Ager – Barranc de Grillons

We’d been itching to head back to this excellent crag ever since arriving in the area, especially Helen who had been injured on the previous occasion we’d visited, but chilly temperatures and an altitude of 1,100m didn’t seem like a great combo. With the weather picking up, we couldn’t resist a visit… 

The crag is accessed via a dirt road on the way up to the hermitage above Ager – only a couple of miles but plenty of twists and turns. This brings you to a small parking pull-in on a hairpin, and we were surprised to find half a dozen cars already there – obviously we weren’t the only ones who’d been waiting for a weather window. 

The van thermometer was only showing 8C and it was still fairly fresh on the crag, but we warmed up on a couple of routes on the right side of the crag Le Grimpeur Grandpere and Inyeccion de Liquidez, both 6a and the latter the better of the two. 

Moving left to the main part of the crag, we did the outstanding Antiparkes, 6a+, which takes a traddy feeling line up a groove and wall for 35m. Recommended!  

Meanwhile, the strong French couple we’d met on El Cilindre were enjoying Moriaco, the 40m 7a I did on our last visit. 

We headed further left to a new sector – El Triangle 

And did another tremendous 6a+, Crispy Pata, which takes an incipient diagonal crack line for the full 40m height of the crag in nominally 3 pitches but best done in a oner (and probably worth 6b). It gets quite gnarly in the gap in the crack when you end up cranking on quite small pockets 

I finished off with another 40m monster pitch, Wlkileaks, 6c+/7a, taking the thinnest line on El Triangle, with the crux being a 5m section of just beyond vertical trickiness after about 15m – absence of chalk or any signs of passage on the holds making for puzzling sequence selection. 

As the sun left the crag around 5pm so did we, as the temperature plunged. Back at the parking spot, the views were too good to leave, so we decided to settle in for the night, and we were rewarded by a spectacular sunset. 

… Lighting up the hermitage 

 And the sky! 

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