“Sweet dreams are made of these …. travelled the world and the seven seas”, yet we’ve left it so long before finally heading over to Albarracin. What an amazing bouldering area this is! For us, living in the Costa Blanca, it is basically on our doorstep – only a 3 hour drive. For those living in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, Albarracin is only a 2 hour drive from Valencia or a 3 hour drive from Madrid.
Albarracin is Awesome
Although I am Dutch and therefore usually quite modest in my adjectives when describing a place or experience, I become totally American when describing the bouldering mecca of Albarracin: because Oh My God, this place is Absolutely Totally Awesome! It is such a lovely area, a rustic medieval town surrounded by rolling hills in ‘earthy’ shades of green and orange, a beautiful pine forest, with a great atmosphere, a relaxed and friendly vibe amongst all boulderers there. On top of that, the quality of the rock is superb, and the routes are very diverse, across all the grades.
What makes Albarracin stand out
If you haven’t been to Albarracin yet – most of us haven’t, as it is still relatively unknown (and therefore quiet and not polished!) – you should really consider planning a trip there as soon as you can! Boulderers for sure should do so, that goes without saying. But I’d also recommend all rope-climbers who are not keen on the idea of jumping off and falling onto bouldering mats to plan a trip to Albarracin.
I am one of those climbers myself; I find it hard to commit to a move having to trust on my spotters to help me land safely onto the crashpads. Yet Albarracin has been great. It has so much to offer. There are a ton of easy boulder problems, so if you want, you can boulder well within your grade. And the good thing about those easy boulder problems is that they are interesting problems – not just ‘children boulders’. (It might be useful as a reference to know that I’m a 7a climber, and had a great time bouldering loads of 3s, 4s, 5s and 6a’s).
Also, a lot of boulder problems do not require you to ‘top out’ by mantelshelfing yourself (Aaah! Scary!) on top of the boulder, which leaves you on top of it, excited that you made it but thinking “How the hell do I get off here now?”. In Albarracin, there are a lot of boulder problems that finish on jugs from where you simply jump off onto the mat in a controlled manner; your spotter can even hold you by the hips as you do so. This makes bouldering in Albarracin completely stress-free and super fun!
For those typical rope-climbers who still aren’t convinced; another major advantage of going on a bouldering trip is that you can try the problem as often as you like, and you can try something as hard as you like, because there’s no commitment at all. When you’re done, or when the crux move is too high off the ground to your liking, or when the problem is too hard for you, you can just walk away. You don’t need to get your draws back!
Bouldering Areas in Albarracin
We spent 2,5 days in Albarracin. The first day we climbed in Sector Fuente: rough orange rock with big jugs and pockets. There’s several traverses (although not in the guidebook – but great for warm up or for those who don’t like going too high), there are some low boulders to get on top of (and come down off easily), and some higher boulders with finishing jugs to jump off of. The second day we started with some unfinished business in Fuente (Boulder problem “El Chorro”) and then went to Sector Techos (roofs). As suggested by the name, this area has very steep boulder problems, but there are also several easier options around. A good sector to go to when it’s raining/snowing, because the boulders provide shelter. The final half day we spent at Sector Cabrerizo because it is close to one of the parking areas and has a great variety of easy problems that can be done in several ways and therefore remain interesting; for us this was a good warm-down.
Albarracin my favourite?
People ask me quite often where my favourite place is to climb or boulder. I always struggle to answer questions like these, because every area has its own character, and how can I tell whether my personal experiences of these areas are not skewed because of how my climbing went that trip, what the weather was like, who I was there with, and so on? I might prefer one area over the other for reasons that have nothing to do with the areas themselves. That said, I am inclined to say that for me, Albarracin is my favourite area for bouldering! There is an abundance of interesting boulders of the easier grades, and many of the problems don’t require getting on top of the boulder. I also think it’s great that Albarracin is compact and condensed. So it involves less driving around, and it feels like there’s a proper bouldering community. Finally, I love the romantic atmosphere in the evening, walking in town with all its winding streets and medieval architecture.
By Desiree Verbeek
Interested in a Bouldering Trip to Albarracin?
Our experienced guides know Albarracin like the back of their hand. They will choose the right sectors and boulder problems for you and will help you improve your bouldering technique and push your grade! A guided bouldering trip with Rock & Sun includes coaching, accommodation and airport transfers. For more info and availability: