El Vellon 

Not sure if it’s “The Beast from the East” down here, but there’s a major system of crappie weather covering much of Spain for the whole of the week (and beyond in places). We came up with a cunning plan to try to minimise its impact on us – use the freezing 4C, but dry morning ahead of the storm to recce a couple of other crags around Patones, then drive the following day  through the worst of it (road conditions permitting) to the coast near Barcelona (6 hours) where hopefully more warmth and dryness await.

First stop El Vellon – easy access and a sunny aspect make this Madrid’s favourite after-work crag. It’s an unusual sandstone crag and has a reputation for being quite short (circa 15m) very polished and very steep, which were all fully justified on inspection. Despite the freezing conditions, we packed the gear “just in case” as it was only a five minute walk, and were amazed to find some locals in situ 

We were therefore shamed into doing a route (in fact two, both V+ and actually quite fun) despite it being 4C, cloudy and with a bit of a breeze. 

With honour having been salvaged (the Spaniards were trying harder routes but understandably not getting up them in great style) we made a quick recce of the rest of the crag, 

decided it would be worth coming back for in better weather, then headed for the warmth of the van. 

Just in time, as the snow started falling around 4pm and we had our own Spanish winter wonderland by sunset. 
Time to head for the coast and lose some altitude! 

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