Monday, January 9, 2012

Ager- Spain's Shelf Road

I hate Shelf Road.  Aside from a couple of good routes, I find the climbing unpleasant, and most of the lines a bit squeezed and contrived.  I would rather climb at the gym than spend a day at Shelf.  In fact, I would rather not climb.  This said, somehow, I managed to spend my last climbing day in Spain at an area called Ager- Spain's Shelf Road.

The night before, we were looking through the guidebook trying to find an nice climbing area on the way to Barcelona.  Ager had a good spread of grades, and lots of routes, but I could tell from the pictures that it was Shelf-like.  Despite my strong protests, we ended up Ager.

On a positive note, the view is amazing.  These are taken from the parking area.  

The view from the cliff is even better

This was the first cliff we visited in Spain that didn't have hoards of people waiting for every route.  Probably because the crag gets good in January and we were 2 months early.  But we didn't know that, so we pushed on.

The crag is mostly vertical to slightly under with a short overhanging wave within the first 20 feet.  Small, sharp crimps abound.  Tufas and steep rock are seriously lacking at this crag.

 The middle cliff was definitely the proudest cliff at Ager.

Lower right wall.  The lack of chalk and visible holds made the 5.11's and 5.12's in the orange sections of this crag look like 5.15!

 Cool ancient wall at the base of the wall.

 Ted on some 12+ in the blazing sun.  So hot!  Temperature hot, I mean.

It was a hard day.  Disappointed by the cliff, but still trying to climb, I went to put my "good" shoes on and ripped out the tongue! 

Frustrated, I grabbed my camera and tried to find some beauty outside of the climbing.  The most interesting thing I found was some wormwood.

We stopped at the obsevatory for Doug at the end of the day.  Apparently, Ager is famous for it's clear skies.

Ager was our last attempt to see as much of Spain as we could.  In my opinion, it felt like a horrible waste to spend our last day at such a low quality area.  Although I hated the climbing, I still felt fortunate to be there.

The climbing was over, and my thoughts shifted towards home and the familiar.    Maybe the next time I go to Shelf, I will think about Ager, and remember how beautiful climbing is and how lucky I am.

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