El Cogul… our only (by virtue of the Sun God) non-climbing spanish destination.

The moment I saw the first boulder problem at El Cogul, I felt like I was back home (well, the US) at another crag with the same rock, landscape, and holds: Joe’s Valley. By virtue of low rainfall amounts, these two crags appear very similar save the greater relief of Utah’s Joe’s Valley.

It's the typical sleepy small, ancient town where everyone stares at you, not out of disrespect, but because, well, you're entertainment. :)

It’s the typical sleepy, small, ancient town where everyone stares at you, not out of disrespect, but because, well, you’re entertainment. 🙂 The graffiti in the background says: 300 years of occupation and resistance (in Catalan). This is Catalan country. And yes, they want independence.

Annual rainfall for El Cogul (Lleida is the nearest town) is about 14.5 inches, Joe’s Valley (Orangeville is the nearest town) is under 8 inches. This higher rainfall amount explains the extensive dry farming seen throughout this region.

Though we didn’t climb (it was 24.5ºC when we arrived in the late afternoon), we did get to be entertained by the Mayor of El Cogul, and a few of his friends. The area not only has very good looking sandstone bouldering like at Joe’s, it also has a history of early human settlements. I’ll soon get back to actual bouldering posts now that we are home in sweet sunny socal. Enjoy the photos.

The mayor of El Cogul. He's explaining the pictographs on the upper wall behind him.

The mayor of El Cogul. He’s explaining the pictographs on the upper wall behind him.

There were 3 others, all Catalan, to right, out of photo.

There were 3 others, all Catalan, to right, out of photo.

The place we met the mayor at was in a protected space behind bars. He had opened it up to talk to the others when we happened along. As a result, they invited us in while one man tried to explain in limited English. That was a real nice gesture from him as they all speak Catalan and Spanish, and Jill was struggling to keep up with her extremely limited Spanish. They recommended and explained where the tombs were that the ancient peoples had dug out (sorta).

All the tombs were carved out of stone on this rocky outcrop on a small knoll off  the road.

All the tombs were carved out of stone on this rocky outcrop on a small knoll off the road.

...and they apparently weren't that tall. Jill fit perfectly at 5' 4"

…and they apparently weren’t that tall. Jill fit perfectly at 5′ 4″

This is a tall line, actually 3 lines.

This is a tall line, actually 3 lines.

We used a guide that’s in the back of the second volume of Catalunya (Catalonia) sport climbs to find the boulders. As a result, it’s not extensive, but it works well.

Unlike Joe's (from memory), there are at times many polished stones imbedded very well in the base sandstone.

Unlike Joe’s (from memory), there are at times many polished stones imbedded very well in the base sandstone.

This problem is on hanging corner of a giant boulder next to our parked car.

This problem is on hanging corner of a giant boulder next to our parked car.

This terraced wall is post early human use that may cover more of the shallow dug tombs.

This terraced wall is post early human use that may cover more of the shallow dug tombs.

The terracing visible above in the photo is prevalent throughout the region. This one isn’t used anymore, probably because of the archaeological site, but just above on the top of the ridge (maybe 50 meters up) is another terraced plateau with new/old trees growing.

Here is a very old stump with a new shoot or graphed branch.

Here is a very old stump with a new shoot or grafted branch. It’s right above the tombs.

Here is a closeup, sorta. I think I missed the right angle to better reveal what is going on.

Here is a closeup, sorta. I think I missed the right angle to better reveal what is going on.

Viewed from the tomb hill. Road right is back to the town.

Viewed from the tomb hill. Road right is back to the town.

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~ by r. mulligan on 2014/05/25.

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