What can I say? The place is awesome! We arrived late in the middle of a thunder and lightening storm after a 12 hour drive and set up camp alongside Neal and Naomi who had been climbing there for a couple of weeks prior to our arrival. They were just getting into the peak of their redpointing after building up some route fitness and getting their Ceuse heads in gear. We knew we were in for a big change in styles but nothing could have prepared us for this. It was my third visit to the Mecca of climbing. My first being during 2003 when I had never been sports climbing before and could barely manage to climb anything. My second visit came during 2007 when Caroline flew off to Turkey to compete in the World Mountain Running Championships for Ireland. I met up with Sean and Kev Marnane and had 5 days climbing. I didn’t climb much but remember trying two 7c’s in Berlin Sector and made it to the top of both with multiple rests and falls – I had no fitness to redpoint anything at that stage but I remembered coming home from that visit feeling like those grades were possible for me with some fitness. This trip was Caroline’s first and the compulsory culture shock took place as per normal. Runouts combined with sustained climbing and the occasional thin technical section all acted to knock us out of whack and presented us with an almost diametrically opposite climbing challenge to what we had grown accustomed to in the UK. Dinbren’s 12 meter long, steep and powerful, crimp-fests were like the opposite end of the sports climbing spectrum to these 35 meter slow burners. No move felt hard compared to our old local but the combination of easy moves and constant steepness presented a new challenge – stamina as opposed to power endurance. Perfect training for a winter of climbing in the Costa Blanca in Spain! I’m expecting a serious smackdown but also some signs of slow progress and gains. Watch this space for more updates on how it goes.