Tuesday, December 15

Oliana days

Progress here in Catalunya. We have our little apartment, bathed in radiant sunshine every morning as soon as the golden ball crests the mountain behind Figols. When we first arrived the sun hit our patio shortly after 8 in the morning, now it's closer to 9:45.

I certainly have the feeling that it's winter here - Christmas lights, cute little Catalan Tios, short days and cold air. The difference from Colorado is the sun. The sun soaks the crag every day, and yet still it can feel bitter cold with even a slight breeze. That being said there are definitely days where we are boiling hot. The cliff is primarily south facing so altogether it can be a battle to find the perfect conditions. Regardless, there has yet to be a day - now after over a month - when we have not been able to climb at all. Pretty insane. We are lucky in this sense. Very lucky. 

And now my time here is coming to a close. About week left, a handful of climbing days. A few days before Christmas my girlfriend Ari and I are moving to Vic, near Barcelona, to change the scene and enjoy the holidays a little. More climbing, but a different pace for sure. It will be a welcome change. I usually schedule my climbing trips with six to eight weeks of performance and a good month to just enjoy climbing near the end... before the cycle starts all over again. 

This trip has been very successful for me. After Papichulo I immediately turned my attention to 'Power Inverter' 15a. A power endurance test-piece, there is nowhere to hide. From the first hard move to the last I did not rest - I couldn't. A pumpy finish and nerve-racking bitter end. Pretty unique and insane features on this route. Many, many underclings. Snappy. I loved it. A great contrast from Papichulo. Tara Reynvaan shot the above image and she is finalizing work on a video - keep an eye out! 

The next objective for me would provide a different kind of contrast. 'Duele La Realidad' 14d begins with a savagely hard boulder problem. Roughly with moves, and in comparison to all the bouldering I did this summer it felt like honest V13. After this low crux you have a good rest, and then a long and involved mid 5.14 to the anchors at the 50 meter mark. I struggled with the bottom. The hardest moves revolved around a super fickle right hand pocket / edge that I could never seem to get perfectly when climbing from the ground. I tried again and again. I was in no shape for short, heinous bouldering but futhermore this route just really challenged me. On Sunday, in a cloud of mist, after many efforts on the bottom I tied in for one last try. I made it through the bottom, and fought my way, resting as I could, up the gut of the cliff into a massive tufa system up high, swinging my arms to warm up as the wintery, humid cold settled in. On paper not the hardest route of my trip but the most rewarding for sure. Sam Elias shot the images above. 

I've got one more hard one lined up, yesterday I fell agonizingly close on my second try. But as I was reminded on Duele, patience is key. Hopefully I can pull it off in my last few days here. Happy December to everyone! 

It's that time... do it.