Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Spain Game

Spain has some of the best rock in the world and is widely thought of as one of the top venues for hard sport climbing in particular the region around Llieda, famous for being Sharma's stomping ground. With this in mind my family and I travelled with high hopes for our trip. We stayed in Cornudella de Montsant in a lovely little apartment owned by a jolly Spanish man called Ramon, who was great help to practice Spanish with!

Bistec De Biceps 7b+
After having a wet start to the first day which didn't dampen our spirits we went to sector L'Olla and did Ya Os Vale  and Bistec De Biseps which were both great routes. I watched in awe as my brother redpointed La Cara que no Miente 8a+ which I couldn't get any where near because of lack of height. As the day got late we went to do a 7a as a warm down which was meant to be really good but I wasn't sure because it was a slab! My brother cruised it but one move he could only just reach. I couldn't reach that move so I had to use the worst crimp ever and do a desperate rock over. After several slappy moves which I almost fell it got to the easier section on one of the hardest 7a's I've ever done!

La Cara que No Miente 8a+
Next day we went to Margalef which had the best crags in the area. One in particular, where we spent a lot of time was Raco de Finestra. We warmed up and my brother got on Flash Over 8b+ and he quickly did all the moves. I got slightly intimidated as Loic Timmermans turned up, the Belgian wad. I tried to flash Areoplastica but after doing the crux missed a jug and fell. Wasn't happy but I got it next go. My brother was trying Flash Over and fell of the last hard bit twice! He was so close! Next to Flash Over was Nina Mala 8b which looked amazing and I got on it. The moves to the crux were quite easy about a 7c and then there was a powerful bit on monos! I got these moves but then was really tired so I came down but this brief try on the route had fired me up to have proper go after our rest day.
Luke on Flash Over 8b+
On the third day after an epic drive, along a typically dodgy track, to get to the crag we arrived at the parking for Montsant and above us was Raco de Missa. After a long slog up to the crag; we stood under the massive 50m walls. It was so impressive. Two 7a's to warm up on both of which were amazing then we got on a 7b+. It was pumpy I could barely hold on when I got to the top. This put us of any more flash attempts and we decided to try to redpoint Devormingas 8a which was 30m, with no decent rest on it, of continuously overhanging wall with a bulge in the middle which was the crux. My brother did it first redpoint attempt and so it was my turn. After the bouldery start I took a quick shake before the crux and pulled onto the first couple holds on the bulge. I felt bad my arms were tired and I wasn't sure if I was going to do it. I did the cross through to get the crimp which I had to unwind on and get a pocket. I crimped hard and stabbed for the next hold just getting my fingers in it ,before my body fell away from the wall, and holding on. I kept going through the pain in my arms as the holds felt worse and worse. It was now a fight. After a lots of quick shakes I did the last moves and grabbed the chain which was placed in a stupid place with no holds around it! I was psyched it was the longest 8a I had done and it was amazing! We then left that bit for easier ground and watched some Polish wads cruise an  8a on the onsight and redpoint 8b+. Later that evening we looked them up on and they both had done 9a!

