My first experience of Catalunya was in January of this year. A friend and I were keen to get abroad as soon as the New Year hit, I looked at the guideook and thought "Yeah, this will do". Well - it was the best place I had ever climbed. After raving about it after our return, a couple of friends decided they wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So we headed back for a short trip in May.
Following the trip in Jan, I embarked on a 4-3-2-1 training cycle to ensure I had to power endurance required for the trip in May. The 4 weeks of endurance went well. dropping some weight and getting some general conditioning. (CWIF Semi Finals were a surprise at this point!). The 3 weeks of power involved mixing gym work with powerful problems at RCC. I felt good. Then the English weather got good, so the 3 weeks of Power Endurance Training was sacrificed for Portland and North Wales. This was potentially a mistake (depends on how you look at it!).
Day 1 Tartareu Bombo Suis
Flying back to Barcelona felt awesome, knowing where we were going to. Before we went to Tremp, we stopped off at the Santa Linya Cave to give the two Catalunya virgin's a taste of what was to come. They were just as amazed as we were. I knew it was a special place following the previous trip and was pleased the guys had the same psyche.
For the first day we wanted some milesage so we headed to Tartareu. The climbing here is varied, blind and on mostly! good rock.
El Codi Da Vinci 6b+ Flash
El Drac Magic 6b+ Flash
Relaxing People 6c Flash
Lonley Planet 7a+ Flash
Apreta La Bufeta 7a Flash
I was pleased to flash all the routes, I felt good, calm and confident - a rare occurence for me.
Day 2 Santa Linya Cave
The Cave!!! Even as I sit here and write this, I get a warm feeling inside and am excited to be heading back already.
The first route for me was Cargols a la Carra @ 7a ( quetionable by the locals - apparently it has been down graded by someone significantly taller!). I tried this in Jan and was always getting shut down after the flake, being unable to bite down on the crimps, I lacked power endurance. The first go, I felt good, getting to my high point with ease. I thought the training had paid off. I didn't want to get flash pump so I lowered down from there and decided to use that as a warm up. Error! The 2nd go I got the crimps and made the dyno out left - latching on to the hold, only for my core to let me know. After 3 more attempts and failing at the dyno, I decided to leave it.
Cargols a la Carra 7a
Making the crux dyno
One of the hardest things for me to do is Red Point. I haven't quite got my head around this technique yet and am still very much in the flash / on sight head space. Something which I was looking to change this trip.
I then looked at Airline, a tufa laiden 7b+. This route is not my style, very over hanging and very commiting. What did I have to loose!? All of my power! This route feels very powerful for me, I managed to do all the move but was unable to link it. Another one to add to "the list".
Day 3 Fotbulin
This crag is just down the road from Santa Linya. I did alot of the routes here in Jan however I wanted to do Spanglish, which is a just off vertical 7a+ with the crux being just before the lower off - a potential heart breaker.
I warmed up on 6b+ and got total flash pump! I got on Spanglish sooner than I should have done. I made it past the crux and got to the ledge at the lower off, which was right in front of my face - but I was unable to clip. I let go with my right hand ready to clip - at which point my left would start to un curl. I spend a good few seconds snatching and swapping hands, trying desperatly to get something back to clip, the eventual result was a whipper from the top. Very amusing to my group but very annoying for myself.
I had two more goes, making a silly move for a non existent hold on the crux and then getting pumpled out at the top for a 2nd time. Once again it was my power endurance and red pointing technique which let me down. There was a pattern developing!
Working towards the crux moves of this long route.
Day 4 Terradets
Wow! What an amazing crag, swooping tufa laiden limestone walls. Amazing! Also - very hot! I got on 6b+ to warm up, at which point the sun decided to come at us with a vengeance. It was phenomenally hot. However, there was a 27m 7b+ called Jam Sessions which caught my eye. After waiting for the sun to leave, which it never, I decided / was forced as the guys were too hot and were ready to leave, to give Jam Sessions a try. After 5 bolts, my feet three times the size they were and my back burning, I looked up, to see I was not even a 3rd of the way there. It was too hot. Another one to add to " the list".
Day 5 Santa Linya Cave
Following the hot day yesterday, we decided to head back to the cave for some projecting. I worked Meneo Canario 7b. I have never been so excited and psyched for a route in the 5 years I have been climbing. So with the fire in my soul lit, I began red pointing, my first true experiene of red pointing. I managed to get a high point on each go. With my high point being two moves from the top, at which point I mis placed my foot and lost my focus and let go. I battled for as long as I could before the steepness and powerful moves took everything from me.
Santa Linya Cave
Working my way through the 7b
The 1st crux for me, coming into the under cut
Working through the 7b
on superb features
Although I never got the route, this was a significant experience for me. Its the first 7b I have been on, one which I never considered to be my style, over hanging with big moves. I've never had the confidence or red pointing technique to try something like that. Well - this route knocked all that out of me. I know I am strong enough and now have some red pointing technique and know when I am ready to get back on. Its the power endurance which I lack.
Although my tick list might not have been significant, the experiences were. I now feel I have the confidence to try routes which I have always believed to be above me. I have my first true red pointing experience and have had the kick up the back side I needed!
With the trip over, its time to have a rest and then focus on the next training cycle, which will be pure power and endurance. I am also planning a 12 month European Road Trip to start in Jan 2012, which I am super excited about!
Reading CC Summer Fest is due to start in July with another Bouldering League, with that and some good weather I will continue to visit the UK Crags to save for the big one!