Monday, September 20, 2010

Tres Ponts

After a productive summer I faced a low period that gloriously finished with 3 weeks of training and finger injury at the end of August.  The (short) time off from climbing gave me another chance to delve into myself and look for the sources of energy and enthusiasm for life.  After a gulp of clear water from the endless lake of Cavallers, I am back again to the game - climbing a little more every week, and trying to keep up the good resolutions from the mountains.  A gecko chose to migrate into my appartment during these rest days, and for me it is the sign that i can and will climb strong again, whatever the poor green thing jumping and crawling around my kitchen might think for itself while secretly laughing at stupid humans.

To start again, again anew, I first baught a car, and then climbed, and climbed again.  Although some of my resolutions pleaded for a life with more to it than climbing, for the moment climbing took its biggest share unabashed, again.


I finally visited for the first time the very interesting and little known climbing crag of Tres Ponts, situated south of la Seu d´Urgell, and north of Oliana, a village known itself for the very hard routes put up there by Sharma and co´.  The crag is very good especially if you are into the harder 7th grade, with long routes of pulling on jugs intermingled with some technical limestone slab moves.  It is unfortunately starting to get polished, following the fate of Siurana or Rodellar on a smaller scale, but the crowds are still pretty low - and hopefully will stay that way.  It is in the shade in the afternoon and thus is one of the perfect summer destinations in the pre-Pyrenees at 2 hours from Barcelona. 

I indulged myself with 3 almost consecutive days at Tres Ponts, sampling several good routes there.  It is again one of the places where it is better to bring a strong team member to get the draws up as there is some airmiles to be done in the distances between bolts.  Thus, for instance, I was unable to get to the anchors of the topo´s #36, and my project - Alt Urgell - also has an exciting run-out just before reaching the anchor and on the steepest section of the wall.  Sometimes I wish so hard I had a drill and could just put a couple of extra bolts on these crazy routes - it always seems like the FAscencionists - all respects due - never think about the poor frightened chicken of the rest of us, especially the shorties like myself, that have to struggle mentally and physically in the limit to clip those bolts.  And there was a time i thought sport climbing was easy!.. sorry, end of the rant...

Below is Edu on his hardest project - Instincte Salvatge, very good - but also very loooooong endurance 7b+ that I would rate closer to 7c, one of the classics and to be recommended in Tres Ponts:

The company had a good time all around - here is the newcomer to Catalunya, the Austrian Martin, showcasing his heel-hooking on his first redpoint in Spain, an easy 7b that is erroneously rated a whole 7c in the topo, the first pitch of an 8a to the right of Alt Urgell: 

And here Pau starting that same Alt Urgell, a good long 7c, belayed by Josep, and showing off his now muscular back:

I took up the challenge of Alt Urgell too, finally enjoying a hard slab workout and facing my fears on the top overhanging finish.  Below, working the moves, pictures by airborne Pau:

and again
and more

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happiness is a warm gun

This incredible interpretation of Beatles' song Happiness is a warm gun by Marc Ribot took me by surprise.  The song itself was in its time censored by BBC because of its sexual symbolism, although others have said the warm gun might have been a reference to heroin instead of Yoko Ono.  Melody's lingering beauty captured with only a guitar and gentle finger strokes by Marc resonates stronger than words though.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Better late then never

For Alex. Pictures from his website...

Мне нравится, что Вы больны не мной,
Мне нравится, что я больна не Вами,
Что никогда тяжелый шар земной
Не уплывет под нашими ногами.
Мне нравится, что можно быть смешной
Распущенной-и не играть словами,
И не краснеть удушливой волной,
Слегка соприкоснувшись рукавами.
Мне нравится еще, что Вы при мне
Спокойно обнимаете другую,
Не прочите мне в адовом огне
Гореть за то, что я не Вас целую.
Что имя нежное мое, мой нежный, не У
поминаете ни днем ни ночью — всуе...
Что никогда в церковной тишине
Не пропоют над нами: аллилуйя!
Спасибо Вам и сердцем и рукой
За то, что Вы меня — не зная сами! —
Так любите: за мой ночной покой,
За редкость встреч закатными часами,
За наши не-гулянья под луной,
За солнце не у нас на головами,
За то, что Вы больны — увы! — не мной,
За то, что я больна — увы! — не Вами.