Monday, November 24, 2008

Montserrat - la Desdentegada

With many people involved in climbing this w-end, we explored the sector of Desdentegada (meaning without teeth) in Montserrat South sport climbing paradise. Some info (although in Catalan, and you have to have at least some idea about Montserrat to use it) is on OnaClimb, topos themselves are here when clicking on Montserrat map and going to Vermeil sector in the upper-left, as they are not available in the Montserrat South sport climbing guide in case you wondered...

(there is a climber in the middle of the pic above...this is actually on the opposite side from Desdentegada, at the Castells area i believe)

We managed several routes in both days, although not exploring all the potential of the sector. It boasts an exceptional 6c (#28 on the topo), and many long sustained face climbs from 6a to around 7a. It also is sunny most of the day, definitely a recommendable winter destination!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This finde was very productive in terms of climbing for me - finally i managed to get up the Terradets wall, pared de las Bagasses. With Rodrigo and Marcial, we scaled the beautiful Smoking, a route for girls - with awesome moves on tiny feet, all technique and less strength. Here is Rodrigo figuring it all out:

Despite the sun, it is clearly almost winter here, and because of the cold, we spent some time sport climbing in Os de Balaguer, a much warmer place to change back to summer again:

And finally the jewel, scaling Mescalina, a long and sustained line in the middle of Bagasses, that rewarded us with this view in the end, the snow-capped Pyrenees:

And several objectives remain - el Peladet:

And Roca Regina por supuesto:


Another Spanish group - los Delinquentes que me encanta en este momento -

With Primavera

and this one -

and this one -

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jarabe de Palo

It has been a while i did not discover an interesting group - and here it goes again, thanks to Rafa!, Jarabe de Palo (understanding that name in Spanish is already a challenge), it is a lot of fun!


And the old classic:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This w-end i treated myself to some long-needed climbing after the rain-induced hiatus of the previous week. The action took place on the tasty Siurana walls, where we not only checked out la Rambla, but also climbed a couple of neighboring routes while some Russians were cracking harder stuff - picture of one of the Russians on an impressive 7b below.

Siurana definitely has good routes, although we managed to also find rather scarecely bolted 6b to finish the day at Can Gan Dionis sector. The bad luck continued on during the second day in La Mussara, where we managed to

- get on a 5c that kicked my and Rodrigo´s butts on an unfortunate warm-up choice
- get on a 6a with 30-year old bolts
- get on another 6a the second part of which has fallen off, leaving a blank, unbolted wall

And all that after an almost sleepless night at the La Mussara Refuge - recommended for its good and plenty dinner, but where the good luck had 5 out of 10 people producing all kinds of strange noises during the whole night...

(Amador - has copies of Costa Brava and other topos in "otras zonas de escalada")

Monday, November 03, 2008

Salvaging a Day

I got up, gave a thought to the futility of life, had my cornflakes and made myself an odorous cup of coffee. The rain was pouring relentlessly, making it the day you would want to only stay in bed and count different stars from your dreams. But my bed was empty and was starting to become cold as well.

I spent the first hours writing my report on Drucker, the management classic theorist. Finally, at least one I’ve heard about and even read from before starting my PhD. His ideas did determine to an extent management practices in the last 60 years, it was thus not a futile exercise, although I would not say it was not completely boring. It required some degree of self-motivation every half an hour or so mainly based on a sugar intake.

Writing my report, I kept staring at my filthy windows with a view to my street. After several hours of filth, I decided to give them a long-needed wash, and, in the same time, improve my life outlook. Window is an interesting parabola – it can give outside or inside, be a door to the world, or a door to the soul. It is a symbol of freedom, but also Microsoft’s monopoly. Freedom to look, but not touch. What better, then, than to wash a window, to make you open it and destroy its pervasive span of control?

The next step was starting another book, Herbert Simon, another management classic, on whom soon I would have to write another report. The vicious circle of studying – that was my aim, to force myself into it, to get away from the futility of life questions and 8 to 5 altitude. Not that I am complaining!

