Showing posts from 2018

Multi Pitch Climbing In El Chorro: Part 1

You know the "it", that calls you back to a crag time after time? Yeah. The sunny face of Frontales in El Chorro truly has that. This time it summoned me and T to climb some badass multi pitch with a mesmerizing view and clear sky.

We went up and down the two hundred meters high wall several times, so I decided to divide our experiences in two different posts. 
First I'm going to tell you a bit more general info about multi pitch climbing in El Chorro as well as share some tips and recommendations on multi pitch routes near the gorge. After that, I'll move on to the routes near the wicked cave of Poema Roca. You can think of the posts as my non-material Christmas present to all of you looking for a great autumn or winter climbing destination!

So: what's it like to climb multi pitch on limestone, that varies both in color and quality? In general, I'd say at least great. Definitely worth the effort of waking up well before sunrise to be the first one at the bot…

Spending the Holidays on the Road? Try These Cheap and Simple DIY hacks!

Celebrating Christmas is a traditional and fun thing to do. But spending the holidays in a motorhome is pretty far from most people's idea of the cinnamon smelling fiesta. As a climber, you're probably parked at some rural spot in the mountains, where you can't even play Jingle Bells from YouTube! You also want to continue the addictive lifestyle as long as possible, so spending a big amount of money in celebrating Christmas isn't an option.

So, how to celebrate Christmas on the road? On low budget? Here's a few cheap and easy alternatives to whatever traditions you and your family have.
Start early with a DIY advent calendar You might be a little late for this year, but December is coming next year, too. And don't worry, crafting an advent calendar with these instructions is as quick as it is easy! All you need is:
some feltsewing threada needle a pair of scissorsa marker pensomething to fill the calendar with Why felt? It's easy to cut and requires no fini…

Climbing the Mighty Slab Of El Turon

The headline says it all. Known for the distinguishing gray slab, El Turon offers many beautiful and delicate lines to climb in a serene rural milieu. In parts, the solid limestone with all it's furrows even reminds me of Verdon Gorge!
Not interested in any slippery slabs, huh? Don't stop reading!
As a less climbed neighbor of El Chorro, El Turon is nowhere near polished. When friction is on your side, it's easy to enjoy the small dimples and slopy lumps, that lead you from one shining bolt to another. Not once did I notice a hand or a foot slipping during the week we spent climbing in El Turon.

If you end up in El Turon, try at least these: Floja y pendulona (5+), some 6b+ around the corner, Acosa y derribo (6a) and Sombra Gris (6b). In my opinion, those routes are the essence of the place!

It's not like El Turon is perfect, though. Routes outside the main sector are often spiky and a bit scattered apart. Access to them isn't very pleasant either; the farther …

A Poop Show At The Crag

Sh*t. It's completely natural, organic and biodegradable, I know. But I'll never get used to stumbling upon human feces or sh*tty toilet paper, while walking around a crag. Or anywhere else, for that matter! And I know it's not just me, since the issue always pops up at some point, when I discuss with other outdoorsy people.

During our road trip, me and T have seen quite a lot of sh*it.
When it comes to the yucky phenomenon, El Chorro (Spain) is one of the worst places I've been to. On our first morning next to the mighty wall of Las Encantadas, I recall having spotted a used diaper just a few meters from where our RV was parked. And yes, there was a dumpster within a walking distance.

An unfortunate, but inevitable side effect of the crag's popularity? I hope not. Despite the fact, that El Chorro is a hugely popular winter crag, I think one can expect climbers and other visitors to respect the place a bit more.
Another example of a poop polluted crag is Camarasa (…

Halsvuori, The Granite Jewel Of Middle Finland

Looking for some great sport climbing in mid-Finland? Perhaps some traditional climbing as well? You just found your go-to crag! Located a short drive from Jyväskylä, Halsvuori is a popular crag with many high-class lines to climb. The shaded and a bit rugged-looking crag has a variety of slab, vertical as well as overhanging sport routes from 5c to 7c and trad lines from 4 to 7.

Measured with a Finnish yardstick, the routes at Halsvuori are also quite long. Being a land of a thousand lak... boulders, Finland has a lot of crags with just 10-15-meter routes. Halsvuori, however, has several lines longer than that. But don't worry, that 60-meter rope of yours is still enough to get you safely to the anchor and back on 99% of the routes.

