Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This year will be remembered as the tipping point, consolidating my conversion from alpine to sport climbing.  From struggling to lead 6as the year before to onsighting 7as and redpointing 7cs.  From lame socializing at the climbing gym to serious training three days a week.  From not being able to pull myself off the ground with both hands to doing 3 decent pull-ups on jugs and 2 pull-ups with 3 fingers on slopers.  That's as much progress as my mind can fathom in a year - and i am still struggling with the consequences (tendonitis, triumphalism, and hubris at the rocks).  I have also worked a little bit on my head skills - although long way remains to decrease the gap between onsight and redpoint grade, or to increase the amount of accumulated flying miles.  The psychological aspect of climbing is the most fascinating and the hardest to challenge through direct action.  I have tried - and hopefully will keep trying, although I do not believe fear could - or should - ever go away.

Otherwise I'm afraid I have not progressed as much in other domains - .i remained stubborn, self-centered, closed as a marmot, and alone as ever.  Oh, I did get a Masters' degree, too, so that is another accomplishment I tend to forget.  I also started giving classes and improved my presentation skills to the point of feeling comfortable presenting my own work to the audience of serious professors in front of me.  Maybe climbing helps me in a way in this not that related field - i started to tell myself that if i can deal with the stress and panic of a hard climb, if i can assume the risk of flying and still give it my best, if i can try that hard - and survive - i can also master the critical eye of the other.  I can expose myself - maybe just a little bit - take the cloth off and share my world - invite people in, or at least move the curtain a little aback.  Having a blog is also my way of sharing.  Let's hope next year i will have more things to share, more motivation to improve, and more dreams to look up to and possibilities to imagine.  Or not.  The black hole is always there, ready to swallow the elephant, the giraffe, or any other prey walking with their head high and spirits low.  Hit me, may the new year begin.

And last but not least - my first try at editing a video, cameraworks by Pau, myself redpointing Viatgi Imaginari...Happy holidays and loads of inspiration to you all.

Imaginary Journey from Uasunflower on Vimeo.

(sorry for writing Spain in the title, the "error" was pointed to me after the editing had been closed...)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Rest after the storm

After redpoint day and super-cold, at least for Catalunya's standards, weather, the rest of the climbing days were spent South - first under the rain in Siurana, trying out the hard moves on Crema, and checking out the new - and it has to be said awesome - guidebook of the area by David Brasco, and then in Margalef.

2010 will be remembered as the year of new guidebooks for sport-climbing in Catalunya.  The Siurana guidebook is not a photo album, as the Lleida climbs one, but still a very good and informative, not to say comprehensive, guide to more than 1200 routes in this incredible spot.  Not only mentioning the length of climbs, the number of draws, the orientation and interest of the area, it has very good (and time-consuming) drawings of all walls and good approach descriptions (tried out the one to Siuranella South - perfect).  Nevertheless, as usual, there are some problems with grades - several climbs have been downgraded (i.e. Dema les inocents, 7a+, Papagora, 7b+, Crema 7c+), maybe to keep up the mythology of the area and show how hard the + routes could be.  Anyway, it is not the place to rant again and again about the grading, kudoos for the guidebook, David - long in coming, but very good indeed.  Thanks!

Finally as for the climbing - with the returning warm temperatures we enjoyed 2 incredible days in one of the most scenic spots in Margalef - Cabernet.  The two pictures taken by Pau, with Ville's camera don't make it justice, but here goes again, myself finally redpointing Califato Coach, a 10-star 7b there.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Viatgi, imagining the end to another journey

(picture by kind Pau)

An old good song by DC Talk used to go like this: 

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

I still don't know, and I'm as scared as always.  We fall, we get up, we reach the chain, and life continues.  Getting to the chain is good though, oh so good!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Polyphony and disappearing cultures

This composition by young Corse singers (more here) made me think of Pikardijska Tertsia, a group that used to be popular during my time in Ukraine.  Similarly disappearing culture and language.  It made me think of Lviv, our old yellow-red trams, meetings at Mitskevich monument, old bookshops, coffee houses, dark churches, and basement beer joints.  Looking for a video I was not able to find anything too decent - the best one is this one from a Polish TV, with young Tertsia singing their best song...Memories, I am almost ready to read up on Proust...