Thursday, 15 April 2010

Siurana

Right so… lets lay the cards out on the table. October’s trip to Font marked our re-introduction to climbing – we’d been doing feck all before this and Font marked the starting point. After Font we made a decision to start doing a little and often through the winter. Training indoors and making as many forays out onto real rock as possible to keep the psyche high through the dark months. Around Christmas we decided a trip to Siurana was well overdue so we booked flights of Easter and began making our weekly trips to Awesome walls in Liverpool to get some leads in. All this time I wouldn’t say our training was hard, it was just a gentle way of letting our body’s know they were in for a lot more climbing this year. So Siurana was always intended to act as a kind of introduction to sports climbing and give us a benchmark of where we stood in the scheme of things. Once we had this information we could work on some goals for the summer and really keep the pressure on for making progress. 3 years since out last sports climbing trip! Jeeze!!

Anyway, we arrived in Siurana late on the Tuesday evening exhausted after finishing up a busy term in school and travelling to Spain. It was great to be back and catching up with Toni while flicking through his new guidebook and being shown his latest mountain running trophies. We hit the hay and had what felt like the best sleep in months – the holiday had begun!
Eager to get out on rock, we got up early and headed straight down to L’Olla in the valley to warm up. I jumped on a fingery 6c and due to the early morning chill I was numb by the top – but saying that I couldn’t remember ever finding it that easy before – Caroline followed by leading it but without any sports climbing like this in the last three years or so she took a while to get into the required mind set to climb above the bolts and took a rest above the crux before leading on to clip the chains. I felt curious so just tied in and tried a neighbouring 7c, Ya Os Vale – a few minutes later I was at the top, having totally missed the last bolt in my sprint for the chains! Sweet!! Before long Caroline was in full sports climbing mode and had lead a rake of 6’s onsight and felt ready to tackle a few 7’s. First to fall was an epic long 7a in El Flaco. With a low technical crux and long runouts at the top it wasn’t a route I would have expected Caroline to onsight but before long she was near the top and stuck in a layback position. Out to her right was a large hole but it was out of reach and footholds were sparse – I hadn’t even noticed the reach but it stopped her dead in her tracks! I was thinking about shouting up to try and reverse the layback to a rest nearer the low bolt but before I could say anything Caroline just swung and dyno’ed across to the large pocket, feet swinging out! The locals erupt with “Venga, Venga!!” as Caroline finds something for her feet and clips the draw – the rest of the route was a plod by comparison and Caroline had onsighted her first 7a in 3 years – super nice! A few hours later we headed back to L’Olla and Caroline, fresh from the onsight, wanted a go at a shorter and harder 7a – the fingery and technical “Cargol true banya” was on the hit list – dispatched 1st redpoint. After my early success on the 7c I began to play on Anabolica, 8a. I had played on this with McQuaid 3 years earlier and knew I could do every move but also knew that it was at my limit. Well this time if felt cruisey! The crux under the roof felt solid – But throughout 9 straight days of climbing and with failing skin and strength I just couldn’t do the bleedin thing in one go! The best was two overlapping halves – psyched! Stubbornly I decided not to try another 8 in that sector before I send the classic. Every morning we got up, I had 3 redpoints on Anabolica, we had breckfast and went onsighting, back for lunch and a siesta and out again in the evening for more climbing. I kept to my aim of trying an 8 a day – some 8a+’s and an 8b but I never committed time into any – this was just testing the water for later in the year. Somewhere in there we managed to fit in some running again too. It felt brilliant to be running again such a relief after something like 6 months off due to my back injury. It was also the first trip ever where I never fell of a 7 – altogether I lead over 20 pitches from 7a to 7c, some onsight, some repeats but zero falls or rests! Awesome!
One major landmark for me was a rematch with an old nemisis - 8 or 9 years ago I had my first trip to Siurana and was full of stories of this awesome 7b+, Bistec de Biceps. I couldn't even dog it! I basicially had to Aid up the bolts just to retrieve the draws - it was horrible! People were laughing, my harness was leaving fleshwounds, an English bloke even filmed it and played in back at the restraunt - oh the shame! As a result of those non-to-minor mental scars i had avoided the route ever since - well this time Caroline fancied a go and i duely tied in to clip up the draws - And a Flash! Whats more, it felt EASY!! Whoop! Caroline began working it and really enjoyed the steep powerful style - similar to some of the north Wales bouldering. One for next visit!
And ontop of all the climbing we had our lovely little room, Toni’s Mam’s cooking, Ciabatta bread, fresh fruit, Sunshine, chilling out by the river, reading the backlog of books and just finding some space and time away from life back home – perfect!
Leaving Spain never felt so wrong…

3 comments:

Neal said...

nice write up buddy :) by the way, when you going to change your profile pic so that it shows you sports climbing? ;)

Carole McGloughlin said...

Great writeup Dave, very inspiring...

Dave said...

Cheers Guys... Don't know if it was inspiring but i hope it put across how much we needed and appreciated the break away!

Good question about the profile pic Neal... Haa! I'll have a look and see what i can find - don't have too many decent sports pics though :o)