Day 5 – Escalar Alpinista / Sportiva

We were undisturbed in our not very stealthy stealth camp and woke this morning to enjoy the view of the church and the mountains over breakfast. We had arranged with Silvia and Carlos, our hosts from Day 1, that if the weather was good they would come to the mountains to climb with us. Text exchange confirmed they were still up for it, so Anna and I hurried on to our new campsite 10 km away in Potes to drop out stuff, while Silvia and Carlos drove out from Santandar.

They came and picked us up from the campsite and we headed in to town for supplies before driving up a steep mountain road – a taste of what we will have to do on the bikes tomorrow apparently!

The weather was bad when we got to the car park, but we decided to hike to the rock face and see if it cleared up on the way. Before setting off, Anna tucked into first lunch, a new discovery from the bakery in town. This is what happiness looks like.

Chorizo empinada

Chorizo empinada

We walked up one of the hills and came past some other climbers who had given up for the day, so things weren’t looking good. But when we got to the top the rain stopped and although it looks bad in the picture, Silvia decided we should get a couple of dry hours, so we went on to the face.

Assessing the weather

Assessing the weather

It was a great call, on the way the sun came out, and by the time we got to the bottom of the face the sun was shining over the stunning valley laid out below us.

View of the valley

View of the valley

Silvia and Carlos are way better climbers than us, so they climbed first (led), and put a rope in place for Anna and me to tie in to. This meant we could try the routes without any risk of falling. After we got more confident we could try leading some routes if we wanted.

Silvia leading the first route

Silvia leading the first route

Cue about six hours of climbing, chatting and eating. It was amazing, the climbing was fun, and the guys had managed to find some routes that were about the right difficulty for us, although most of the climbing in the area is really hard. After we got tired and footsore (climbing shoes are always tight so they hurt after a while if you’re not used to them) we sat and watched Silvia do her last climb of the day, which incorporated a very smooth vertical face followed by a tricky overhanging ledge with slippery footholds. She got up it fine though and once Carlos had done one last route as well, we packed away and headed back. On the way back we exchanged more language tips, Anna and I now know the words for “far” (lajos) and “near” (circa) and Silvia and Carlos appreciate the important pronounciation difference between “pitch” (a climbing term referring to a single section of a climb) and “bitch” (a lady dog).

Spanish lesson

Spanish lesson

Soon we were back at the car, and I suddenly realised that there is nothing more reassuring at the end of a long and tiring day than a bright orange WV camper van. Must get one of those one day!

Home!

Home!

Silvia and Carlos took us back to our campsite where we wished each other “Hasta luega” for possibly the final time. I’m a bit sad because they are awesome people and have been so welcoming and friendly and made the start of our trip so much fun. Hopefully we’ll catch up one day in the future.

It was about 9 pm by the time we got back to camp, so we interspersed showering, cooking, blogging and tent organisation to good effect and we are just heading off to be for 11. Looks like a massive day of hard climbing tomorrow so we are going to stop in at the bakery in town in the morning for some more empinandas to keep the spirits up and the legs working. On that happy note, goodnight!

– Dave

One thought on “Day 5 – Escalar Alpinista / Sportiva

  1. Sarah Atkinson says:

    Anna was telling me one of her lessons learnt from Canada was taking more pictures of the wonderful people she met – glad to see this plan has been put into action!

    Like

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