Las Munjas – drive-by granite cragging 

With the worst of the cold snap forecasted  to ease, we’re heading eastwards towards Madrid. We take the scenic route, threading north of the Sierra de Gredos and then to the south of the Sierra de Guadarrama, so plenty of snowy mountains to gaze at along the way, as well as evidence of the underlying granite. For much of the journey there are boulder fields that would take many lifetimes to explore with a pad and a beannie. Nothing very impressive to start with, but as you skirt north of Madrid you pass La Pedriza with the towering El Yelmo and finally arrived at our campsite beneath the similarly impressive La Cabrera.

Along the way, most of the potential stop-off cragging spots are either very high up (and cold!) or remote or both. With a bit of help from Donde Escalar we found Las Monjas (the Nuns), just west of Avila.  This is neither, as well as being just a few minutes off our route, and very roadside,  but nor is it exactly destination cragging – “modest” might be a polite description, but you can’t have everything!

We ticked four routes on the Huerta del Abjelo Jose buttress (the name, which means Grandfather Jose’s Orchard, is longer than some of the routes!), all around V to 6a+ which of course being slabby granite meant they felt like bolted grit HVS or E1. If nothing else we provided entertainment for passing locals! 

… The version below shows how tricky you can be with just the photo cropping tool in the phone – almost looks like proper climbing! Surprisingly fun and nice to get a bit of granite under the belt; a good way to break the journey – there’s a link to a topo here if you happen to find yourself at a loose end in the neighbourhood

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