Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Four Days Bouldering in Can Boquet

Fed up of the Seemingly endless spells of rain and dampness that seem to plague England every time I free some time up in my busy life to just go climbing. I decided enough was enough and agree to go on a mad four day trip to Spain the land of endless sunshine. I and three friends jetted out to Barcelona with the intention of checking out the Boulders of Can Boquet and giving them a through going over. I didn't know much about the climbing before going out there but I got a copy of the topo and it looked like there was plenty to have a go at. One thing that I did come across was an area test piece called 'Biceps Power an 8a+. This seemed like the problem to test your self on and to try to climb out there. Only problem was it looked like an undercut power problem which is far from my specialty. One thing I did know was that this was going to be an intense trip.

Day 1:

We Landed and high tailed it straight up to the boulders. The first venue we checked out was Sector Nou, the home of the 'Biceps Power' (Photo right- T Simpson). I couldn't help myself, I was in no fit state to try it after just flying in, but my impatience got the better of me. After about an hour of getting nowhere, I finally figured out a sequence and did the moves. The only trouble was linking them before my skin gave out. I had another desperate hour of failed tries and long rest, before some how, by the skin of my teeth, sticking the crux from the start and battling through to the end. It was far from the smoothest accent I'd ever done. But I got the tick, and a good job too as I had ripped my thumb apart and had flapper style cuts to two of my fingers. It was very much a make or break moment for me and having got that done I felt my confidence rise and felt the pressure drop. I decided to just get as many good problems done as possible. Still feeling first day strong I quickly did a very cool 7c called 'Croquet Man'. Then in the dying light I headed up to try an 8a 'Tenacita Variante' on the recommendation of a local. On seeing the line I knew it suited me and after about 4 tries I'd done it from standing (7c+ish ) and followed by doing it first go from its logical sitting start. Not a bad first day! (Photo left - D Skoczylas)

Day 2:

On the morning of the second day we woke up to blue skies and sunny weather. We decide we would check out Sector Classic which is regarded as the other of Can Boquets main areas. On arriving it didn't disappoint. I warmed up then headed straight for the only 8a there 'Transporting' (Photo right - T Simpson). This looked very gritstony being a slight rising traverse on sloppy edges ending in a mantle on slopers. That done I relaxed even more and drifted around just climbing the best looking lines. Highlights included climbing 'Suc De Toronja Directo Sit' 7c a very classy looking slopey aerate and 'Delincuent Habits, a proud looking high ball arête line given 7c the guide but possible over graded?

Day 3

The weather forecast was bad for day three and the sensible thing to do would have been to take a rest day which the sensible climbers did. However me being me got up really early to beat the rain and arrived at the crag as the sun was just coming up. After a ridiculously poor warm up that involved climbing a 7b+ called Sex Apple. I headed straight to 'Gollum' a 7c+ back at Sector Nou (Photo left - T Simpson). It looked like another good powerful line. I gave it a few tries and quickly got the moves. The only trouble was my body was tired from all the climbing. Time was short with rain on it's way. But the conditions were brilliant and I knew if I didn't climb it now I probable never would. I took a gamble with a massive rest then on summoning deep reserves managed to top out just as it started to rain. The rain was almost welcoming and we decided to head to the beach and check out the tourist sites.

Day 4:

Mastergrip 7c Photo T SimpsonOn day four the sun was shining again for our last day in Spain. We headed first to Sector Classic where people wanted to finish unfinished business. I took a long time to warm up and try and get my, by now, broken body working again. I really wasn't going to get involved in anything trick but some how ended up trying 'Mastergrip' (Photo right - T Simpson) a ridiculously slopey 7c which I had purposefully avoided on Day 2, just because I didn't look possible! But once I’d tried it, I couldn't leave it alone not wanting to be beaten. Two hours later after battling with fatigue, Sore skin, bad sequences and sun, I managed to scrape over the top of the problem. It felt really hard for 7c and possibly under graded, but then again I was in no fit state to judge grades. After that I headed back to Sector Nou and finished off the easier problems there before splitting a tip and deciding enough was enough and that I really didn't want to climb any more as it all hurt too much. I had achieved my goal and climbed all the main lines in the two best sectors. Trip over we all had a hassel free flight back and landed in a dull damp England, which was all a bit of a shock after the nice weather of Barcelona.
So what did I think of Can Boquet? Well I have herd it said that there is not a lot there, the boulders are small and it's not worth the effort. To be honest I can see where people may get that impression from. If all you want to do is come and circuit climbs under 6c+ then you would be done in a day, unless you wanted to scrape around on the lower boulders. For me I found I really enjoyed pushing myself as the style of problems was such that they weren't just about power, but required subtlety as well, much like gritstone. As a place to come and climb at your limit there are some very nice harder lines. Because of the short nature of our trip we only really visit the two main sectors and that was enough as people found projects they wanted to spend time on. But just thumbing through the guide reveals there is a lot more to go and explore if you were here for longer. I certainly wouldn't mind if I ended up back here, so I'd recommend paying a visit, if only to stop off whilst exploring some of the many other areas in this part of Spain.

Dawid Skoczylas made a nice little video of the trip:

Can Boquet Bouldering Near Barcelona from Robin Müller & Dawid Skoczylas on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    A local from Can Boquet has left me some comments about your video. First of all he give you a huge congratulation, no dubt you are a good climber! Any way, he would like to give you some rectifications about some blocs.
    - ‘Cerebro atrofiado’ is not ‘Cerebro atrofiado’, the route in the video is ‘No somos nada’ (6c+).
    - The first version of Croquetman, is 7a+ with that method.
    - ‘Cerrojoman’ is not ‘Cerrojoman’, is ‘Cerrojowoman’ and you jump the first step of the entry (the hardest one).
    - ‘Delincuents habits’ is 7a+, not 7c.
    - ‘Franco ha muerto’ is 6c+.
    - ‘Atila’ is not ‘Atila’, is ‘Anasazi’ 7a+ sit.
    - Mastergrip starts at the right down as you do and the end is at the right also as you do, otherwise you jump the hardest movements.

    Anyway, congratulations. The video is amazing, so much work in 4 days :) If you ever come back to can boquet, you can always contact me to guide.