|The Picos De Europa|
Of grand routes in southern Spain and Majorca in the spring, and of warm rock and the smell of rosemary and thyme in the hills. A time when you knew you were truly alive, not just existing.
|Getting high on the Espolon Central route Puig Campana, Costa Blanca Spain|
|Route Gubia Normal Gr3, St Gubia Mallorca|
|Picos de Europa|
|Al on La Nani (D sup), South Face of El Naranjo De Bulness (Pico Urriellu) Picos De Europa|
A few more moves and a bomber belay awaits. Safety checks done, toes on the edge, let the rope take the weight and lean out. Looking down hundreds of feet past unseen companions somewhere below the overhang.
More pitches, a bit of banter and laughter and a pause for the odd photo. Now and again a hint of fear as arms tire and the protection begins to space out. Suddenly shouting in Spanish - a curse, or a warning perhaps, but then the sound of a falling rock thrumming past over to the left. I wonder what the Spanish is for BELOW? A bit more laughter - nervous this time - but no harm done the overhangs protect us..... for now!
|Approaching the Summit of El Naranjo De Bulness (Pico Urriellu) Picos De Europa|
Suddenly we hear voices, French, Spanish and German perhaps. It's the summit - cracking views and a little Madonna statue watching over us. Chatting with the other climbers in a mixture of gestures and badly pronounced language, more laughter, some food and drink - relax - but only a little because the job is only half done.
Nearly there, just about to pull down the last rope and then an unmistakable shout in French from above "ATTENCION". Stones clattering down, a moments panic and I learn a new Spanish word from the team beside us, "Va, Va" GO, GO and everyone ducks in close to the rock.