Leave work at 5 and race down to Llangollen and meet up with Liverpool's strongest climber/physio, Matt Donnelly. A few fingery 6c warm-ups didn't feel great on the dodgy digit, so i set off up "Extreme Ways" 7c with a high level of trepidation. The on-sight attempt floundered at the first hard move and i ended up sitting on every bolt up to the chains. A semi-efficient sequence was worked out and Matt sent up to try for the flash; close but no cigar.
Matt worked an alternate foot sequence around a move up to an obvious undercut on the headwall, so i set off on my redpoint go with a fuzzy memory of what to do mixed with a bum view of Matt's supposedly slicker sequence. Needless to say what's efficient for a whippet 5'9" climber with a panache for rockovers didn't work well for my 6 foot+ dimensions and i had to fight hard to get to the chains before the pump spat me off.
Ticking a technical 7c second go a few days before going away should have been a confidence booster, but it did just the opposite. Over the next couple of days I mulled over just how pumped i was going to get on the long Spanish routes if 12m of gently overhanging Welsh climbing had induced a near red-line lactic bath...
Our shitty, cramped Ryanair flight down to Reus was full of stag and hen do's, as well as some other climbers we recognised from Awesome walls Liverpool.
(Aside: It's no surprise that Ryanair they have a 93% on-time record when you list your flight times as 10% longer than other airlines. There statistics for successful delivery of luggage is also massively over-hyped when their pricing policy means that only those with oversize luggage, or disallowed content (such as climbing ropes/karabiners etc) put in a hold bag. I counted 6 hold bags for a full flight of 180passengers - Rant over)).
We arrived in sunny Reus; got a sweet Fiat 500 hirecar and bombed it up to Cornudella for some lunch and an evenings climbing at Siurana. After a slow warm-up, tentatively testing the dodgy digits, the best was saved 'til last with an on-sight of the old-school classic Mandragora, 7b+. On the crux, the full crimp was deployed without complaint - get in!
An early start was made to THE cave of justice; no readers, not Parisella's but Santa Linya as it pisses all over our cave in all aspects of the climbing cave top trumps list. However, we soon realised this was going to be a short lived visit as there was much more seepage than our previous trip over Easter.
El Koala (8b) was wet so I was off the hook on that score, but still had unfinished business with Trio Ternura (8a) whilst John's target 8b was similarly wet, so he set about finishing off Pegue Nocturno (8a/+).
|Santa Linya: THE cave of justice. In a top trumps game, it'd win hands down over Parisellas|
After some fairly epic hold drying, i sketched my way through Trio Ternura on my third redpoint. John's long distance film showed 7mins of kneebar shake outs in 10mins total climbing time - need to get fitter! The difference on the final go was figuring out a sweet little trick of tucking an extended quickdraw behind a tiny flake, thus speeding up the clip instead of it flapping in the wind.
Thus, the pace of the weekend was set; from there on i seemed to manage everything i tried by the skin of my teeth, and John seemed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory on multiple occasions, starting with 3 efforts on Pegue Nocturno, each time dropping a deep lock off from a 2-finger pocket to a slopey crimp just before the difficulties eased back to f7a-ish.
Next up was the "crag classic" Opium, 7c. John went for the on-sight and pinged off the crimpy crux up high. I was beta'd up and went for the flash, but by now the fingers weren't happy with crimping and i slumped on the rope. I worked out a different method and got it next go, skipping a clip and barely making it to the chains with eyes on stalks and elbows pointing skywards.
8a RP, 7c+ RP and 7c RP in a day; I was chuffed with the turn around in performance compared to Dinbren and hence set about a great dinner of 3 courses for 15Euro with a carafe of wine.
|My ham and melon starter; not bad for a 15 Euro set meal including wine!|
A somewhat later start than Saturday was called for due to being as stiff as a board. John was psyched to tick something, anything even, so we settled on the Disblia cave at Sant Llorenc. I really couldn't get going, and was almost shut down by the 6a+ and 6c warm-ups. John tried a brilliant 7c+ with an 8a extension in the right hand cave, but was denied victory, not once but twice trying to clip the chains in a very powerful position. I sacked it off after dogging this route once and sun bathed instead. In the early afternoon the sun arrived and beer o'clock was called.
|Beer and crisps break before getting a second wind and continuing the crushing at Futbolin.|
More food, more beer, more banter ensued before an early morning departure for the Ryan air flight home and a pleasant ride round Llandegla to round off the bank holiday Monday.
In total, all grades from 6a+ to 8a ticked in a 3 day weekend; "SMASH, SMASH!":
8a, Trio Ternura, RP
7c+, Bestia Parda, RP
7c, Opium, RP
7b+, Mandragora, OS
7b, Colera & The Oxfury, both OS
7a+, Spanglish, OS
7a, Por la Boca Muere el Pez, Brigadistak, & Lo dejé to blanco, all OS
6c+ El Kalkilo, OS
6c, Presidiari, OS
6b+, Red Dusk, OS
6b, La Discordia, OS
6a+, Presidiaria, OS