Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gore-Tex Experience Tour, part 1

Life has its strange ways, and in another circle-like fashion, after not so long ago reminiscing about El Cap glory days, I have come back to trad climbing this summer.  Rather unexpectedly, I have been chosen to participate in the Gore-Tex sponsored "Experience Tour", after a preliminary selection contest on Facebook, and a final selection day in Scotland.  The tour itself involves an expedition to the Northern Norway, complete with the filming crew, specifically exploring the region around Tromso in search of new lines on the Nordic granite of Kvaloya and Lofoten. Gore-Tex brings together distinguished athletes (that is Dave) and enthusiast weekend-warriors (that is Helena and myself) on a fun event to promote their brand, reach the younger audiences, and allow us to have some fun in an incredible company and a breathtaking setting.

Gore-Tex is an interesting company in its own right.  Similar to Patagonia in the past, it is one of the 100 best companies to work for as declared by Fortune Magazine in the US.  Its employees do not have titles, are all called "associates", and all have a power to veto any decision the company comes up with.  Best known for the Gore-Tex fabric of impermeable fame, guaranteed for a lifetime (!), the company is active in various domains, from outdoor wear to industrial and military supplies.  But that is another story.

Back to my own Experience-Tour story: Dave, (the climber), Paul (the camera-man), Donald (the sherpa), Helena, and myself (the girl-power support team) will take Norway by force next month.  In anticipation, a lot of enthusiasm, research, and training to be had while dreaming of big walls, granite touch, and cam placements. All below pictures are courtesy of Paul Diffley and Dave McLeod.

Getting used to the trad craze again, the famous yellow Gore-Tex helmet borrowed from Dave McLeod himself (a landmark to look for in his movies by Hot Arches Production)

Below are some beautiful colors of the Ratho quarry, reminding me of Ettringen in some insolite ways, where our last selection happened over last w/end.  Not only were we treated to a glamorous stay at the Country Club hotel near-by, but we also got to experience the full-blown Scottish weather with rain turning on and off throughout the day.  Climbing damp rock with unfamiliar people and a camera looking straight at your face from above became a funny exercise in oblivion, timidity, and trying to avoid any kind of a mighty challenge for me. In the end I enjoyed a couple of interesting cracks and even ripped a couple of nuts on the last route.  This game still holds a lot of interest and challenge for me, despite my cowardly betrayal to the warm sport-climbing gods on the Iberic peninsula of late.  Maybe a long-due reconciliation is possible, who knows?..

Myself getting with difficulty off the ground in the Ratho quarry

 Helena, my rope-mate, happily gunning up

And here is a little music to go with the story...long story be continued in a couple of weeks in direct from Norway!!! Now time to go see Par, get the guidebook, talk to Jonas, get the beta, and climb with Oriol, get my trad rack back.  My first summer in a while that it looks like I'm not going to Chamonix, but adventure will come my way one way or another.


TRanki said...

So, "Maladeta fighters" MUST end their dream to bring your gear back, musn´t they? OKAY, tomorrow we reach the top...!

DUAL motivations are not bad, so the problem is to manage them and get motivated and fit to reach any goal...take profit of DAVE and his teachings, maybe you find a new vision of climbing by getting opened and psyched to all kind of style...

we will give your "traffic light" of cams back, and maybe a 5 one added ( don't like that pig on my harness, hahahah!!!

Allways rock and roll...

uasunflower said...

"Maladeta fighters" must finish their dream and I will come check out the final result, already have fingers sweating!!! My motivation is strong right now, but my finger hurts again...let's see. Good luck and a tope, YOU CAN!!!

TR said...

so...enjoy ST BENET...not already there???

K MONOS SOMOS is the ideal, warm up in a 6a or in ANTRAX ( watch with some runout i 6b...but easy to of the bests in stbenet in this grade)...then a first pitch of 6a till de belay of KE MONOS...the route starts gorilla, and the crux is a ping pong white ball, a beautiful move, in the last third of the route.

The chain is the same for AU VA HOME ( 7b+ stbenet, easier but more endurance than POLONESA), and LILA FA SOL ( 7b/b+ if you climb from the ground). LILFASOL is easier, just one move in th overhang...left crimp ( "underclimb"), right crimp and jump with bad equilibrium to a slope with left, put feet and two jumps more with good pockets...the rest is pur endurance with typical stbenet pockets and stones...there's NOT ANY RUNOUT...whet i bolted this route i thought it would be harder, and maybe that was not my best mental season in my life...hehhee!

Enjoy itttttt !!!!

Sana said...

Congrats! On web, I mostly read your's and Dave's blog, and now, when I've seen same headlines :)... Enjoy your time in Norway!

uasunflower said...

@TR - K Monos somos es genial, tenias toda la razon, vuelvo manyana!

@Sana - thanks, it's an honor! I've been also reading Dave's blog for a while, hence my participation in his Gore-Tex experience tour. Are you Andreu btw :)?

Anonymous said...

Felicidades Julia ... Nunca dudé de que sería elegido ... disfrutar de su experiencia de mi amigo.
El monje loco

uasunflower said...

@anonymous - thx, will do.

lou pape said...

This great Julia, I am very happy for you - Enjoy every seconds on this adventure. Life is plenty of unexpected nice surprise.

valfrid said...

Nice one post about Gore Tex.