Costa Dorada
March 2007.   Report by: Bryan Rynne


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After numerous Easter (and New Year) trips to Costa Blanca, Patrick and I felt that something radically different was called for this year, so we decided to go to the Costa Dorada. We flew to Barcelona, a city with some stunning sights and culture which we managed to entirely bypass on the ring road, and headed off west to a small, walled mediaeval town called Montblanc, on the edge of the Sierra Roquerola (which contains most of the Costa Dorada climbing).

Despite expectations, Montblanc was not entirely geared up for tourists, and we ended up eating every night in a small tapas bar, whose top of the range repast consisted of sausage, beans and chips (being vegetarian, after a certain amount of negotiation, Patrick was allowed to have sausage, beans and chips without the sausage). However, it did serve an excellent Pinot Noir-ish red, with a tremendous bouquet and red fruit flavour, with even a hint of game, in large jugs.

The weather turned out to be decidedly mixed — some hot days, but some wet and drizzly days, and some when it seemed about 5 degrees (not helped by the fact that most of the crags near to Montblanc are at about 800 metres). This will certainly not be an alternative New Year venue to the Costa Blanca.

Despite this, we climbed most days and did some very good sports routes. However, the most memorable day was a trip to Terradets, about 90 miles from Montblanc. This is a long, 400 metre high wall above a narrow gorge, with a large number of bolted and semi-bolted routes, and some routes requiring modern, high-technology protection equipment. Being British, we opted to do one of the latter routes — Supertramp, 6 pitch, F5. One might think it was good going to do 400 m in 6 pitches, but this face has a bizarre 'walk-off' ledge (feixa) at half height, which many of the routes stop at, including Supertramp. This was an excellent intoduction to the face, and we had hoped to do Smoking, F6b (bolted), but ran out of days that the weather seemed good enough to set off up a long route.

Overall, a good holiday, but next time I will leave the skimpy tops behind and bring that Buffalo shirt.