This w-end saw the team go out of the Catalan limits, despite the abundance of climbing in this little province, to visit the near-by Sierra de Guarra, famous for not only its canyons, but also good wine and excellent climbing. Rodellar is another of those, last villages at the end of the road, - similar to Val di Mello or Cavallers, where the road abruptly stops after many a curve, and the nature takes its toll. The village is the small, touristic type, like the ones in Switzerland or les Ecrins, where for instance the wild St Cristophe-en-Oisans wakes up only with the tourists, mainly in summer. There are several campgrounds in Rodellar - most still closed at this time, and a big free parking for the rest of the crowd. There is the camping shop, the village bar, and a couple of old inhabitants, still wide-eyed from the 'progress' or whatever other name they might give to this invasion of dirty, noisy, mainly punky-lookin' climbers on their way for useless self-accomplishment, grade ticking, and project sending. Whatever way we might use to rationalize, legitimize, and socialize this sport, it remains another one of the absurd, self-centered activities, similar to Internet or Web 2.0, a byproduct of the advance of our modern times, or as one of the names of Rodellar sectors well summarizes it all pretty well - Egocentrisme.
It is all about the "I" and the sending. And if you don't send it is pretty hard to remain happy and sociable about it. One of the challenges of the sport, that makes one work a little bit more on oneself, or refuse the work, and enjoy the routes. The perspectives are many, however the climbing is one. And routes are abundant, good, overhanging, and hard. Rodellar has this rumour, this curtain of smoke about being a hard destination I have already heard about. Thus, I was not surprised when getting there and being spanked on one climb after the next. The stage was set by an already challenging onsight of a 6b+ at the Camino sector. However, I saw the sectors on the other side of the canyon and could not keep my feet to the ground of Camino for long. We quickly descended to the canyon floor, where full of illusions, I directly went for Capriczos de Luxuria, a diffiucult, bouldery 7b. Despite several tries, I humbly failed to solve the bouldery crux, and fell over and over on toprope even before getting to the crux. Below myself, working the route, the one in red..:
(picture by Pau, incapacitated for the w/end by his back pain)
Despite Josep's patience, the route took over, and I kept my motivation to try a 7a+ at Ventanas de Mascun sector, the awesome Juan y Fran se nos van. This factor is probably more known for the incredible 7c, the Delphin - picture below. But it was not exactly in my league yet, so I lowered my expectations and was very proud to get to the top of Juan y Fran, although the cheat-stick (Trango's sextoyish squid...) had to get out of the toolbox as well. The day ended too quickly, and left me with another project and lots of humbling thoughts about my incapable feeble self and the tough overhanging climbing at Rodellar.
Sunday started well with the warm-up at Roxy la Palmera, an awesome 6b+, unfortunately getting a little polished. The Mother-chorrera of this climb reminded me of my fight with Amazonas, a great and hard 6c at Kalymnos. This time I prevailed, and got to the top after many encouraging words by Pau below. Below me, flashing the route:
After a quick pass by the Nuit des Temps sector - it motivated me more for the name than for the actual routes there - not bad but not enough overhanging for Rodellar standards, we quickly moved on to Egocentrisme. This sector was made to convert me to overhanging bouldery roof climbing. With the Pequeno Pablo in the eye of the storm, I could not resist anymore and decided there and then that I had to go back.
Although Pequeno and Gran Pablo were busy, other routes nearby seemed very well suited for the purpose, and I went for a 7a+ on the right, apparently called Porque?. A boring name for a very good route - with an explosive crux within a small crack, and an interesting exit to the anchor. Again, despite another try on toprope, I only managed to get to the anchors and was left with a strong good feeling in the watering mouth. This is definitely a project within my reach.
So...when are we going back??? And who wants to spend a week, or two, or three in Rodellar this summer??