Thursday, May 4

New Zones

It's such an amazing feeling to finish projects. Both because the uncertainty is gone and because the thirst for success is temporarily quenched, but also because it gives you this outstanding moment of opportunity. Some kind of clarity. Confidence ensues. Pressure's lifted. What could be next? These moments are ripe for inspiration.

I tried to use my momentum the best I could these pasts weeks. After finishing 'Pachamama' and 'Jo Mama', I was left buzzing for more and with some time yet to spare. 'Chaxi' 9a+ felt as though it could be a serious battle when I first tried it. An explosive ~V8 boulder problem to a good rest starts the route. From here another ~V10 boulder problem plants you at a worse rest - worthy of only a few shakes, next,  ~V11 for the crux of the route, a full span compression section on slopey crimps. The rock here is absolutely perfect. Some slightly better holds but no rest into a V7 exit, then a big rest and 8a finish. The temperatures were warm - too warm for such a crimpy and bouldery route. I worked the route into a one hang in a few days but I was afraid that with such a difficult boulder high on the route - and a move sequence that tested every inch of my height - I could fall here for weeks. I was beginning to have some inflammation in my left ring finger from such intense crimping. I was definitely uncertain about a send. 

Several perfect condition days emerged. On the first day I broke through the initial reachy move and fell on the last move of the crux. I cut my day short and rested as best I could for another good try second day on. Light breeze around the cliff, I felt great warmed up, hanging on a wood edge a little in-between my normal warm up circuit. I did the route that day. Shortly after I belayed Felipe on his awesome and well deserved send of Papichulo. Needless to say we drank beer that night.

I spent one more nice day at Oliana with my buddy Dan. I climbed the outstanding 'Paper Mullat' 8b+ and it's neighbor 'Identificacion y Placa' 8b+/c. I watched the evening light move over the green fields below for one last time. As much as I truly love Oliana it was definitely time to move on. I was ready to see new areas, new warm ups, new possibilities.

I made my first trip down to check out the massive cave in Santa Linya with my friend Pol. Not usually my favorite style of climbing but I could feel the incredible potential to improve in this place. I climbed 'Rollito Sharma Extension' 8c and a few others. I felt quite beat up after a day in this physical cave.

Next I was really keen to finally climb at Figols - a zone that I'd been staring at with a cup of tea in hand for literally months. It's just across from my home in Organya. I climbed the amazing 'Espid' hard 8c+ and flashed it's also amazing neighbor 'Aspid' 8b. Espid was particularly memorable. Such awesome, subtle yet complex climbing on crimps and slopey tufa features. Incredible vision on the part of local legend David Gambus for this beauty. Speaking of Gambus, the next mission was to finally check out 'Radar Ez' rumored to be one of the best in the area. Without a doubt, it is. Amazing rock quality, explosive boulder problems on good holds, spread apart by good rests. Nothing too terribly hard but lots of little tough sections with a chance to recompose in-between. It's on the low end of 8c+ for sure but at least for my height I can't quite take 8c for it. The 8a+ straight up version is absolutely stunner as well. Expect a little bit of bushwhacking and climbing up fixed lines to access this obscure zone - but it's worth it a thousand times over.

And now I've teamed back up with Cameron Maier and moved on to Rodellar. This zone is something legend and by all means deserves its own blog post. For the meantime I'll just say it's staggeringly beautiful and playful, and we are stoked to be here!