There are some places I just love to climb and Sector Eclipse at Quiros is one of them. Now I don’t understand why but this is a sector ignored by most and I have never seen anyone there. However, for me it has a great mix of routes, there’s a decent spread of grades and possibly the best 6c+ in Asturias. (Controversial!!!)
Oh, and one more thing I should mention, it also gets into the shade at around 1.30, a blessing for a keen climber in the summer months. Returning there after a break was a treat for me for a number of reasons; firstly I completed my project, secondly I warmed up on a route which felt pumpy as hell on the last visit and finally I had the same feeling repeating a route as the first time – which is rare.
First visit, with the ever patient Den (who seems to get stuck with me in project mode) I warmed up on Amanita 6c+, a really good (and long) route which takes a burly crack for fully 35 metres. Certainly easier the second time there’s big moves, finger jams and intricate slabs and was happy that I felt solid all the way. Reason being I’d returned to finish a route I’d bolted about two years ago.
Called Chorrera Negra I’d tentatively graded it 7a and put it in the guide even though I’d not had time to complete it. I’d had the time after bolting to top rope it and although very tired had just about done it in one go. So feeling good I thought I’d just whip up it quickly and get it ticked.
However, I hadn’t counted on the fact that A. I hadn’t cleaned it brilliantly and the intervening 1.5 years would leave it worse. And B. it was pretty badly bolted with spaced bolts meaning you had to do hard moves above them and C. it was bloody hard!!!
Starting up an existing route, El loco de la colina, it zips straight up the wall above the start via a series of pockets, flakes and some very small and indistinct holds to join the belay of Luz de alba (another very good route). Almost immediately after leaving the start of the first route I was stumped – I’d put the first bolt on my route high to avoid any conflict and instantly it was a nervous clip. Then again after clipping things didn’t get much better as teh crux seemed desperate, above the bolt and with a ‘gripper clipper’ for the next one.
Up, down, up down, I got pumped and more pumped. – feet on nothing much, dirty hand holds and fear keeping me down. Finally I committed and managed to push on – brutal – but a decent crimp got me clipped and a carried on. Phew, crux done! I didn’t remember anything else hard until the last few feet so felt a bit happier. But, I was once again subject to memory failings as almost isntantly the territory became thin, precarious and very, very unobvious. Sketch by sketch I advanced and slowly but surely i was going to be mine. By the end I was totally pumped with cramping feet and it was will power nothing more (and the threat of having to come back) which got me up it.
Very relieved I snagged the belay and lowered off pleased as punch but damn tired. I was very proud of my route and my determined effort, whilst acknowledging it’s failings and vowing to come back and clean and add a bolt or two to my ordeal.
So overall, maybe my first new route on the Queen of Asturian crags isn’t the greatest but it’s intricate and fun (in an old school way). I upgraded Chorrera Negra to 7a+, I am going back soon to ‘sort it out’.