Espiel is tucked high up in the Sierra Morena, about 50km NW of Cordoba. We’re very much off the beaten track – we didn’t see a single motorhome on the pretty journey via Cadiz and Seville, in stark contrast to the Costas.
Espiel itself is a small industrial town next to a reservoir, but the crag is accessed by a 2km walk (half of which can be avoided in a 4wd) which brings a feeling of remoteness as civilisation is hidden around a bend.


There’s an impressive mile-wide upper band of cliffs with a mix of long  (sometimes trad) routes. Instead, for our first day, we explore the recent developments which have taken place on a lower tier, further along the hillside, giving another hundred or so single pitch routes.


Sector Estrella offers a bunch of long, sustained 6as & bs on featured grey rock, which comes into the sun around midday. After completing our first route we bumped into local climber who turned out to have equipped it. Luckily we’d said  it was ‘Muy Bonito.’


There’s also a gash of red rock which has prompted some rather gynaecological route names and yielded an unsatisfactory, contrived 7a.
Back towards the parking, and now in the sun, sector Huesitos is a steeper, and very pockety wall.
Helen makes a fine job of leading La Amiga, her first 6b on her comeback – she’s well on the way 🙂 Here she is pulling over the top roof:


With the sun setting we headed for the car, chatting briefly with some locals who’d nipped up for an after-work route.


A great day, only marred by the discovery that I’ve managed to lose one of my rock shoes – probably at San Bartolo, about 250km away 😦 Very careless, and scant reward from me to a trusty servant which had got me up some of my best ever ticks over the last 6 months. Anyone want to buy a part-used left shoe? 😉

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