Hay pavo entero

January 21, 2023

Written by Clara Soh

“Hay pavo entero?” 

The answer to what I thought was a yes or no question turned into a 10 minute rapid fire response that exceeded my mediocre Duolingo Spanish. I knew hosting Thanksgiving dinner in Spain was going to be a challenge, but buying a whole turkey turned out to be quite an adventure! Of course I know that Thanksgiving is uniquely American holiday, and that’s why my friends and I wanted to bring this holiday to Spain – to have a little taste of home that we could share with our friends from around the world. What I didn’t realize was that Spaniards traditionally eat turkey for Christmas, and the answer I got after visiting a half dozen carnecerias was that in November the turkeys are still growing, and wouldn’t be ready for another month and I would have to talk to a farmer to see if they could find one that was big enough this year; thus the very long answer to my question “do you have turkey?” 

I’ve been traveling to Spain to climb every year since 2018 and have been lucky enough to spend so much time in one of the greatest climbing destinations in the world; because of the variety, rock quality, and accessibility of climbing, Siurana draws climbers from all over. That means that even though you are in Spain, you can have an even more multicultural experience, roping up with people from across Europe, Latin America, and even Asia. One particularly interesting day found me translating between a group of Spanish and Korean climbers who were interested in working the same route. It also means that because there are so many climbers from diverse backgrounds, the climbing community in Siurana is one of the warmest and most welcoming I’ve encountered in my travels. I’ve routinely roped up with 5.15 climbers who were just as psyched to cheer me on my project two number grades lower and then share a beer a few hours later in the bar.

Cross cultural experiences aside, the climbing in Siurana is technical, demanding, and out of this world. Across 1,700 routes, you will find old school runouts, 10m long boulder problems, 35m endurance fests, crimps, pockets, and even a tufa called the “elephant penis.” With such a huge variety of routes, you can also find 5.11s next to 5.15s, meaning that there is something for everyone. But as one of the older climbing areas in Spain, Siurana is known for somewhat stiff grades and sparse bolting. As a Smith Rock climber, I feel quite at home! 

When your skin is destroyed from bearing down crimps, you can drive 45 minutes to Margalef for world-class, steep, pocket pulling or a little further to sample any of the other numerous crags and wrestling some limestone tufas or boulder on more skin friendly sandstone. A short puddle jumper or ferry ride away, and you can be in the deep water soloing paradise of Mallorca. A few years ago, someone told me that you can’t swing a cat without hitting a new crag in Spain, and after 5 years of visits, I still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface. And while the quality and sheer variety of climbing is enough to keep you busy for lifetimes, it’s the welcoming people and culture that keep me coming back. 

 

Venga a escalar! 

 

Local beta: 

Location: 1.5 hours from Barcelona Airport El Prat by car; 2 hours by train to Reus followed by a 40 minute bus ride

Climbing season: Spring and fall for vacation climbing, November and December for sending conditions 

Climber bar, gear shop, and restaurant: Goma2 

Local grocery store: L’obaga 

Local climber run apartments: Cornu Karma 

Free online guidebook for the region: Climb Around

Clara Soh
Author: Clara Soh

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