The gorge of Rodellar is home to many amazing places to climb, but the cave of Alí Babá has to be one of the most incredible roofs in Europe. It's huge, like an upside-down dance floor, suspended just a few metres above the ground.
The climbs here are like long boulder problems, requiring both power and endurance. None is easy, and some are very, very hard.
The latest route (9b) is a further extension of Ali Hulk (sit-start), which I completed in summer 2006. This is 9a+, involving powerful 7c bouldering, followed by continuous 8c roof climbing, totalling 25 metres in all. The 9b takes the same lower part, but with a logical extension, which adds 8 metres of 8b+ endurance climbing at the end. The only rest is a painful knee-bar about half way up, although some people find it impossible to use.
The first section of the route is very close to the ground and just needs crashpads for protection, but you have to wear a harness and rope because the upper part gets pretty high. There are 8 bolts in total, though I myself only clipped the last 3.
I've send the route last week. This style of climbing (the combination of bouldering, then endurance) is not new - think of Akira (Eaux Claires), but is still unusual, and obviously requires a very high level of strength in both disciplines.
Working the route - Photo Pete O'Donovan