After taking care of the physical need for a palpable food intake and attending to some beauty concerns with a purifying green substance the happy young Drucker-inspired marketing people call a mask that will save your face and make you young forever, and reading some more pages and engaging in more sugar intakes, I decided that my day needed some salvaging.

The rain had stopped, the streets were humid but drying, the outside finally looked appeased out of my window. I had to be out there. I started by rollerblading down to plaça de Lesseps, an interesting undertaking that required some care and muscle power to manage. It became more fun later, when slopes eased down to my likings, I remembered the good feeling of that old forgotten freedom rollerblading gives, the epitome of free will, go right, or left, the power of a motion. The car is similar, but it is less exciting – it is so easy to discount it, just go from place A to place B, while not participating at all in the environment during the journey. Rollerblading might be closer to the horse riding in the sense that it makes you fully aware of the outside, of the necessity to manage it and to look it into the eyes and say yes to its risk and challenges. Yes, it is the man-created and man-dominated outside, with car-monsters to avoid, and bus-dragons to by-pass, and human ogres to handle, but still it is refreshingly participative, refreshingly alive.

It has been a while I have stopped rollerblading for the sake of rollerblading, thus my first objective was Rodchenko expo at la Pedrera. I respect La Caixa for their effort to invest in a tangible benefit to society – and I find it very useful for my empty student pocket to be able to attend its high-quality expositions. I didnot know much about Rodchenko, he nicely connected what I already knew about Mayakovskiy and Lilly Brick with his pictures of the two and illustrations to Mayakovskiy.

It is a very interesting perspective to think today of the 20ies, the beginning and the excitement of the Soviet Union. Later, when I stopped by the Mucha exposition at the Caixa Forum, I saw Mucha’s photos of the Red Square in 1914. It looked so much like Perou – bespectacled Mucha among these Russian peasant women with a scarf wrapped like Arab women around their heads, like my grand mother does in the Carpathians, poor and rugged, transpiring poverty and desperation. And then (or rather before given my La Pedrera – Forum circuit) Rodchenko’s lineum and constructivism, the enthusiasm of empowering these people, of trying to work it out, of getting them to the power wheel. It is such a pity all that enthusiasm finished with a blood-thirsty dictator, a failure that destroyed so many lives, and preconditioned so many others.

The above look on Mayakovskiy’s face (picture by Rodchenko) said it all, those pictures are good. They made me want to read through “Pro Eto” and see the “Bedbug” play where the young Shostakovitch composed the score, and Rodchenko, like Picasso around the same time, designed the costumes. But that was the end of the happy times. The 30ies were around the corner, and the fun was soon to be over.

My next stop, as already announced, was the CaixaForum, another art investment by socially responsible bank. It was very appropriate to hold a Mucha exposition in this Art Nouveau factory. The setting did make me think about Taylor and the scientific management of the time, the “Modern Times” Chaplin movie, and my PhD readings. Then Mucha took over – the big lover of women, the mysterious and so beautiful women of his! I am not sure where he found his inspiration – maybe in the same unfathomable abyss where his friend’s, Gaugain’s, monsters came from.

Besides women, marketing and packaging innovations that also rang a bell with the marketing efforts of the Soviet Union Rodchenko participated in, there were the photos. Not only of the Red Square tourist trip of the rich Bohemian, but also of Gaugin. Since Vargas Llosa’s “El paraiso en la otra esquina,” my image of Gaugin was so, oh, so much different than the one that randomly popped up in the Mucha photos archive. Anna la Javanaise looked herself, like she should look. But that moustache-man, playing piano without pants – he looked so orderly despite the absence of pants, so beginning of the century, so far from the revolt and the exotic countries and exotic destiny he chose for himself. Maybe he looked a little bit like Dali, but nothing like a salvaje, a syphilis-rotting genius-to-be baking in the sun of Les Marquises after another glass of whiskey paid with one of his chef-d’oeuvres to the local joint-owner. Life is so strange!

After these musings, or rather just undistinguished pieces of piece-meal ideas in my head, I headed to the ultimate aim – Fuxi, to get my climbing fix. After the couple of usual traverses of the tunnel, back I went home. The day has been salvaged. Sunday was on the way.