Back in January Hannah and I travelled to Albarracin for a couple of days bouldering. The first day was supposed to be a travel and rest day but when we arrived the sun was shining and there was frost on the ground, perfect bouldering conditions. We jumped straight in.

I generally don’t like to decide on what to try before arriving at a venue, part of the joy of climbing for me is running around climbing what looks good. Saying this I did have my eye on a few things, Zarzamora being one. This boulder is graded 8A and revolves around one big move to an edge. Once I sorted my method the boulder was done, pretty steady for 8A and not bad for 10 minutes work. Zarzamora is great fun and the big move feels beautiful to do, in the UK I think this boulder would be graded 7C.

Waking up the next morning we were greeted with slushy wet snow falling from the sky. Forced rest day for us then. We spent the day wandering around the beautiful historic town of Albarracin.

I was a bit cheesed off with the weather as we only had a few days and I was keen to get on some boulders. Fortunately the next day we opened the windows to clear blue skys, crisp air and snow on the ground. We were up early and psyched to get started.

The alternative finish to Zarzamora was my aim for the day, this problem has a lofty grade of 8B and is called Zarzaparilla. First a quick warm up/epic on El Ermitano 7A+. This problem was supposed to just warm me up nicely but ended up being a real fight as the top out had a layer of frozen snow covering it, (Sp)icy times! Anyway, onto the main event;  Zarzaparilla climbs through the hard moves of Zarzamora and then rightwards through a much harder finish. The finishing moves revolve around a very small break which you crimp. All kinds of toe hooks and deadpoints aid you with this.

On to the grade. If this boulder problem is actually 8B then this is fairly significant for me as it would be my first. In my opinion the bottom section is 7Cish as I have already said, the independant finishing moves felt similar in difficulty as The Joker to me (soft 8A). So for me Zarzaparilla felt like 7C into  soft 8A. If this problem were in Britain it would probably get 8A+ but isn’t the main reason we all go to Spain the “Holiday Grades”, or is it the sunshine?

Talking of sunshine, I cant wait for the sun to come out around here. I keep dreaming of the deep water soloing season.

See you out there.