Friday, April 10


Over the weeks I've fallen more and more in love with Spain. When I first arrived, now just a little over a month ago, I was honestly not sure how much I liked it. The rock quality didn't completely blow me away like Ceuse, the landscape isn't totally lush and breathtaking like the Swiss Alps. The food and beer is not much to write home about. It's hard to really put my finger on it, but perhaps it's just the vibe, that gradually lured me in... The sun is always shining. People are stoked and motivated. There are just so many bad ass crags in every direction that it's hard not to get fired up. So much sending is going on, all the time. It's an inspiring place. And now I totally see that, where perhaps in my first weeks I didn't. I get it now.

Since I last wrote my journey here has been amazing. I remained focused on climbing at the Can Piqui Pugui wall, eventually finding cooler temps and finishing 'Chicane' 14c, but not without a battle. The crux is very long, with nearly two foot moves for every one hand move. The hardest section is reaching rightward off of a horrible left hand crimp side pull at the very end of the crux. For a shorter climber, or really a climber of any height, this is a very hard move. I consider this route to really be in my style, and yet still I think it took me more effort than any other climb of this grade for years. The reward is always directly proportional to the battle, so finishing Chicane felt really good. I did the resistant, awesome 'Renegoide' 14a and the mega classic 'Mr Cheki' 14a and 'Anabolica' 13b next, before settling into Spain's first 8c, which has subsequently been upgraded to 14c, 'L'Odi Social'. This route is an entirely different beast. The route boils down to a short crux, involving a super powerful shouldery tension move, all based around a downright awful right foothold. Smeary, polished like glass... It takes a ton of body tension. It was a really fun challenge, and a cool change. This route really is just hard moves, not so much bad holds. I followed it with 'La Ballade des Pendus' 13d yet another killer route on this wall. Everything I did back there was bad ass. 

Chicane.... Bear Cam photo

Next objective was to head back to El Pati. My homeboy Sonnie Trotter had been trying 'Estado Critico' 14d for a couple weeks and he was narrowing in on the send. It's a massive route, on perhaps the steepest section of rock in Siurana. The start is a thuggy 13a or b up a crack system. You can rest well at the end of this section before you break right into a long intro boulder problem. With some pretty heinous feet, you compress and use tension to get yourself up to the crux pounce. You're tossing to a blind 3 finger pocket with your left hand. From here you get very little rest as you fire through three more short cruxes - edgy, sequential and pumpy to the very top on a brilliant blue streak. I was afraid of the pounce move, fearing that it would be hell for a short climber, but I pretty quickly found my feet and sussed it out. It would be the quick traverse afterwards that was my personal crux. After so much powerful climbing on the Can Piqui wall I knew I would need a few goes of getting super pumped on this rig to feel some fitness again. Second day on the route I one-hung twice, falling from the pounce. But it was a great opportunity to remind my body what it's like to climb on steep terrain for 35 meters. Today I went back with big psych. Conditions were perfect, Sonnie was there all stoked post-send (he sent just days ago! hell yeah) on belay, and Cameron Maier was on a rope filming. I battled with the route, several times on the verge of slipping out, had to keep moving to make the chains, forearms burning! I love this shit... when the moves are not so hard, and it's possible to keep climbing even with a monstrous pump. After I stuck the pounce I knew I would fight for a send, but I didn't expect to make it. Anchors. Always the best feeling. I did the shared start 'Kalea Borroka' 14a first try today as well, and snuck in an onsight of 'Zona Zero' somewhere in the last few days - this was one of my favorites in the area for sure.

------Estado Critico----> Bear Cam Photos

Jokingly, we have told our friends that the routes on Can Piqui are all a letter grade harder - in my experience it seems the older the routes, the harder. Old school is just... fierce. For me, no doubt the two hard routes I did on that wall both felt harder than Estado. Maybe 'my style' is actually evolving, or maybe I got super lucky on Estado. I have no idea. They're all just hard climbs! What really matters is that we enjoy our lives and challenge ourselves. My time here in Siurana has been both of those things - challenging, and very enjoyable. Like I said before, I love this place. Now, it's time to move on... !!!