Climbing in the Palms – Sport Climbing on Gran Canaria

Rain, or the threat of it, is a big part of the life of an English rock climber.  A fair amount of time is spent planning how to avoid rain, waiting for rain to stop, finding somewhere that it isn’t raining or just being rained on.  In 2012, I seemed to spend far more time than usual in this dance with the rain and so wanted somewhere for my honeymoon in November where I could climb without having to worry too much about rain driving me off the crag.  Gran Canaria, the biggest of the Canary Islands, was the destination my wife and I settled on.

Me climbing on Ninja Troll buttress at Sorrueda on Gran Canaria.  This climb doesn't have a name, the guidebook just refers to it as number 8 on this buttress.
Me climbing on Ninja Troll buttress at Sorrueda on Gran Canaria. This climb doesn’t have a name, the guidebook just refers to it as number 8 on this buttress.

By being off the coast of North Africa, Gran Canaria has a warm climate that is prevented from being too hot by the trade winds that blow in off the Atlantic.  During the time I was there, the temperature varied between 23C to 29C and could be pretty humid. The rock is volcanic and made up of strata formed by eruptions and eroded into a rugged, mountainous interior with canyons (barranco) fanning out from the centre like the spokes of a wheel. Read more

Vie Ferrate on Gran Canaria

I never would have guessed that an island in the Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, has incredible vie ferrate – the cabled climbing routes more normally associated with the Dolomites and the Alps.  But Gran Canaria has several vie ferrate that give interesting, hard climbing on volcanic rock and which take you through wild country with stunning views of mountains and sea.  Two of the vie ferrate on this Spanish island have even been listed in the top ten in that country and I fully understand why.

Climbing the corner of a cave on the Via Ferrata La Guagua on Gran Canaria.

I’d not heard of the vie ferrate on Gran Canaria until I started researching the island as a place to go on honeymoon.  However, it’s not that surprising that I’d not heard about these vie ferrate as I can find little information on them in English.  I suspect they may be hardly known about outside Spain.  That’s a situation that needs to be corrected so that more people can enjoy them. Read more