Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Steve McClure - Gran Canaria

December in Britain can be dreary! With flights at a mere £100 and a forecast of a sunny 20 degrees Gran Canaria looked appealing. A family holiday with a beach priority but enough rock to keep insanity at bay. We left Sheffield just as the snows began, roads already closing down and setting us on edge with a close call journey to the airport. Little did we know our flight out would be one of the last before the whole of the UK turned white.

The internet can be a beautiful thing; before going I made contact with Chris through and he offered to show me around. Chris is one of the nicest guys I have met, totally psyched, but selfless; an uncommon combination of characteristics for a climber! Despite the weather Chris took me out, battling through conditions to find any dry rock available. Amazingly we found 2 routes, a 7b and an 8c, though the 7b was actually half wet and probably 7c but a better warm up for it, especially considering what was coming next. Chris had already redpointed the incredible Meneo Canario, a soaring arête of rounded basalt, an exercise in friction and balance. It would be at home in the trophy cabinet of the best gritstone arêtes, except it’s bigger by far and continuous forever. Similar to grit, a long reach was invaluable and the flash didn’t come. Chris was psyched for me to redpoint it, but with the family waiting in the car already drenched, I figured time was against me if I wanted another day pass this trip, though to be honest I reckon I’d have been lucky to have gotten it anyway!

As the snow deepened to over half a metre in Sheffield and temperatures dropped to minus 11 degrees life turned normal in Gran Canaria and we settled into 25 degrees of sunshine and a holiday zone. Sandy beaches and some awesome walking led to a relaxed team and another trip out with Chris, this time to El Cruzadito. Things were much more like it here, with awesome stone cast in shadow and a gentle breeze taking the sweat off from the dusty walk in. Great routes and good movement! I blew the flash of Andujar Power but nabbed it first redpoint. Tough at 8b+ but awesome, in fact in a way I was glad to have fallen, as one go on a route this good would not have been enough. I was like a kid in a sweet shop, throwing myself at routes, getting some, missing others, but what did it matter? A tick, or a tick with a fall? Who cares or even remembers, only me, and then actually that’s unlikely. Perhaps I should have been saving some, because for sure I’ll be back. But then no need to save them really, this was just a taster of the climbing; the whole island is made of rock!

Look out for an awesome new guidebook due February – check

For a full selection of pics and photographer details see

No comments:

Post a Comment