Thursday, 28 February 2013

El Chorro

Well, my first trip of the year. El Chorro in the south of Spain. I was excepting hot weather but I didn't get any. This didn't stop me though on the first day we went to Loja which looked amazing! Lovely tufa-covered overhanging walls. Pity it was all wet and we had to climb on the crap half of the cliff which was dry. Although the crag wasn't quite up to scratched I still managed to climb a good number of 7s. Which includes a nice 7B+ onsight which had a big roof at the top! The evening was spent chilling in our villa which was nice and cosy but not that great because of the lack of a hot shower.

The second day we went to Poema de Roca on the frontales. It blew my mind! It was huge a 25m slightly overhanging wall into a massive overhang. The first route was the classic of the cave and the cave was named after it. It started with really overhanging tufas and then levelled of into a hands-off rest and finish with some pumpy climbing. Before I lowered of I looked up into the next pitch of the route which was 8a+ it looked amazing! I wanted to try it. The next route I got on was a 7b+ and I went for the onsight. I regretted it! By the 3rd bolt I was totally wasted and still had like 15m to go! I kept shaking out on every decent hold going and eventually managed to fight my way to the top crux. I reached over the bulge to find the crack was greasy as and I could barely hold it. Came down chalked up and decided I wasn't going to fall because I had put in to much effort! I got the crack and screamed as I went for the next side pull hold. I stuck it! The final section was easy and I was over the moon that I had done it. It just reminded me that it isn't about the grade it is about how hard you try on the route. I did another 7a which was really easy and I flew up. Now I as really warmed up I decided to try an 8a extension to a 6b. It put it short it was amazing, our 80m route only just reached and it was about 15m overhanging. The first bit was easy small moves on jugs then there was a crux section with some sloppers. After this section I was boxed and was glad to find there was a huge stalactite which you could wrap your legs around and get fully recovered on. Then was a huge reach over a roof and a super powerful match on a tufa. Time for the redpoint! I got to the finish of the 6B and entered the steep wall. I got to the tufa but only just I was quite pumped! I recovered and did the big move, clipped and spanned into the tufa. Cutloose and swing my feet across and slapped into the match. I just caught it and pulled into the knee-bar rest and did the top easily. Amazing! The glory was short lived as I realise I had to strip the route! I was pretty tired after this but I did a 7c+ second go and a 7a+ flash which was good. I was totally wasted on the walk out and it didn't help that we got lost.

I woke up totally excited because we were going to Makimodromo, the most amazing crag ever and on it was Loudes 8a which I was psyched to get the onsight off. God didn't smile on us that day and the whole cliff was soaked! Not good. We went back along the Camiono de Rey which is a metal walkway along the edge of El Chorro gorge. The views from it were staggering and the position was amazing. There was a few doggy bits where there were massive holes in the tarmac and you could see down to the river below. Once again I was tired out at the end of the day but it had been great fun.

After a rest day I was feeling strong and we went to the Frontales again but a different sector. Another 7a warm up and I was ready to crush! I did 3 7a+s, a 7b and a 7b+ which were all amazing! Then we went to a sector with a massive 7c called Hunk Down which I really wanted to onsight. My ideas of a massive fight were wrong it was easy and I cruised up it despite the wet start. There was another 7c to the right and seeing as Hunk Down had gone so well I decided to try it. I climbed half the route easily and was thinking that it was going to be a breeze like Hunk but I got to the main bulge and all I was left with were terrible slopers. I saw a tick mark and wildly jumped to it! My fingers curled in and I stuck the hold! When I got down my mates said my power scream was really loud but I didn't notice I did it at the time. The next two moves where hard as well but I scrapped through them and managed to top the route! This was the second hardest onsight I have ever done! I was ecstatic.

It rained the next day, surprise, but we went to Poema de Roca again so I was happy! I did the normal first pitch of Poema for a warm up again and then I tried an 8a which turned out to be super soft! I cruised it second go without much difficulty. So it was time I couldn't put it of much longer. I went up to the finish of Poema 7a then I set of onto the steep wall of the 8a+ pitch. There was a boulder problem to start with a big move to a crimp then a side pull and a big slap to a jug which was about V4. The next bit was a really hard move to a sloper and then a decent rest. I almost fell on the move to the sloper on my second go but just stuck it. After the rest you pull out onto crap slopey crimpy hold which were shocking. There was a hard cross through on these which I dropped on my first redpoint. There is a big last move and then you clip the chains. When I did it on my third go I was thrilled! Knowing that all my training has paid of and that I am not doing it for no gains is really great! That was why I climb!

The last day was really relaxed we had all had an amazing time and we were just winding down. We stayed inside for the morning to let the crag dry out. About 2 o'clock it did and we went to Encandantes which was just up the road from where we were staying. It was lovely there were loads of people and a great atmosphere. I only did a couple low sevens but I had loads of fun and was really chilled out.

Our Spain trip was really amazing! I love the landscape and it was just really good fun being able to tone it down and not be so intense about it all. Thanks to Mike, Michael, Beef, James and Ed for being such good fun!

The next thing is my trip to Siurana and Margalef in Easter! My brother did three 8Bs so I hope I can do one of them and push my grade even further!

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