Tuesday, March 29, 2011

...Ben Petat!!!

"Encadenar una vía no es encadenar una vía...
Es una promesa hecha a ti misma,
es desayunar ilusión y cenar esperanza,
es el recuerdo de tu futuro..." - Eva Lopez

Thanks to all who have participated in my endless walks up and down to Senglar during the last three months, belayed, cheered, found a word of encouragement, or a friendly tap on the shoulder that kept me going.  Oriol, Mark, Ville, Philip, Bernat, Ernest, Pau, Marieta, JuanAn, Carlos, Juanjo, Ruget, Esther - to all of you and others I forget - thank you.

 Picture by Ville

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Santa Anna - els Exploradors

 One of the main walls in Sta Anna, sector Exploradors on the far right.

After Santa Linya - another Santa, Santa Anna this time.  A new sector is always very interesting to visit, especially in good company. Although already rather hot, Santa Anna proved to be a good choice - a couple of warm-ups on the left, (especially Classic Climbing, 6b+ and el Rei del tonga, 6c+), very good 7as (especially Laia, Scotty, and a bit harder Trinity), and incredible 7c+/8a Esfinx, with a crux move of one-finger undercling to big jug.  7bs were strange though - both Livingstone and Fills de Buda resisted the efforts of many, and made some unhappy on our team.  Updated topo here and in Lleida guidebook.

Ville and Victor discussing the 7c, Magnifica in welcome shade...

Overall, a great week-end where all four of us redpointed the first pitch of Esfinx (flash for Marc, first 7c for Ville), and Ville and Victor finished the w-end also sending the Magnifica, another 7c that looked pretty good through the camera lens...:

Ville sending his second 7c of the week-end and of his life, Magnifica, way to go!!

Mark enjoying the evening sun on the same, Magnifica, 7c

Overall, a good relaxation for my body and mind before attacking again the project of this year, that has to be spelled in capital letters from now on, if ever to be done.  But whatever it takes - I am not giving up, i wish i were stronger - i wish i were different, but let's just keep at this one...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Santa Linya

A little strange, surreal w/end full of rain, caves, mud, flowers, and spring sun.  Despite torrential rains, we were able to find a safe harbor on Saturday inside the Santa Linya cave - an impressive formation reminding one of Grande Grota in Kalymnos or Surgencias sector in Rodellar. 

Mark belaying infatiguable Ville on his (9th?) try of the day

The climbing itself is very powerful, bouldery, and basically hard.  Not my style at all, and bearing all the training in mind, I kept happily to the camera and took pictures rather than trash myself on the routes.  This place is definitely for another generation, but worth at least one visit for curiosity's sake.

The incredible cave of Santa Linya 

Second day finally brought the sunshine back to the thirsty, and we enjoyed it fully at Futbolin, more likeable sector with humane routes, orange coloring, and much less steepness.  Mark impressed us all almost flashing Opium, 7c, and I followed by redpointing, feeling strong and weightless on the slab despite days of intense training. 

 Myself on crux of Opium, picture by Philip

Thanks to Albert Cortes for equipping the route we all enjoyed, and many more in the area :)

The boys having fun on nearby 7a

Friday, March 11, 2011

Let my people go surfing

"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Desiderata, by Max Ehermann

I have been preparing to teach a case on Patagonia company recently,  for once intersecting my professional and climbing life.  Yvon Chouinard has founded Patagonia in the 60ies, as a result of his experimentation with climbing equipment and blacksmithry.  From company history website: 

"Chouinard, after meeting John Salathé, a Swiss climber and Swedenborgian mystic who had once made hard-iron pitons out of Model A axles, decided to make his own reusable hardware. In 1957, he went to a junkyard and bought a used coal-fired forge, a 138-pound anvil, some tongs and hammers, and started teaching himself how to blacksmith. Chouinard made his first pitons from an old harvester blade and tried them out with T.M. Herbert on early ascents of the Lost Arrow Chimney and the North Face of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite. The word spread and soon friends had to have Chouinard's chrome-molybdenum steel pitons. Before he knew it he was in business. He could forge two of his in an hour, and sold them for $1.50 each.
By 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing hardware in the U.S. It had also become an environmental villain because its gear was damaging the rock. Climbing had become more popular, but remained concentrated on the same well-tried routes in areas like El Dorado Canyon, the Shawangunks, and Yosemite Valley. The same fragile cracks had to endure repeated hammering of pitons, during both placement and removal and the disfiguring was severe. After an ascent of the degraded Nose route on El Capitan, which had been pristine a few summers earlier, Chouinard and Frost decided to phase out of the piton business. This was to be the first big environmental step we would take over the years. It was a huge business risk – pitons were then still the mainstay of the business – but it had to be done.  "

"I've been a businessman for almost fifty years.  It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit being an alcoholic or a lawyer.  I've never respected the profession.  It's business that hast to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the ppor and giving to the rich, and for poisoning the Earth with the effluent from its factories.  Yet business can also produce food, cure diseases, control population, employ people, and generally enrich our lives.  And it can do those things and make a profit without losing its soul." Yvon on business...

What if business was also about ... letting the people go surfing?  Maybe productivity achieved would be lower, maybe more people would be able to find their passion in life - in surfing or otherwise.  Or maybe this is all a utopia, and Patagonia is happily screwing its customers by making them pay important premiums on Patagonia products to cover Chouinard and his team's "surfing" times and environmental dreams...?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Early spring

Early spring in Finland....

Early Spring 2011 in Finland from Anssi Laatikainen on Vimeo.
(thanks to Ville for sharing)


Early spring in Catalunya...

(no comment needed)

Philip working on Trenquem el Bloqueig, 8b

Myself on the unending project, Ben Petat 7c+/8a, picture by Ville

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Berbere in France, or rock’n’roll du bled

True or not, the rhetoric has it that North Africa is rising above the water lately, is there hope amidst of centuries of humiliation? As for me, I have been impressed by Hindi Zahra's music lately - reminding of Jewel, Lhasa, of Norah Jones, - but with a spark of her own.  Awesome, sensitive, simple.  I like...!!