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UUJMC End of Year Trip 2014 + AGM Results
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El Chorro 2014

Permanent Linkby rockaroller on Tue May 06, 2014 12:23 pm

Conor Begley

Attendees (13):
John Geary
Gareth Brown
Jonny Hill
Conor Begley
Laura Witherspoon
Jess Hussain
Stephanie Molloy
Ashley Rhinehardt
Kentyn Kaplan
Yvonne Li
Su Jin Poh
Jen Goodwin
Amanda Eriksson

El Chorro Sports Climbing Trip
"Blood: /noun./ substance commonly used to mark a climbing route."

Day one got off to a funny start for Gareth, Jonny, Conor, Laura, Jess and Ashley. They opted to get the Bus to Dublin for a 9.30 flight to Malaga, but were slightly delayed in picking up John in Newry as the bus driver decided to have a wee 10 minute lye in. The rest of the international crew had decided to meet them at the airport and spent the previous night in Dublin giving them the opportunity to understand the culture of the city and the real pain of being hung-over on a 3 hour flight. The flight touched down hard and the next port of call was car hire. Three brand new Meganes were rented and chauffeured by Gareth (Jeremy Clarkson), John (Richard Hammond) and Jonny (James May). After agreeing to meet in IKEA for food, which was only 2 minutes and 3 right turns down the road, everyone finally managed to meet up about 45 minutes later for some meatballs and groceries before setting off for the Olive Branch B&B in El Chorro. Unfortunately whilst bargain hunting, a ‘bandido’ managed to steal Kentyn’s suitcase and John’s rucksack, containing his passport and clothes, from the boot of his car. This was not discovered until arrival at the Olive Branch resulting in John switching between a fleece and a polo shirt on alternate days which is no fun when temperatures reach 27⁰C. After a few cheap beers at the honesty bar they settled into their tents to the soundtrack of Conor’s snoring.

Day 2 took the group to the Escalera Arabe and Sergio sectors, a short walk from the accommodation where they broke themselves in on various 4 and 4+ routes. The group then enjoyed a cheap cooked dinner at the B&B with beer and a bit of a reflection on the day by Jen. Day 3 took the group to a new crag opposite the accommodation called Cocina Caliente. It included enjoyable low grade routes as well as some more challenging routes for the more experienced climbers to show off on. That evening the group headed up to the upper section of Escalera Arabe to climb the pinnacle and what was supposed to be an easy grade 3 route turned out to be a very polished 5 to Conor’s horror thus providing everyone else’s enjoyment. Again a good feed was enjoyed at the B&B that evening. Day 4 took the group to a nice shaded crag at Desplomilandia with a wide variety of routes in the higher grades where Jonny in particular enjoyed lay backing. The group enjoyed dinner that evening in a quirky restaurant nearby where they probably spent more money on bread than the main course. They were also treated to a show of strength as Conor and Gareth were forced to arm wrestle for the last sirloin steak.

On Day 5 Jonny and John enjoyed the breath-taking views whilst climbing Amptrax, a great muti-pitch route whilst Gareth took the others and taught Laura, Jess and Conor how to lead climb. Returning for dinner at the accommodation bloody, broken and burnt it was agreed that the next day would be designated as a rest day. However Jonny and Gareth decided to head out onto the Camino Del Rey despite the fact it was closed for repair. The thought of a SWAT team repelling down to arrest them helped create a further adrenaline boost though fortunately Gareth’s fantasy didn’t materialise. Others spent the day horse riding, slack lining, relaxing by the pool, playing stratego or debating world issuses with Gary the Owner of the B&B. Day 7 was one of the more hotter days, John took the majority of the group to sector Sergio for a few climbs whilst Jonny and Ashley climbed the multi-pitch “Rain of The Asteriods” Everything went according to plan that day. The head torches they packed were not needed at all and they were safely in bed and fed well before 4.30 AM. On Day 8 (Yvone’s Birthday) the international students got the train into Malaga for the day whilst Gareth, John, Jonny, Conor, Laura and Jess headed out to Desplo where Gareth impressively achieved his 7a route goal for the trip. A birthday dinner was eaten out in a restaurant nearby where the group joined together and discussed their day and favourite parts of the trip. Gareth noted his favourite part of the day was unknowingly racing a drunk driver around the sweeping mountain road on the way to dinner.

Day 9 was an early start for many, John, Conor and Su Jin went into Malaga to sort out John’s passport whilst the rest of the international brigade packed for their onward journey to Morocco. Once John was sorted Conor and he travelled to Mijas further along the coast to meet Gareth, Johnny, Jess and Laura to try some of the funnier named routes such as ‘Los Hippy no van tripy’ ‘Homosexuales en accion’ and ‘Virgin ayer, puta hoy’. After doing about 30 laps of the small village they finally reached the roadside crag where you could literally belay from the boot of the car! After a dinner in the village the remainder of the group set off to the airport arriving at 11PM for a 6AM flight. Setting up camp in Starbucks some tried to sleep whilst others entertained themselves by annoying those trying to sleep. Gareth woke up with some nice tattoos on his face and Conor woke up thinking there was a leak in the roof only to find it was John dripping water from a cup! The flight was delayed by 15 minutes or so due to a warning light the pilot was concerned about though the group where much too tired to care and with great relief they touched down back home safe and sound with a smooth bus journey home.

Although bruised and battered, everyone had a great time, many thanks to Gareth for organising such a fantastic trip!
Last edited by rockaroller on Tue May 06, 2014 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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