Thursday, December 24

Goodbye Oliana

My campaign at Oliana has come to a close. Six weeks on the grind, learning the cliff, the random characters and trying to adapt my climbing to the various styles. Some routes felt super hard, others felt light duty. We had sun, clouds, heat, humidity, perfection... essentially every kind of weather experience aside from rain. Not a single day of rain. Pretty insane.

I really like the way that I intimately get to know a crag after a long campaign. The approach, the little spot where I drop my stuff and stage for the day. I learn beta for routes I've never tried just by watching the masses. Every cliff has a language of it's own; down to the birds, the creatures, the conditions, the style... it's fun to learn this language over time.

The last week at the cliff was some of my best time there. Climbing that I'm very proud of and also just some amazing long days enjoying the place and people. Many of the team sent their respective projects and the stoke was high. Last Thursday I finished off 'Joe-Cita' 14d, an incredible line that combines Joe Kinder's 'Joe Blau' 14c and the crux of 'Morronita' 14b. Usually link ups are not my favorite but I absolutely loved the climbing on this route. High quality from start to finish, with a heart breaker crux at the very end.

The last thing on my list of goals was a personal best in my first try climbing. Sam was a true homie on Sunday and journeyed up 'Fish Eye' 14b to remind himself of the beta and give me the spray. It has been a life goal of mine to flash this grade and I thought after watching a few climbers before me that this specific route could be a good option. I was super nervous, gripping a little too hard, holding tension when I didn't need to and perhaps overthinking sequences. I gradually relaxed but also found an unexpectedly early pump. Resting as I climbed, I neared the finish and finally let go of my expectations, finishing the route elated and so stoked for this milestone. Something I had dreamt about and looked forward to for a long while.

The following day Sam convinced me to check out his massive route and huge undertaking: 'American Hustle' 14b. Several hard cruxes, decent rests in-between, high quality rock. Sam and Walker did a great job on this route and I am still so surprised that it's not done more often. Hard for the grade and without fixed draws might be enough to keep away suitors. It's a damn shame. I loved climbing it.

Last day at the crag and everyone was stoked up. My good buddy Uri Maraver sent 'Gran Blau' 14a/b under headlamp, Sam one hung Joe-Cita, my girl Ari sent her first ever 7b with style -meanwhile I pumped my way up the amazing 'Mind Control' 14b. Three exceptional last days, it made my final hike out a little easier.

Now... I feel ready for some rest, holidays, and a change of pace, scenery and crags. I hope everyone out there is soaking up the final days of 2015. See you on the other side!