Have I already praised Halsvuori enough to have caught your interest? Great! Now I can reveal the cons or more like a con, that the place has. Truth being told, there aren't that many easy routes at Halsvuori. At least, if you are not ready to com…

Cranky Mountain, The Saint Of Climbing As Hard As You Can

Dear readers, let me introduce you to Cranky Mountain. He's the saint of all feisty, gutsy, persistent and of course cranky climbers. From this day forward, you should sacrifice Him some skin from your fingertips each and every time you go climbing. In return, you He will bless you with the push, that helps you to conquer your latest project.

As you propably noticed, I'm feeling pretty exceited about Mr. Mountain and His muscular forearms. To be truly honest, He's actually not a saint, but more like a mascot or a logo. I've been working on Him during the past weeks and hopefully you guys like the way He looks. I know, that He's a bit rough on the edges, but I consider it a part of His charm.

Why do I want to introduce you to Cranky Mountain?  Simply, because I feel like the blog needs to stand up from the crowd a bit better. Cranky Climbing isn't just another travel blog and I want it to show. This blog isn't about me, but about you, my devoted readers and …

El Chorro Climbing Shop: Where To Buy Climbing Gear In El Chorro?

Let's imagine, that you're on a road trip and heading towards the world-famous El Chorro to do some climbing. But you're missing a guidebook and a few extra quickdraws would be nice, too. Perhaps you also discovered, that your rope is too short for the lengthy routes. So, where to buy a topo and other climbing gear in El Chorro?

Option number one is to visit the climbing shop in El Chorro. The shop is called Aventur El Chorro and it's located about 3,5 kilometers uphill from El Chorro train station. There's a small selection of climbing gear and clothes for sale.

You can also buy El Chorro climbing guidebook from Aventur El Chorro, like we did. Our version of El Chorro guidebook also covers Desplomilandia and Valle de Abdalajis, and in January 2018 the topo cost 25 euros. I consider the price very reasonable, even though some of the photos could be quite a bit more accurate.

In case you can't find everything you want from Aventur El Chorro, there's a climbi…

How To Survive A Hurricane During Road Trip?

Hurricane Leslie. The first hurricane ever to hit Europe. That's how they described the big storm, that was heading directly towards us and our RV parked at a cozy spot near Peniche, Portugal. Concerned of the strong wind and stuff flying around with it, we decided to head a couple dozen kilometers inland around 6 PM last night. At the time, the wind had already started blowing quite rapidly and the sea was getting messy around the Baleal Island – the place, where both of us had been surfing just a few hours ago.

We first noticed Leslie on the weekend's surf-forecast.  The forecast looked kind of sketchy with all the red triangles, big swell and rising wind speed. On Saturday afternoon, our neighbors (i.e. a the guys living in vans next to us) also warned us about the approaching hurricane. They were going to move inland later in the evening and suggested, that we would find some shelter too. After that, there were several people asking around about what to do and where to go.

Meatless October On The Road

Ah, the second week of meatless October. It means, that for a couple more weeks there's absolutely no excuse to cook pasta bolognese yet again with that gas stove or Trangia of yours. Instead, you should read on and get inspired to try out some new vegetarian receipes. Me and T actually eat meatless all year round, but I think this is an excellent time of the year to post a few super simple and of course oven-free vegetarian receipes.

But before I'll reveal the receipes, let me tell you something. We climb, surf, hike, go jogging and do all kinds of other excercises quite a many times every week. And we are both in good shape, even though we don't eat meat at all. What we use to replace the meat, is dairy products, eggs, beans, peas, peanuts, tofu, lenses and soy crumble. So far those things have provided us enough protein to keep our muscles growing.

I also want to emphasize, that it might actually be easier to eat vegetarian on the road than it is to eat meat. Why? Simpl…

1 Year Of RV Life In Numbers

It's time for some celebration! Why? Because we've been on the road for a whole year now. On 1. of October 2017 we left Finland for the first time with our RV and the trip hasn't come to an end yet. During the spring we slowly started heading back to Finland, stayed there from mid-June to mid-September and now we're back in Portugal. But for the whole year, our loyal Rimor Katamarano 4 has served as a home for the three of us.

