El Chorro – Frontales Medias

After a slow start to allow time for the sun to get over the crag and begin to warm the van, we trundled down into El Chorro. It’s had something of a makeover since I last visited three years ago. The Camino del Ray has been refurbished and transformed into quite a tourist attraction, and the couple of bars have been tarted up.
We reestablish Base Camp at The Olive Branch, a welcoming though slightly quirky Brit-run bunkhouse and campsite. Great location beneath the Encantades sector.

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Clear blue skies, but a bit of a breeze, so Justin and Chris suggest sector Momia on Frontales Medias.

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Without really realising it, we arrived and put our bags down immediately underneath the route Ak Sunamun. I’d followed Jake up this about 3 years ago, and had logged it on a mental tick list of possible 7b+s I might try. I’d only messaged him the night before to remind me of the name, and here I was sitting underneath it. The fates collide. …but did I want to be in a collision?
I warmed up putting the clips in, and spent ages and much energy faffing on a run-out section of off-width crack. I had a couple more rests on the way to the chains, but did manage all the moves, arriving knackered. I was about to concede defeat and strip the gear, perhaps daunted by the scale of the undertaking and likely failure of a clean attempt. I’m not cut out for this sports climbing business. However, Helen shouted up that I should have a go, and what did I have to lose… Nothing but my pride, so I left the clips in, lowered off and pulled the rope. Committed. …
After a bit of a rest, the climb went surprisingly easily – a mammoth struggle, but I never really thought I was going to fall off. Nearing the top, I headed right and touched the chain to ‘tick’ the 7b version in Rockfax, then reversed a few metres and headed out left up a prickly undercut flake/groove. Just a couple more bolts lead to the original lower off of the route and my first 7b+ 🙂 * Happy Days!
Time for beers and sunset with views for a million miles over Andalucia!

*Footnote: (my previous ‘sod it, I’m counting it anyway’ 7b+ was in Turkey, when I slipped off on easy ground on soaking rock in a storm )

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