It all started with my sending Maugli, the long-standing project of this fall i have been writing about here and taking pictures of here. It ended a certain cycle of my life that has been turning around this climb in some obscure ways. Tim, a Belgian friend on autumn Spain pelerinage, belayed me on the last and successful attempt. He did well - and i sent, grunting and yelling, going for it all the way, a muerte, as they say here, and even managed to produce an ultimate victory cry (resembling the cry of the first man that has shot his first mammoth) when reaching the chains - even i have to let the emotions out sometimes.
The journey continued with the Destellos route (opened in 1982, very much ahead of its time, - chapeaux the FA team!) on the El Peladet. I have been eyeing this wall for a while, especially after the view like this from the top of Begasses while climbing La Mescalina with Marci last year:
El Peladet proved a very intense undertaking - the first 7a(+) pitch (7a and the 6b traverse all in one) was difficult and cold, it hurt my fingers a lot. Below Tim preparing for the jump at the start of the first pitch with Begasses as the background...
Afterwards i set up to lead the 6b+, a jewel of a 40 meter pitch on beautiful and complicated gray slab. It reminded me of pitches on the close-by Begasses, although in more complicated, scary, run-out kind. I thought i wouldn't manage to finish it while spending an hour talking to myself and convincing my foot to stay on an impossible edge just before the second bolt. It took further effort to do the rest - i did reach the top but with an ego as reduced as a pierced balloon, a head emptied by fear from any other emotions, and fingers and feet screaming for a stop.
Tim following the monster pitch of my purgatory for the sin of hubris after the Maugli day:
Tim considerately complained only a little about freezing feet and complete boredom while watching me struggle for hours up this pitch that he probably could have done descalzo (barefoot). He did the next 6a and 6b in one looong pitch, and then suffered his part of the deal when trying to lead the last hard pitch - a 7b, where we both did not understand the crux, and cussed through the second part, very sustained - i would even go as far as say beautiful - but i just couldn't feel anything for a while after the top-out. We successfully rapped with our 80m rope and went for a due rest and some big plans remaining in the shadow of our deranged brains of obsessed fanatics.
I don't exactly understand what pushed me to try for Tempesta Nocturna the next day - it was another unwise decision of mine, as if i haven't made enough of those during my climbing career or life in general. Maybe the fact that we gave up on it the day before because of a depressing fog - only to see the wall clear of fog when driving back to Terradets, maybe the desire to show off this impressive wall of Montrebei to the visitor, maybe the sucking hubris to be able to boast about THE ASCENT afterwards on the blog.
Anyway, we woke up again at 6 am and this time delt with the fog and tiredness and went for the approach. It was cold and windy, especially when reaching the breche and approaching the Pared de Cataluna proper. It stayed cold all day. My fingers decided i had done too much for their liking at the first pitch. Tendon pain is unpleasant, and dramatic for a climber - as you know the more you will climb that day the longer you will have to rest to recover, it might be days, it might be weeks, if you push one more move, it might be months. The first pitch of Tempesta was painful, cold, difficult - with a last dyno to a rock that started moving the moment i grabbed it. It is moreover a key hold to reach the belay (one of the topos says it's Ae, another 6b+ - but careful whoever does this pitch again - that block will probably fall off sometime, directly at the belayer below, and probably with the leader...VERY DANGEROUS - we tried to make it go, but it resisted, and we decided to follow the destiny of selfish climbers - that is go up the route and not wonder what will happen to the next party). The second pitch was the same, cold, and painful. When Tim went off for the third pitch, i promised to myself to go down if he could rap from the top of the next pitch. He somehow reached the top of P4 instead of 3, but a rap was still possible - we bailed, leaving the route for the future heroes and courageous climbers, and went down and back with clipped wings. Flying is only for the strong. Or as Bach says in his Livingston book:
"When you have come to the edge of all the light you have
And step into the darkness of the unknown
Believe that one of the two will happen to you
Either you'll find something solid to stand on
Or you'll be taught how to fly!"
In climbers' terms, finding something solid to stand on is a mataphor for finding a rappel anchor...
Tim at the start of the first traverse on P3, cold and anxious of the things to come:
The rollercoaster of life - success and failure, they go together, both have to be accepted - with tears and suffering, smile and contentment, but one way or another lived with passion - that is what counts in my book of life.