. It is a country I love for lots of reasons. 

It is quite different from the spanish stereotype you may have in mind: Like the Irish, Galicians are Celts. Like the Irish, they're welcoming and hepfull. Like the Irish, they have their own music and their own language. And like the Irish, there is a fair amount of them on the other side of the Atlantic.But unlike the green people, Galicians know what matters in life: quality food, quality wine and taking the time to enjoy them.

So, what's the rock like? 

Imagine a granite so fine that it sometimes looks like grit. Although this not the case everywhere, it is definitly very enjoyable in the "developed" areas. I met there with Miguel Feijoo Fernández, one of the very few but dedicated locals. They climb only in the Pena Corneira itself - the tip of the hills range), where they have 4 sectors more or less "explored", the reason for this being that this is where the granite is the finest. But with all the work they have put in there, they are far from having it developed! Miguel is currently trying to organise a oudoor competition in Octobre, the reason for this being to open more problems.... It says it all.

Here is the usual info:
Best season: Autumn to Spring although the magic conditions occur most often in Octobre / Novembre.
Nearest airport: Santiago de Compostella (home of one of the most famous christian pilgrimage)
Language: they don't expect you to speak galician so you'll be fine if you speak spanish (you should be able to survive with english only though)
Accomodation: lots of hostels in Ourense, but you can camp in Pena Corneira, the place is a paradise.

More info available on Miguel blog.

There also a general blog about climbing in Galicia here. These guys have a forum, and some of them speak english.

More pictures here.

1 comment:

Miguelito said...

Thank you for what you said Pierre, good luck. Miguel