Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Smith Rock?

Again, climbing, this complicated game. The summer is almost over, I have started training, and it is time to think new projects, look deeper for motivation - and try not to get injured...Hard times, reading Eva Lopez and trying to forget another finger that hurts...

Collage by scovophoto

and a tiny thought goes out into the wild to Chloe Graftiaux, too quickly, too soon...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Caravan Palace

This little piece made my day today, thanks to Rafa for the pointer, and with dedication to Wall, who finally sent his 8a in Freyr, the GsTQ:

African Wall

This w-end was some slab therapy time.  After recognizing my gone endurance flailing at St Llorenc, i focused on what i like most - granite, in my favorite sport climbing spot, Cavallers.  The time was well spent with friends assaulting African Wall, the jewel of the crown.  Best topo available - still not completely right as there are actually 2 7bs after "Somos los congitos", 7a, Flipin Palan, and then Black Mamba. Topo by Tranki.
More homework was thus done at African Wall this summer - the day started with inspiration: an onsight of Black Mamba.  It seemed easy and good, was over too quickly as i went weightless from granite mushroom to mushroom.  Then to continue with the serpents, i tried Cobra Canaries, first 8a off the 6b traverse (el mejor 6b del mundo), but it was too hard for this time (NEED NEW SHOES!!!!).  So to get the spirits up, I finished by onsighting another slab reptile, the Flipin Palan after Pau generously left me many a draw on it.  Thus, work left to do: Smith Rock, Cobra Canaries, la Frambuesa, and a little closer to my actual strength on slab right now - redpointing Cris.

Pau had his best w-end ever, redpointing first Massa Kumba, and then Los Illegales the second day:

Xavi decided on alpinism and la Traversia de Agujas de Traversani on the first day, and sport climbed with us on the second, here below on the 7a+ joining Massa Kumba:

And myself working hard the CRIS, an incredible futurist line, dedicated to Cristina Gomez Garcia.the Cris:

And again:

I left the route with 2 falls, it seemed pretty hard for 7c, I would upgrade it to 7c+ - incredible feat of imagination required to bridge the available holds on this one...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Afternoon Sessions at Sant Llorenc

To know people is wisdom, but to know yourself is enlightenment
To master people takes force, but to master yourself takes strength  (Lao Tzu)

This summer the time has finally arrived to visit the famed Sant Llorenc, an interesting climbing area situated on top of the Matadepera town, known for having the highest per-capita income in Spain.  It is probably the best-managed online area with a pretty comprehensive topo available here.  St Llor is also an area with a high concentration of difficult climbs - starting with 7s at Gruyere or Paret Gran, and moving to the Siberia for the hardcore 8s.  Here one can meet on hot summer days such stars as Ramonet, onsighting most 8s of the Siber, or Helena Aleman training for her next send.  There is also some place for the mere mortals, to work, sweat, and cuss the bouldery routes.

Climbing at St Llor is special in its own way.  Although it is conglomerate like the near-by Montserrat, it is different in many ways.  It requires much more endurance, dynamic moves, and pure explosive force the boulderers are so good at harnessing.  It is basically at the antipodes of my climbing style - but I thought it still might be good to work out here a little, especially given the 'chuchuflu', or the heat wave that makes climbing anything at this time of the year a rather painful exercise.

Thus, we have been going up the dirt road for many days in a row with Pau, picking up lines and cussing at the challenges.  Pau did well, sending his first 7b+, and onsighting 7as.  I did not do much, falling off most projects here and there - although it is all good, all training for some invisible fuzzy future and mastering Lao Tzu's advice.  Pau eternalized one of those moments with his first full-blown 1-minute video of the afternoon sessions, proudly presented below, with Par climbing Performance in the background (another proud send!!):

S'hi ha d'anar from Pau Freixes on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Rambles around Chamonix II

Rambles in pictures.

Leading away, Bienvenue au George V, 1ere Pointe de Nantillon, awesome picture by Xavi:

Trio on the summit, Marcal, Xavi, and myself:

Marc the mountaineer on the ridge (not looking down!!!):

Crux traverse of Fin du Babylone, Brevent, Marc daring the rain:

Some objectives remaining - Rognon du Plan Inferier, head-on view on American Beauty (or time to train hard again...):

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Rambles around Chamonix I

It has been already 5 years I have been coming to Cham on and off, for skiing, ice climbing, rock climbing, or what is generally known as mountaineering or alpinism.  This year is no exception, although it has been an anti-climax of a trip, making me wonder if i really want to be in this expensive, posh, and tourist-jammed town over and over, again and again.  Some long-due realizations:

* risk-taking in mountains is a habit; only by doing it over and over does one manage to shut up the instinct and become blind to the dangers of avalanches, crevasse crossings, ridge walkings etc.
* sport climbing does make you stronger in the mountains: after many years of trying i finally feel good and compfy trad climbing 6as...
* mountaineering is very inefficient, and my patience is rather limited, especially given the realization that i could be working on a project somewhere warmer and enjoying the process much more
* partner is the key word, as always, and oh, hard, how hard it is to find someone who could both inspire me to give it my best, and make me feel warm and fuzzy in my own skin
* taking the latter two propositions together, my motivation seems finally to be waning, maybe it is high time to stop wondering and looking always higher to such routes as Digital Crack or American Beauty, and just stay at the sea-level? Maybe Jonathan the Seagull was completely crazed and wrong?

With all of these wonderful and deep realizations so clear, i hope i will not forget them next year and not rush off again to the old dear mountains just because they are there.  This post is just a self-reminder, that maybe, just maybe, a vacation in Kalymnos or Rodellar could be a much better option given my current priorities, capabilities, and interests...speaking to the deaf, i know.  All this makes me think of Escher's dragon, tirelessly biting at its own tail, while hopelessly trying to become three-dimmentional, in a Sysiphe kind of way:

In Escher's own words:

However much this dragon tries to be spatial, he remains completely flat. Two incisions are made in the paper on which he is printed. Then it is folded in such a way as to leave two square openings. But this dragon is an obstinate beast, and in spite of his two dimensions he persists in assuming that he has three; so he sticks his head through one of the holes and his tail through the other.