Albarracín is one of the most beautiful Spanish villages and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1961. The reason for this is due to its mixed history including cave paintings from paleolithic and neolithic eras, inhabitation during the Middle Ages, Mudéjar architecture and Islamic heritage. Nowadays, the famous pine tree wood also harbors hundreds of amazing boulder problems on beautiful red sandstone. Albarracín is an incredible bouldering area with amazing roofs, crimpy walls and of course slopers. Boulder problems are typically physical here, your elbows and shoulders will feel loaded after a few days climbing.
This has traditionally been a really quiet place, visited by non climbing tourists attracted by the cave paintings and historic architecture. Then around 20 years ago, climbers from the Spanish east coast, Madrid and some other areas started to develop the area. It was a period of exploring, discovering, cleaning and climbing, simply the golden era.
Everything changed after 2008 when the area featured in the Dosage V film. Spanish and foreign climbers started to arrive, modifying the landscape of this delicate place. As climbers, we know what the development of climbing and bouldering areas brings: dirt, wild camping in banned areas, dogs, shit everywhere, noise, etc. All of them due to the over presence of humans.
After years of conflict, finally the climbing community suffered severe regulation and it is now forbidden to climb in two private areas and four more areas are temporarily restricted because they are delicate and sensitive due to nesting birds. To be respectful with the environment should not just be a recommendation, it should be a deep thought in everyone of us and it should help us to preserve our mountains and landscapes that we love.
Doctor, climber and photographer from Barcelona, currently at Toledo; Spain