Muro Techo – shelter from the storm!

After a bad couple of months for me in terms of injuries (bad back, bad leg, deep cut on my middle finger) it was a pleasure, even on a cold day, to get out climbing. Even more special was to be able to show our first guests at Casa Quiros (www.casaquiros.co.uk) some great routes at one of the sectors that maybe they wouldn’t have gone to. Muro Techo is a great crag (looking much like the UK’s Kilnsey crag) and yet, because it’s a bit of a hike (20 mins), it’s sometimes forgotten.

I’ve climbed there a lot, and especially in summer when its orientation means it doesn’t get the sun until around 1.30pm so you can have a good few hours shady climbing. However, on a cold day (or when there’s a bit of rain), it can also come into its own as it is both sheltered and, due to the jutting roof that guards it, virtually never gets wet. In fact you can basically climb in the pi**ing rain there and have a great day. And on this day, mid-March is was both cold and rainy so we headed up there to sample the delights!

Nicola Basset on the brilliant Llagartu Verde 6a,  with a good view of the massive roof behind…

Nicola Basset on the brilliant Llagartu Verde 6a,  with a good view of the massive roof behind…

In general the rock at Muro Techo is very good, and tending towards the slabby it’s a technical and delicate climbing style. And with a preponderance of routes up to 6c on the main walls there’s plenty to go at.

As usual we warmed up on the short and sharp 5+ first pitch to Ambigut – a steep crack, it’s a good way to get the arms working. I then took Nic and Rodger over to the Clasica de Muro Techo 6a, 6a+. Even upgraded to 6a the first pitch is a tricky proposition and a bold layback and difficult clip adds meat to this good route. However, with the clips in Nicola stormed it but appreciated my warnings of the potentially stopper move!

The tricky clip on Clasica del Muro Techo...

The tricky clip on Clasica del Muro Techo…

Just after this my friend Ramon pitched up and bizarrely enough had been climbing next to Nicola only a couple of months before at El Chorro. Introductions were made and then Ramon headed up to try Ambigut – this time the 2nd, 7b, pitch. And although a lot of Mure Techo is slabby at the right hand end there’s plenty of steepness with a series of routes of ever-increasing difficulty though some tough roofs. Ambigut V+, 7b is the most accessible of these and Ramon attacked it with gusto – only coming unstuck on a particularly fierce mono move near the top.

Ramon Alvarez on Ambigut

Ramon Alvarez on Ambigut

Our team then moved onto Llagartu Verde, a sweet little 6a, 6c whose first pitch is a superb exercise in slab climbing. This time I took photos while Nicola sent the first pitch without too much trouble and came down singing its praises!

The first pitch of Llagartu verde 6a

The first pitch of Llagartu verde 6a

Finally, it was my turn to climb and I chose to finish on Hierro y Fuego, 6b, a great little route which wends its way up the centre of the main part of the crag. With two tricky sections and some rock which is a little ‘different’ it’s quite a challenging route. I just held on at the top when some evil slopers come into play and after a couple of months out was suddenly feeling the strain.

Lost in a sea of rock, Nicola on the crux of Hierro y Fuego...

Lost in a sea of rock, Nicola on the crux of Hierro y Fuego…

Nicola followed me and finally came unstuck as a combination of a cold day and a couple of pumpy layback moves did for her! However, she was not downhearted and both her and Rodger, who had been surprised to be able to climb on what was a pretty miserable day, were pleased to get out and tick some pretty cool routes and visit a different crag!

As we walked down, we christened it a ‘British/Spanish day’ and headed off to enjoy a very, very thick cup of chocolate in San Martin below!