As winter cold is getting unbearable to us - sinusitis-susceptible folks, we are slowly moving south. As nomadic tribesmen traveling to the better climates we are moving to Andalusia. Driving from Costa Blanca to Andalusia is surprisingly interesting to us as we have never been that south in Spain. The usual destinations for us have been Barcelona/Lleida/Valencia and around so far. And so now we are stoked to explore a new place!
On the way we see Sierra Nevada mountains and are both bewildered by their snowiness. Not something we expected to see that south in Spain.
Our base for a couple of weeks is going to be a house in Alora as we have not been prompt enough to book a place in El Chorro as all the others. The house is cool though and we are happy to stay here with Domas who flew in from Vilnius.
The Lithuanian crew in El Chorro is quite huge! 11 people not counting us which contributes to a significant percentage of the whole Lithuanian rock climbing community when you think about it. So wow, we are very glad to be able to witness such a phenomenon and be part of this crew. Fun fact - many of those people wear socks while climbing but it’s probably a coincidence.
The days in El Chorro are passing by very quickly. We try to see as many different sectors as we can. From technical and crimpy Encantadas and Escalera Arabe to overhanging and juggy Fronteras to a remote and tufa-coated Makinodromo, we are trying it all! Some enjoy the technical aspects more than others, some are more happy to be pulling on jugs, but everyone seems to find something to climb.
After the first week, the first people start to leave. Vytas, Gabija and Justas are flying home but party is not over yet. Aras and Gedas B. are eager to use the remaining days to the fullest and take no rest days at all. Which ends up being counterproductive for some but the appetite is still growing. Gedas and Saulė are being even more efficient than ever doing morning/evening sends summing up to more routes in a couple of hours than all other mortal people can manage during the whole day of climbing. That’s what parenthood teaches you they say.
Then some more people leave and we spend another couple of days with Simučiai getting some quality 1-on-1 time with them. An already familiar sense of loneliness is starting to creep in when we say the last goodbyes. Now when we are left alone we have to do something to stay positive and motivated. So one solution is to take up or finish some unfinished projects.
For Martynas it is “Viejo Traidor”, 7b+, that he does quite quickly without any major issues. Riding on a send train he also clips the chain of “Alicia”, 7b+. He makes a conclusion that it is enough of tufa climbing and overhangs for now. We should do more technical stuff from now on!
For me it ends up being “Deseo en vida”, 8a. When I tried it first time it seemed totally impossible and I gave up grumpy for the rest of that day. A couple of days later Martynas and Gedas encouraged me to try it again as Martynas climbed a 7a next to it and made a top-rope. It was starting to rain and I was not super psyched but it’s a great opportunity I though. So I gave it a go. And surprisingly I did all the moves. It didn’t feel doable just yet as the hardest part is to link everything up - there are no good rests for about 10 meters of crimpy pleasure.
But then another day of work and it clicks! As if the possible counterbalances the impossible in my head and I know it’s just a matter of time. From here it’s easy, just a little bit of patience is needed. And so the next day in the morning, first try of the day I send it. It is a symbolic thing for me. Even though it’s yet another grade, yet another ego booster, I take a chance to enjoy it. I have been thinking about this, quite passively though, for quite a while, potentially since I did my first 7c which was … 7 year ago.
We are done with El Chorro, done with the celebrations as well. Time to move on! Moving on back to Costa Blanca and turning our radar towards France already. Checking the weather for Buoux and Verdon occasionally and hoping for it to get warmer in March.