Boy, oh boy! Everyone was pulling from this pocket: Wolfgang Güllich, Catherine Destivelle, Jerry Moffat, Lynn Hill. Everyone. It’s getting a bit run-out. Amm, run-out, a bit higher and now it’s RUN-OUT. Sun is shinning, and I’m contemplating a next move to … amm, a sloper.
As you can guess, we are already back in France. However, this blog post is about spending the last month of the damn cold winter in Spain and Catalunya.
February felt less sedentary than ever before, as we changed our home location many times. Mainly in the region of Costa Blanca which I sometimes find ugly due to touristic landscape, excessive agriculture and difficult to find solitude.
First, after escaping El Chorro, we drove to Sella to continue solitude climbing on pretty sandbagged walls. It was too cold for “Hidden Valley” (a sector with tufas, overhangs, power, muscles, bam-bam), so we were forced to climb on verticals and slabs. Such phrases as “it wasn’t healthy for my heart to warm-up on this slab” or “this 6b won’t disappoint you” were exchanged.
Next, we drove to Chulilla to meet with our friends Londoners who came there to celebrate Audinga’s birthday. Fun time and fun celebration(s). In between, I managed to finish unfinished business - “Nibelungalos” (my first 7c, yey), and finally, Laura got a chance on “El Bufa” (8a) which she gonna send next time.
Next, we met with Laura’s sister Vilma and her crew who came to climb in Costa Blanca. It was fun to synchronize climbing dictionaries with the crew: “antoškė” - quickdraw, “minusas” - overhang, “šnipas” - ATC device, and sometimes understanding for climbing safety.
Vilma is psyched on climbing. So psyched, that even we get envy (I miss those days when everything in climbing was new, and “The Center of the Universe” was watched only once). After cragging with her on sport routes, two sisters and me went to climb “Diedro UBSA” on Penon d’Ifach - a first multi-pitch for Vilma. Although it’s just 5+, exposedness, bridging corners and exiting roofs didn’t feel five-ish at all. Not to forget a wind which blew out all chalk from my chalkbag.
After saying goodbye, next destination was Gandia, and then Bernia. Gandia was about sport and oranges, while in Bernia we had a very awesome outing - a Bernia ridge traverse, or a Fitz Roy traverse of Costa Blanca, or just a long scramble.
And finally, we were back in Cornudella, the place where our winter suffering began and the place considered by many as the center of the universe for sport climbing.
The parking lots were full of familiar vans and familiar faces. On some occasions we joined Vida and Jacint with their local gang of climbers.
Besides Margalef and Siurana, we finally went to Montsant - a very impressive and very solitude climbing, same as Margalef, but, longer, more remote and less steep, and Arboli which felt like an extension of Siurana due to similar climbing style and rock.
During the last days we both ticked “Mandragora” (7b+), the superb route Laura tried on her first visit to Siurana eight years ago. She did the crux section in her usual style - pulling on imaginary crimps.
Spring is here (at least in calendar). Even if we like comfort and stability so much, we find courage to step outside our comfort zone and leave Spain and Catalunya. See you later, crimps on orange walls.