Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Albarracin, Spain

Took a bit of time, but I'm finally getting around to summing up my recent trip to Albarracin, Spain. I spent two and a half weeks in this sandstone bouldering paradise with my family and good friends Noah and Siemay and their son Zun. The trip started off slow with 5 straight days of rain and a medley of sicknesses passing through our group. Slowly we started to recover, though, and the clouds cleared into perfect glorious sunny days. What followed was an amazing collection of days climbing till we couldn't physically get up another problem.

Beautiful streets of Albarracin

Albarracin is an ancient fortified city in the mountains half way between Madrid and Valencia. The old stone walls, narrow streets, and complete disrespect for any Euclidean order in the layout of the buildings results in a unique, beautiful base camp for a bouldering trip. We were able to find a great apartment just outside of the city and only a 10 minute ride to the boulders.

Classic Spanish paella

The climbing in Albarracin is characterized by steep pocketed roofs that quickly round out to challenging mantels with sparse slopey holds and few feet. However, there are many great problems that break this mold. The bouldering zones are tightly packed with problems of all difficulties. It really is a treat to spend time in an area where you see classic problems every where you look and never run out of fun, brand new problems to try.

Sandy working a 7a with mean mantel

There were definitely some highlights from the trip: Orion, Zatoichi, Brainstorm, ... to name a few, but really it was the volume that made it so much fun. We beat ourselves down every climbing day trying to do as many problems as possible. Taking this approach, we had to leave behind a few lines that were a bit too hard, but ended up climbing many more classics than we would have if we hunkered down and projected just a few. It was totally worth it!

Me flashing Brainstorm 7b+

The other amazing aspect of the Albarracin forest is that it's an endless bouldering paradise for kids. My son Bayes and Noah and Siemay's son Zun (both 3 years old) had a blast climbing miniature 4 star lines. The problems where Mandalas and Midnight Lightnings scaled down to 1/3 size. It was awesome to see the kids develop during the trip climbing. By the end, they were climbing legitimate problems that were actually listed in the guidebook.

Bayes trying hard on an undone kids problem

The trip was a great success and a fun new experience in a new location. Definitely a great place to visit for many reasons. Hope you enjoy a few photos from the trip and a short video I put together.