|climbing in the Oasis sector|
|friend Samy warming up in Chorreras|
I sent some projects from earlier and got on Primer asalto, an 8c in the Balcon sector. I haven't climbed 8c in about a year and haven't really felt that sport climbing kick since doing lots of trad last year, so I was pretty pleased when I got it, in mere four tries! Also, it was one of those classic moments of feeling good at the crag but feeling quite drained already, I set off with an empty head and found myself nailing the crux moves like being on autopilot, going like whaaaat? when I finished it.
A note on the grade though. Chulilla has a bit of a reputation for its soft grades and I quite agree. People book trips here in order to get their first of the grade. Apparently some routes are getting downgraded in the next issue of the guidebook. The 8c however, feels solid to me. Or maybe I'm just one of those people :) anyway it fit me, a gym style route that's shorter and steeper than others - less time to get pumped and less need to worry about the feet.
Albarracin was sweet! I dream of being a strong boulderer and the place always looked sooo good in pics, I was going! Even more so if they call it the spanish Fontainebleau, and it's only 2 hours away from Chulilla. A few kilometres outside an incredibly picturesque medieval town, on a hill covered in pine trees, sits a boulder field covered with ancient wall paintings and amazing problems. The style is powerful, there's lots of roofs and many finish with a sketchy comitting mantle, which sure gave me some hard time. Sandstone is best bouldering anyway, and here the red stone forms some really cool shapes.
I went 4 days straight just trying to get done as much as possible. I did two classic problems, El varano and Zarzamora, ex 8a but downgraded to 7c+ due to holds breaking/honest grading :D it's pretty much on par with my best bouldering sends, so I was pretty pleased again.
|friend Jonas trying a roof problem in the evening light|
|slopey traverse on the Cosmos block.|
|Albarracin cover problem, Fontainebleau-esque perfection on funky slopers. This one is getting polished, but word in the forest has it there's another whole undeveloped area only 30 km away.|
|miss no chance to jam|
|sloper madness on 'Trave de los techos', about 7a|
|slapping the crux move on 'Zarzamora'. Gym style compression moves, it really fit me.|
|after about 100 tries, the mantle on this 7a classic remains a puzzle. I need more yoga.|
|battling 'El varano', the dream prow problem. I almost got shut down by the mantle moves until I was given some heureka beta. thanks Andy for the photos!|
So much talk on performance right? It seems like double measures pissing on grade chasers but eventually doing the same thing. So, what's about it? In my year off school that I'm dedicating purely to climbing, I have only few vague goals and I want to above all see different places, climb with different people, learn languages and have fun. It's just I'm having most fun when I'm climbing well. In this sense it will always be performance related.
There's different kinds of climbing where sometimes grades don't matter much though, and then I'll just be happy if I had a day of feeling good on rock, not getting too scared and staying on top of my game. For this trip to Spain, I packed three pairs of La sportivas, a bunch of draws, a trad rack and a helmet. The plan is lots of sport climbing all over, do some multipitch hopefully, live proper dirtbag, go to El Chorro, maybe Riglos, Mont Rebei, spend some time in Catalunya and get in a real good endurance shape, try hard, climb whatever possible :)
|fiesta in the streets the neighbour village, hot dogs on steroids|