Tag Archives: Margalef

Climbing and Culture in Catalunya

Haley climbing in sector Esperó Primavera in Siurana

Haley climbing in sector Esperó Primavera in Siurana.

Ever wanted to drop everything, find some work in Spain, and live out your climbing dreams? Guest author, Haley Ross, did just that, and today she’s giving us the inside scoop on living and climbing in Catalunya. 

Spain, and more specifically Catalunya, has gained world-renowned climbing status with its legendary crags like Siurana, Margalef, Oliana, and Montserrat. In recent years, the climbing community has grown dramatically, with professionals and novices alike moving here to take advantage of the endless opportunities. If you’re lucky, you’ve gotten the chance to explore some of the truly exquisite climbing, but what if you decided to call Catalunya your home? I had barely dabbled in the climbing world before moving to Spain in 2012 to try my hand at teaching English abroad. I imagined staying for a few months, maybe a year, but that all changed the day I started climbing. I was instantly hooked on the sport for all of the common reasons: physical exercise, being in nature, the sense of community and positive atmosphere. But climbing here seemed to posses something distinguished, one-of-a-kind, with an extremely fanatical, almost (and by ‘almost’ I mean totally) addictive quality. I’ve now been living, teaching, and climbing in Catalunya for the past two years and have no intention of leaving. You’ve probably heard about the “magic” of Catalunya, or even had the chance to visit, but what is it really like to call it home? Why has it become such a climbing “mecca” and what makes it so special?

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Mar Álvarez sends Era Vella, 9a/5.14d

alvarez_carlos perez

Mar Álvarez on Tripa de Conejo (8b+) in Rodellar, Spain

34-year-old Spanish climber Mar Álvarez has thrown down in Margalef, Spain by sending Era Vella (9a/5.14d)! The route was established in 2009 by Chris Sharma and has since seen almost 20 repeats. The only woman to have climbed the route before Mar was Sasha Digiulian back in 2012. This marks Mar’s first 5.14d and of the route she says, “It’s a dream come true. I never thought I could string it together.” To get a sense of the route check out the raw footage of Sasha on Era Vella below. Congrats to Mar, and keep the strong sends coming!

Climb on!

Info and Photo Credit: 8a.nucpfotografia.com.

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Alizée Dufraisse Sends Coma Sant Pere, 8c+


Alizée Dufraisse climbing in Margalef

Just a few weeks ago Alizée Dufraisse sent Aitzol, 8c (5.14b), and Via Del Quim, 8b+ (5.14a) in Margalef, Spain and mentioned on her blog that her next goal was to take down Coma Sant Pere, 8c+ (5.14c). Turns out she’s a woman of her word because she just reported sending the climb. The route took her 8 days of work and on her blog she describes it as an “athletic route” and “wonderful line”. Back in 2012 Alizée became the fourth woman to climb 9a (5.14d) with her FFA of La Reina Mora. We’ll be keeping a close eye on her blog to see if her next project happens to be 5.15 – Congrats Alizée!

Climb on!

Info and Photo Credits: Alizée’s blog

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Alizée Dufraisse Sends 8c and 8b+ in Margalef


During our interviews at The Heist, we asked some of the strongest American female climbers, “Who will be the first female to climb 5.15?” While there wasn’t a unanimous response, among the names speculated on was Alizée Dufraisse. Indeed, it looks as if she may well be on her way to sending 5.15. Over the last week, Alizée made quick work of Aitzol, 8c (5.14b), and Via Del Quim, 8b+ (5.14a), both routes in Margalef. We’re not exaggerating when we say “quick work”: she sent both in only 3 days. As she moves up the ladder, closer to 5.15, she already has her sight set on Coma sant Pere 8c+ (5.14c). On top of that, she’s working against her own deadline as she plans to return to the comp circuit in 2014. We have no doubt that she will take her next route down with the same graceful crushing power that she has exhibited throughout her climbing career. If you want to get a peak into what it means to give it all climbing, check out this video of Alizée that we’ve shared in the past.

Keep those fall sends coming! Climb on! ~Cate

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Another Hard Flash for Matilda Söderlund

Just yesterday Matilda Söderlund on-sighted an 8a (5.13b) and flashed Batuka, an 8b (5.13d) in Margalef, Spain. She already has 12 on-sights and 4 flashes between 8a and 8b+ under her belt (all completed in 2012 alone!), so this 20 year old Swede must have quite a knack for reading rock. Of course we’re always psyched to hear about a woman sending difficult climbs, but her on-sight and flash record make it even sweeter. This video features her on-sighting yet another 8a+ (5.13c) in Margalef in 2012.

Quick translation for you newbies, on-sighting is sending a climb on your first try without any beta and flashing is sending on your first try, but with beta.  And of course, beta is advice from other climbers about the route.

Learn more about Matilda and the bread she’s been baking on her blog http://matilda-soderlund.blogspot.com/.

Climb on!

(Info thanks to 8a.nu)

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