Thursday, February 2, 2017

Spain: Siurana

Siurana is a beautiful mountaintop village, completely isolated and surrounded on all sides by massive cliffs of perfect limestone. Climbers know it well, but what intrigued me is it's human history. In 1153 it was the last Muslim enclave to fall to militant Christians in Catalonia. It was remote and defensible due to it's natural terrain barriers. After a long conflict and the fall of major villages in the area, invasion was imminent. The Moorish Queen, Abdelazia, chose to ride her horse off the cliff, taking them both to their death. The horse, though terrified, was obedient. As the story goes, there is still a hoof-print in the rock from it's struggle.

I was hesitant about spending a lot of time climbing here. The prevalent style is very similar to what we find on Wyoming dolomite, with an even mix of thin pockets and crimps, but very little of the flowstone found in other parts of Spain. The rock, from a distance, often looks flaky and banded.

After sampling some of the routes, I thought this was maybe the best climbing I've done here. The rock is perfect, bullet hard, and has great features. It demands power, contact strength, but also supreme balance and technical ability owing to it's thin features. It demands quite a bit from the skin. This is perhaps not the most popular style these days, but I found it very rewarding.

one of very few tufa routes in Siurana

After our time in spain was up, Erik and I checked out the Mediterranean beaches on our last day.
I hope to return again soon!

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