The Escales section of the guidebook runs to almost a hundred pages, with a dozen sectors and a couple of hundred routes in the vicinity of the reservoir of the same name on the main N230 from Lleida to El Pont de Suert. This is just a quick snap shot of a drive-by and a visit to a couple with short approaches.
First – Els Escondite Facil. It’s super handy, right next to the road (a mixed blessing) but a quick recce failed to inspire. Meh grey slabs.
A little further along the road (and further away from it) is Escondite proper, which is a much more attractive proposition. You park just south of tunnel no 12 (the second one you encounter coming from El Pont de Suert)
… and then a gentle 5mins walk up a decent path
… brings you to the crag. There were a few Sunday Spanish teams already engaged, though there seemed to be a fair bit of struggling going on. You can just about make out a climber on Vamp, V+ (immediately behind the tree). This is one of a pair of Vs next to each other, and we didn’t want to crowd them, so we got on Del Ricard, 6a+ and the next easiest route at the left hand end of the crag. Excellent but absolutely nails for the first 10m or so (well worth stick-clipping the first bolt!) and then settles down into something more like the grade advertised!
In the foreground of the general crag shot (two above) the area of orange rock is home to half a dozen 6b to 7bs. I had a go at Ummagumma, a 30m 7a. The start is horrible on thin polished crimps and a couple of drilled pockets, but it’s worth persevering as the rest is very good, but with a lot of tough climbing – I managed all the moves but I was some way off putting the whole thing together.
Further right, Alpismo Virtual, 6a, and Epi y Blas, V+, both continued the theme of great climbing but hard-won. Here’s Helen on the latter.
Not the most productive day but a fabulous spot to spend a Sunday afternoon in the company of jolly local climbers and soaring vultures.
… and the view isn’t too shabby either.
Plenty more Escales sectors to come back for, including some by the water’s edge.