Monday, February 23, 2009

La Mussara and Vilaplana de Prades

This w-end we went South, to explore further la Mussara in the Sierra de Prades. This place is an incredible quality limestone crag, and its highpoint is ... cracks! Yes, limestone cracks that have nothing to envy the granite ones. I took my friends and went exploring. After several warm-up and not so warm-up cracks, we dared go for the prize, one of the main lines of the crag, Jarabe de Palo, a stunning 6c+ overhanging crack line.

We had to work hard to get to the top, but after some time the anchors were reached - and a project was found! Below, me and my chalk bag going for the top rope, hard work, and lots of endurance needed to redpoint this babe...Spring will be challenging!

I can´t resist posting another picture of Jarabe, a really motivating line - and we did not even get pictures from above!

Trashed and tired, we spent Sunday at Vilaplana de Prades, another village similar to Arboli, in the Sierra de Prades. It boasts long rock bands, around 15-20m high. It is not as appealing as La Mussara, Siurana or Margaleff, the routes are very technical on very compact conglomerate-limestone, unforgiving, or maybe the Saturday cracks had gotten the best of us.

Can you believe it´s conglomerate? Only in Spain, the conglomerate mix of any type can be encountered!

Cildo Meireles at MACBA

Slowly getting back to art after my hurricane Rome trip, I went to Cildo Meireles expo at MACBA last week. MACBA itself is situated near the Rambla and Plaça Cataluña and represents Barcelona very nicely, a new building fitted into old streets, with nice bars and plenty of skateboarders around, reminiscent of my youth rollerblading around Palais Royal in Paris. But those old days are gone and no crying about it will do any good. Sometimes commitment, or burning all bridges, reducing freedom makes us more free - or at least that is what i want to believe with my climbing attitude today.

Back to the original topic, Cildo Meireles is a Brazilian, traditionally following the post-modern art principles: unimpressive works, worth three descriptive paragraphs in a booklet and one bored look. However, fortunately, his other works are more interesting. The ones i liked most was his Eureka, maybe for its participative mode and some thinking required, the anti-colonial Como Construir Catedrais, and the what we called the "Green Room", also interesting conceptually and aesthetically.

For me, if an artwork is not aesthetic, it looses a part of its original appeal - I am probably conservative in this respect, but i cannot admire something that is not aesthetically appealing as well as conveying a message. That is one of the reasons many post-modern works appeal so little to me and my dumb aesthetic standards. But Cildo managed to surprise, thus a visit that is worth your time! Pictures of his art are definitely not very representative, as his work has to be seen to be understood and to give you the surprise factor, thus i will stop my musings here and let you visit an expo instead!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


With arrival of Ren, my climbing intensified considerably last w-end. We went to Fuixarda on Friday, to Gelida on Saturday, and even managed to do a multipitch in Terradets on Sunday. The best of the three was Gelida - perfect sunny spring day. Romarin was flowering around us, sky was blue, and limestone perfect:

Unfortunately overhangs there are hard and i struggled on several climbs - but that is the way of climbing. Notice the new and toxic, homemade African chalk bag, with that the forthcoming roof is no problem!

In Terradets we planned to conquer Los Colores, but finished on a neighboring, painfull and unprotected line. We did toprope the last 6a and finished by the 6b+ of Colores, but I have had better...and warmer days in Terradets.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Montserrat, Paradise Close to Home

Finally some good climbing went on this w-end. We worked on some projects with Bienve on Saturday in freezing cold, and Sunday worked again, and still unsuccessfully on the same projects - here is me starting up the one, a very nice endurance 6c at Desdentegada. More i go there, more i like this place despite the cold, the approach, and the conglomerate - a very malelable rock indeed!

And here is a neophyte mastering his first 6a in 4 years! Good work and good sun with Gonzalo, the train-catcher!

Oh, and here is me and Jorge in my new glasses - and my new curly look that is leaving me already despite the high price of the hairdresser and the assurances of everlasting waterproof curly happiness...

Anyway, almendros are flowering, spring is here, and the strength is with us - my best climbing ever, onsighting a couple of my first 6cs, maybe that is why i like Montserrat so much lately :)
(thanks to Jorge for pictures!)