The Monkey Tracker

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Riglos Fiesta De Los Monkeys

After Rodlellar, our next stop was Riglos. One can never be sure if we were actually ever in Rodellar though??! You may notice that the text in this blog is a bizzare combination of Nomad facts and Beric insanity, some sort of absurd hybrid.

After reading a kick ass tip report from Lee Cujes about Riglos, we were pretty keen to head there to check it out. The town of Riglos is tiny with only a small shop, restaurant, refugio and no spadge whatsoever. Rafiki was not impressed.

The conglomerate formation sat just outside our window. In the twilight it looked brilliant and daunting.

Our plan was to repeat Fiesta de los Biceps a 9 pitch 250m 7a that came highly recommended from our friend Lee.  After a quick glance at the topo, the line was plainly obvious. A snaking path of lighter rock (due to traffic) and chalk was visible from the window! All we did was memorise the pitch grades!

Riglos is at a lower elevation than Rodellar so the days were much hotter, so we had to start very early for the route. Beric wasn't keen on the early start for the route so he was the media man, filming and photographing from the distance. We had been going hard for days now and got very little sleep that night due to the punk ass noisy teenagers next door. Damn hooligins.

It was a 5am start and Beric was disgusted when the alram went off. We took minimal water and sun protection, counting on that we could avoid the sun. 16 draws, 1 water bottle and 1 rope and we were off. We swung leads and Steve was first. The first belay was a mess of old, rusty undersized bolts.

Nomad struggled on the 2nd pitch due to a lack of sleep. At this point he was a little worried he would ruin the onsight attempt. Steve was responsible for the crux (3rd) pitch which he onsighted no worries. Climbing 7a was very difficult at 7:30 in the morning and was made even more challenging for Nomad by a phone call from his Mum mid crux, which he answered. After a few small crimps he was up at the belay. We could see the sun breaking over the hills in the distance and beginning to cover the top of the route. It was a race against the clock to prevent dehydration!

Meanwhile, Beric was trying to concentrate on filming while a French girl moaned and ranted French jibberish through the open window on the balcony. Something about satisfaction and pleasure. All will be revealed in the movie below. Pitch after pitch we slowly onsighted this beast. All of the pitches were extremely pumpy due to the nature of the rock. Rocks the size of tennis balls to basketballs are glued precariously together with a natural 'cement' creating a maze of open holds. Without chalked holds we would have been toast! Almost all of the pitches are overhanging, especially the 6th and 7th. Steve did a mighty job sending the 7th pitch which weighed in around 6c+. During the morning the local church bell rang every hour which helped us keep pace! After Nomad finished leading the 8th it was all over as the top pitch was only a grade 4. Ten minutes later we were at the top around 10:30! We had made it with a little water to spare. A windy walk back down and we'd completed it in a refugio to refugio time of 5.5 hours.

That afternoon we concocted some plans for a second and final day in Riglos. After debating we decided on climbing El Puro (translation: The Cigar), a thin tower immediately adjacent to one of the Riglos monolith's.

Nomad did the first pitch which was probably the best climbing on the whole route. From there it all went downhill. Just as we expected standard conglomerate to be. Fiesta de los Biceps was an exception. This was horrible. Loose gulley's, run-outs, vegetation, chimneying and dodgy fixed gear:

The only advantage of this horror show is that is was in shade the whole time. When we started to get closer to the summit the vulturous Birds were amassing! waiting for us to fall to our deaths. Devilish slaves of the Chris Bird himself.

At the summit was a loose collection of three pitons and a wire cable. Two of them were completely loose and the third had been pulled out. Nomad clipped it all together and hoped that the wire was connected to something tangible.

BOMBER!! Upon Steve's arrival he tried to hammer in the third piton with a rock while Beric climbed up. This was a nice surprise at the summit.

Now, here is another crumb movie for you greedy bastards. Please note, Beric is now the TOM Evans of this town. For those of you who don't know, Tom Evans is the king rock climbing stalker photographer of Yosemite. Please excuse that commentary was not provided for the first section of the Fiesta Del Biceps footage as Beric needed to be super stealthy on the Balcony so as not to give away his position......

Next we went to Barcelona. The GPS worked. We were lucky to have some Couch surfing Hosts for 2 nights right in the center of Barcelona next to La Rambla. Their names were Vicente and Perdro's. We didn't meet Pedro until 5 minutes before we left his house on the last day. Pedro's house was a happening place, conveniently located above a magic shop and occupied a full floor of an old school sky scraper. Loaded full of secret rooms, bizarre ornaments and personalities. Nomad slept on a bouldering mat and

 Beric made friends with an Indian...

1kg tuna tins! what more could you ask for..

The next day we headed out to see La Rambla where a whole gang of scam artists reside. They will try to trick you out of 50 euro a pop with their cup and ball game. The people winning the game in the crowd are all part of the scam. You have been warned. The food market there was amazing - thanks Donna Beric
and Sophie.

Please note, this girl above is welcome to photo bomb my shots anytime she wants..

We wandered down and saw the marina shopping centre, a very unnatural array of expense and glamour built on a man-made island next to the luxury yachts. Following this we caught the tube to see Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, a highlight for any architect. I can't explain it and I won't try and begin to. Just see it
for yourselves damn it.

The last day in Barcelona we negotiated with a good Euro parking and then took Steve to the Airport and dropped him off.

Some of you such as Bloomy may have been extremely shocked to see Steve wandering around in Townsville a few weeks ago. Yes you are crazy, but not completely bonkers, Steve was indeed back in Townville. He was there for his sister Marissa wedding, a large scale operation Greek Wedding. Just like in the movies we imagine.

Good riddance Steve. And don't come back. I've been trying to loose that bum for 24 years!

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