It was a planned trip. Ksyukha Panteleeva, Stepa Dyatkovsky and Larisa Malyzhenkova all joined me one by one. My camper van was ready and opened all its three doors and seven windows to welcome the guests from different corners of the world. This region had been chosen on purpose because Catalunia is a well-known international rock-climbing centre. Moreover, organizing your stay in the region without my camper van is rather expensive – you have to rent a car and stay at a camping site or even rent an apartment.
At the moment the local authorities implement new bans and rules that make the life of the huge European climbers’ tribe more complicated. The climbers here have been used to living in their camper vans and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the place, but now the situation seems to be changing.
We kicked off from Siurana. It is a huge region of striking natural beauty.
The skin on the fingertips gets literally rubbed off fast, so it is time to move on to Margalef…
Margalef is a unique region solely consisting of conglomerate rocks. These rocks can easily be found all around the world, but only here the rocks are hard enough. Usually those rocks dust down when touched. As a result we could go climbing over holes of any sizes, forms and difficulty levels here. The tracks all resemble each other, but at the same time they are all so cool – you can find any overhanging angle, any exposition for any difficulty level. We spent over two weeks here and started working on some projects.
I was able to finally get fit after a long climbing break thanks to two perfect neighboring 7c tracks almost 20 meters long with good overhanging and good use of hands (Magic festival and La Corva De La Felicitat).
Unfortunately, this year in Margalef a bill was enacted that forbids “wild” camping in tents or cars. The parking fine in the whole region for parking your car from 8 in the evening to 8 in the morning is 200 Euros after the first warning. All climbers are forced to use a camping site which costs3-7 Euros a day from 1 person depending on the car type and number of people in one car. Taking a shower costs extra 3 Euros for 4 minutes. Add to this the costs of reaching the climbing sectors sometimes by tremendous serpentine roads because now it is forbidden to spend the night in the picturesque parking zones right under the climbing sectors.
Next year they are going to adopt the same system in Siurana. People say that there are considerably fewer climbers in Margalef this year because of these rules. On the other hand, some people including climbers think these new rules are a good idea, because thanks to them the signs of people’s stay in the wildlife reserve are getting more and more scarce.
Having done with Catalunia I lost no time and went to kayak in Portugal. But this is yet another story!