Ascent of Rock of Gibraltar in 1998
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
|Peak:||Rock of Gibraltar|
| Elevation:||426 m / 1398 ft|
Ascent Trip ReportAs soon as I saw the massive rising out of the sea and standing sentinel guard over the straights of Gibraltar I started singing “Rock of Ages”. As passé as that sounds the rock does congers up many images of past Phoenician, Greek and Moorish explores, Arabic Castles, British Spanish battles, colonial days, and all that is British.
The name of the “rock” comes from the Arabs who invaded Spain in the VIII century. Tarik was the leader of the invading army. Since then the rock has been known as Gibel Tarik - the mountain of Tarik. The Arabic name has altered over the centuries to its present form of Gibraltar.
The first city that clung to the walls of the rock was built by the Sultan of Morocco, Abd-al-Mummin who built a castle and citadel in 1160. Two hundred years later the Castilian Christian Forces took possession of Algeciras and extended their own city on the rock. Almost five hundred years later the British Armies of Cromwell took the rock in the Spanish War of Succession and Gibraltar became a colonial outpost of Britain. Although the Spanish tried twice to reclaim the city their sieges ended in English victory much to their continued dismay.
It is said that the ancient Mediterranean marinas refused to sail past the rock into the Atlantic Ocean for fear of the unknown and the strong ocean currents. Not to be dismayed myself by the fear of the unknown I decided to climb the rock. I was living in Seville studying and had the weekend off. Heading south on the bus I arrived in P. I immediately walked the streets and crossed the colonial line of Gibraltar with the monument to Gibraltar being the cradle of civilization - big call. I then moved into the ancient Moorish and Georgian streets of this famed city. I climbed the 426m rock without much of a hitch except that the baboons stole my lunch – beware they are ruthless and quick. I explored the rock caves and sides and was chased by the police for unknowingly crossing some sort of out of bounds line. Satisfied with the climb I retreated to the Catholic Cathedral for Mass with a tour of the Glass factory after. I watched the sunset and headed back to the city of P. I had booked a really cheap room in P . I wandered the streets and eat some great Moroccan dishes. My accommodation was in such a doggy street that they locked us in at night behind steel door cages. The next morning my bus was leaving at 730am but the owner was no where to be seen and the cages remained securing shut. I had to climb out onto the lower floor balcony and shimmy down a pipe. With many people yelling I ran for the bus catching it with 30 seconds to spare. Great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.
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