A 7b+ at Montsant
A rest day was seriously needed so we spent the day sleeping, getting food and getting psyched up for Nina Mala which I planned to try the next day. The next day we went to Margalef and it rained. The top on Nina was soaked. But there was a crag we could climb at, El Laboratori which was the ten metre overhanging power cliff. I like that. To get warmed up we did a couple easy routes on it and then I onsighted Tsunami 7c and  Miguel el Casero 7c+ both were amazing with good boulder problems to start and tricky top sections. My brother got on Zona 30 a hard 8b on his first go he did all the moves and decided to try it. I was psyched for Le Bombi "8b" which was soft. So sounded good! I did all the moves on my first go and decided it was a 7b boulder problem with a desperate clip in the middle. After tries on this in which I fell on the last hard move a long deadpoint to a pocket which I kept missing. Next go I got the clip quickly and set up for the move. Taking a second to focus myself I stabbed for the pocket! I got it but only just and it was over my first "8b" but I thought it was more like a hard 8a. Next up I tried Zona 30 which was desperate. I could just do all the moves but was nowhere near from the ground and came of on the moves before the crux. It was good to try something totally at my limit though.
Devoramingas 8a
After my efforts on the day before I was totally knackered and just managed to do Mandrogora 7b+ which was super classic. I was pretty proud of myself for doing this because it was really dirty and involved super balance moves. I then tried Migranya 8b which once again was desperate and I was nowhere near. I did another 7b+ and then called it a day. We went back to Surianna the next day and visited Campi qui pugui. I tried a 7b to warm up on. Turned out it was a total sand bag and was more like 8a plus it had a wasps nest on it. Not the best start. After watching my brother try Anabolica 8a,  finding it to be reach and hard, the psych left me. I was now content to do some easy climbs and sunbath. So the second easy climb was a 7a. It wasn't easy I fell off twice on just out of being so tired. It was like I went to pull and nothing happened.
Zona 30 8b
Nina Mala 8b
Time for another rest day I think! Rest day done, we went back to Margalef to try Nina and Flash Over again. This time it was dry and I was so excited. I got on it worked the moves and learnt the top section because that was were I was going to fall. Right first redpoint. I did the 7c start quite well but it didn't flow that well. Got the monos and cranked out the first crux. Then was a rest on to jugs but it was a big awkward. Once I had recovered I did the next big span out to a crimp and dropped into a crimp next to it. Two more moves and I would have got a big jug. I put my heel up and went for the cross through to a three finger pocket but I didn't have enough power and missed it. I was annoyed with myself I hadn't expected to fall there but these things happen. Belay duty called for my brother's attempt on Flash Over. He wanted it so bad and I could tell it. He cruised it like he always does. Later I would as him how he always makes stuff look easy when I have a massive fight on it. Then Alex Barrows turned up! The 8c crusher from Sheffield. He worked the moves on Nina and did most of then but thought the top section was hard. So send time. I flowed through the start and middle really well and did the mono section quite easily. At the rest I tried to focus myself, force the question of failure out of my head. I was nervous, each night I would hear about Buster, Alex, Jonny and Ellis had all done 8b and I couldn't help but feel the competition. This was it though I felt relaxed and completely focused. I got the two crimps but my heel up and pulled into the pocket. Being careful not to fall with surprise I got the next jug and took a good rest. I did the last bit quite easily and clipped the chains! I was so happy but it was only half way through the day and with psych high we went to try Dando Brea 8a. My brother couldn't do the crux move with was slap to a slopper then a really hard cut-loose. I decided to have a go and did the move really quick with a secret way of holding the hold! Then we both sent it with that beta which made it loads easier. To finish the day we did Magic Festival and La Corva de la Felicitat which were both amazing! The day was amazing.

The Mono section on Nina Mala

Next day we went Raco de Espadelles. After a couple warm ups we did Maligna 7c+. It went through a roof and finished on a vertical headwall. I had never been so pumped! On the headwall all the holds were small pockets and I was totally fighting but I clipped the chains and was really happy with the flash. Next I tried Transilvania 8a. I did all the moves easily and confident it wouldn't be that hard. It didn't go to plan. On the crux my foot kept slipping which happened three times. Lucky on my fifth go I was super careful and my feet stuck and I topped the route. After watching my Dad have a go at redpointing a 7a, which he sadly didn't do, we went back and everyone was in a great mood.

Dando Brea 8a
The last two days were really relaxed and great fun to just chill in the sun. Only a couple routes got done but nobody minded. On the last day it was great to just sit and watch some people trying Esatado Critico and do some chilled routes. It was a great end to a great trip.
After doing Nina Mala

No Sweat Outdoors
Rock and Rapid Adventures


1 comment:

  1. Awesome write up Pete with some amazing pics. Great to see your climbing is going up in leaps and bounds. Looking forward to a catch up and seeing you soon. You will have to come down for a bouldering session when our new cave is built here in a couple of months at Minehead Eye in Minehead WATCH THIS SPACE. See you soon mate CLIMB HARDER STILL ;-)