Raspberries at the base of AfricanDespite the gift of berries and many a fond memory, Cavallers has been harsh to me this year. First week-end in April with Philip we both tried the wet and cold Smith Rock, and it spit us off without skin or desire. Philip got sick, Jaume took awesome pictures. Second week-end with Victor n Freeboc company in June, first the rope slipped off the gri gri and I almost went flying down to the lake from Pared Inerte, second we both tried la Foca Pirenaica but it was too wet to think about figuring out the crux moves at the crack, and I fumbled on Rigol Mortis, also wet and unruly. Third week-end in June, Martin, Vincenzo, and myself went up to Pared Inerte again, this time I fell off the last hard move when onsighting Dimension Rappel, and then it cost me another 2 tries to redpoint this awesome route. Smith Rock ate my skin and spit me off the move, again. Vincenzo and myself decided Foca Pirenaica was too hard to get it figured out this year.
Finally, this last week-end with Holly I changed objectives and went to pay a visit to an old acquaintance, Cobra Canaria on the African Wall. It is a short slabby wonder that some guidebooks have rated 7b, others 8a, and few people have been willing to waste nails and skin to figure out the way through the moves. I tried Cobra while working the incredible Chris last year, and could not figure out the moves either. I left it be, black and happy in the sun, and it slowly cooked, to become a worthy test-piece to check my slab technique again this year.
My butt starting up the traverse before getting to the base of the Cobra
After studying the moves out, Holly suggested i try a mantle with my foot to start the traverse. That became a crucial insight as it made me able to clip the next bolt, do an incredible one-finger undercling mantle, and start the traverse. However, the problem with this route is the sun - it is South-facing, and thus trying it in good conditions means waiting until at least 5 pm to be able to pull on the crimps. The other limiting condition is skin, as after a couple of tries nothing is basically left, skin or nails included. It took me 2 goes to get the undercling move wired on lead, however not enough time left to redpoint by finishing the crazy traverse after the move. Not expecting much, I still stayed one day longer, and had a morning try. But it was too hot already, only shade can save me on this route. Very close, but very far, home I drove again, speeding through Escales, Alfarras, Balaguer, and back down towards my home mountain. There is always a next time, to be continued...
On the bright side, the new bar Tropic kept us awake with the Columbian dancing during Barruera fiesta major, and Ana made us her wonderful tapas and maracuya juice - although at a much higher price this time. Good things get expensive, a sad rule from business.
Holly showing them how it's done
All pictures are courtesy of Holly, on a climbing visit from Bishop, CA.