About the numbers then. I think quite many of you are curious about some details concerning our little journey, right? Or at least those of you, who are planning on doing a similar escape from the numbing 9-to-5 life. So, let me share these few statistics with you, that we've gathered during the year.
25500 kilometers and 2500 liters of Diesel Whoah. Big numbers, but so is the RV. On it's own, our home weights about 3,5 tonnes and of course the actual weight with all our stuff is a lot more. This pretty much explains why the fuel consump…

3 Reasons To Love Olhava, The Finnish Sanctuary Of Traditional Climbing

I almost want to ask you to stay away from Olhava. The amount of visitors has already left it's mark on the rock, campsite and nature surrounding the most popular crag in Finland. Despite all the efforts to keep the place clean, empty bottles, plastic bags and toilet paper can be found here and there. Comparing to some old photos, the vegetation around the campsite has started to look pretty suffering, too.

So, what's so special about Olhava? Why does every Finnish rock climber try to make it to Olhava at least once a year? Why do tourists from Russia, Austria, Great Britain, Israel and many other countries around the world come there? And why should all the people visiting Olhava do their best to preserve the place?

First of all, Olhava is a beautiful piece of Finnish Lakeland.  It's located in the area of Repovesi National park near Kouvola. The pond, the forest and even the noisy red-throated loons make Olhava a unique place to enjoy Finnish nature - there aren't to…

Blueberry Pie On The Road

A few months ago a friend of mine asked: what can you cook in a motorhome? Do you guys eat just pasta and tinned food like when you're camping? Well, cooking in a motorhome is actually quite effortless and quick. A fridge, gas stove and sink make life easy, and you can cook many kind of meals in a motorhome. Some motorhomes also have an oven, but our's doesn't.

I've really missed oven only once while living in a motorhome.  That was when I had picked up some yummy blueberries and was craving for some freshly baked blueberry pie. It's a traditional Finnish sweet pie and also the most delicious dessert I know. Vanilla sauce makes it even better. But, no oven means no blueberry pie. Or does it?

You know women, when they're craving for something. Of course I came up with something that tastes like a blueberry pie, but doesn't require an oven to make. It might look more like a trifle, but to me it tastes surprisingly much like the blueberry pie my grandmother us…

Kustavi (Gustavs) – The Finnish Mecca Of Crack Climbing

I find myself more and more interested in cracks and jamming, so Kustavi was a natural destination after returning to Finland. It's located in the beautiful coastline of south-western Finland and has a great diversity of crags dedicated to traditional climbing.

Kräkiniemi The north facing wall of Kräkiniemi is a great place to try and practice traditional climbing. There's a handfull of easy routes, that are also easy to protect even by a beginner.
I doubt that you can find a more comforting place to start traditional climbing than the 10-15 meter high slab at Kräkiniemi.  Quite many of the routes have a clippable anchor, so you can concentrate on placing the cams and nuts without spending excess time at the top.
If you're looking for something really easy, the route Masto (4) is an excellent choice for a warm-up. Amelie (4+) at the rightmost corner of the sector is no harder than that. It actually has three variations, so you can climb up in a way that feels most comforta…

The Notorious, Scary And Absolutely Amazing Elbsandstein

If you're looking for an adventure, go to Elbsandstein. More than anything else, this area on the German-Czech border is a great place to test and practice your mental limits as a climber. Going up a 60-meter route with about 8 bolts or a shorter route using just knots as protection takes some balls, don't you think?

Elbsandstein or "Elbe sandstone mountains" is a place for experienced climbers and those with serious commitment or local guide. I happen to be a very lucky beginner accompanied by a courageous partner and at the time two local guides. Me and T met a couple from Pirna (a town near Elbsandstein) in Gandia and then again in Chulilla and stayed as their guest for almost a week. In this post I'll do my best to describe the three places we climbed at.
A suburban climbing garden What, you haven't heard of a climbing garden? No worries, neither had I. It's a crag, where beginners are introduced to sport climbing. The Liebethaler Grund climbing garde…