6th June 2017
La Isla Bonita – 6a, 4c, 6a – Lead (Dgd)
I’d heard that routes in Mallorca are hard for the grade and our trip to Sa Gubia was to reinforce that theory.
Sa Gubia is the big venue of Mallorca. Renown for its multi pitch routes, it is a proper mountain crag. Even as you approach in the car, the outline that is so familiar from the climbing guide starts to assume some scale. There is a realisation that this place is big…
You approach down a dry stream bed which meanders up to the base of the aretes and ridges. Suddenly the routes are there soaring into the blue skies. We wernt there to do the big ones on this day. Instead we picked out a starred 6a with three pitches. “Should be fine” I thought.
The start gave a clue. A bold difficult move to the first clip, followed immediately by a series of hard moves up onto the slabby area. Then after a tricky rock-over you are faced with an overhanging groove. I found this really testing and committing. It took me ages to fail….. but in hindsight this was probably a legacy of confidence (or a lack of it).
Having got through it though Chris and I found ourselves at a belay with a short wall behind. The obvious line was not the actual line. It proved to be v hard. Chris finally negotiated the correct path up a kind of chimney section which ended at the base of a series of knife edge flutes. These were great climbing for the first 75% but suddenly required really good bridging skills, which I lack, so I ended up having to back off and let Chris do it using his patented upside down T shaped moves. Even on a tight top rope I still struggled, so this is clearly an area I ned to work on.
Buuttt. It was an amazing climb. I would like to try it again actually, because I think I’d make a much better fist of it now.
As the temperatures rose, we retreated away back to our nice cool apartment and paella with lashings of Mallorcan Rum and coke.
On that subject, alcohol is cheap relatively, so we were on the beer (Estrella and San Miguel), but the Lidl’s rum proved to be a real bargain 4 euro’s a bottle and not too strong. Cards at night with a few of these made the evenings really entertaining. Sitting with the windows open, looking out onto the lamp lit square below was calming and added to a sense of being in the heart of a Majorcan village (which Valldemossa clearly isnt). But in the evening the tourists are gone, except for us, so I guess we were just lucky to enjoy a bit of serenity in this mountain town.