Castillo de Bayuela is a small village in the middle of la Sierra de San Vicente, 100 km west of Madrid, the Spanish capital. Bouldering in Sierra de San Vicente is based around Castillo de Bayuela, which gives the name to the area, El Real de San Vicente, Hinojosa de San Vicente and Garciotum. It harbors a hill full of granite boulders in a typical and wonderful cork oak wood. There are around 800 lines at the present time and those include some of the hardest boulders in Spain, with the first national Entropia Font 8C (V15). Climbing in Castillo de Bayuela began more than 40 years ago initially through sport routes, nevertheless over the last 15 years it has become one the most important bouldering spots close to Madrid. For us, the local crew, it's our office. We are an heterogeneous group of friends with different ages and jobs, from 20 to 50 years old, from artists to firefighters, teachers or doctors but we are all always moved by the same passion; exploring and climbing. There are still many lines to be found and climbed, so that's what we call our office: our true place of work.
We often go after our day jobs, almost every day, even in summer. In the warmer months we'll explore new areas and find new boulders to clean and brush, waiting for the heat to disappear. Summertime is the best period for discovering new lines, despite the heat, because the moss is easily removed simply through brushing. We all live close to the spot, so it just takes 40 minutes of driving, which is enough time for us to choose our objectives for the afternoon. Once we are there, the crew meets up at a selected sector and the fun begins. That means we leave our problems and day jobs behind, empty our minds and climb on awesome boulders in an amazing place. By nightfall we often climb for a couple of hours more, helped by lamps and once we stop we go down to the village for beers and food in one of the bars in the village.
The boulders are mainly overhanging with perfect crimps but there are also good edges. So bouldering here is quite physical and strong fingers are required. There are amazing problems at all grades, from Font 5 to to Font 8C (V1 to V15). Some of the most beautiful boulders in this place have become icons in the region, such as V de Vayuela, Dosage, The Arch or Los Lunes al Sol. I could put a list here of at least 200 lines of all grades that people should climb and even then I would be skipping many classics. On the other hand, there are also still three hard projects to be sent. They are waiting for stronger climbers on top of their game.
On the other hand, it is still not the perfect situation because all of the bouldering areas are on private land—so climbing there depends on how we behave alongside the true local people, the village residents. Even if many of us don't agree with it, hunting is one of the economic resources of this village so during hunting season there are some days where climbing is restricted. To preserve the good feeling with local residents those visiting need to be polite and show good manners. These are easy things to do, such as following the trails when walking, keeping the sectors clean and respecting the cattle. It's not hard; just follow the classic rules for areas of nature.
Honestly, we prefer go there outside every afternoon than going to the climbing gym, even if we just have a couple of hours. Why? It's so easy. Nature, trees, boulders, fresh air; a place we can be quiet, just climbing amazing boulders and laughing with friends. Castillo de Bayuela is the place where we reset our minds almost every day after work, our real office.
Doctor, climber and photographer from Barcelona, currently at Toledo; Spain