Saturday, 25 December 2010

Hola mi Amigos,

My god it feels good to lie down. After 6 hours on the road, preceded by many days of cold, hard climbing and too little sleep, I am pooped (to put it politely). We left Francia on Monday for the (slightly) warmer climate of Spain and the plentiful, painful pockets of Margalef.

The first day was dank and cold, but first day psyche dragged Caro and I out of the refugi at around 11am to a deserted Laboratory , where we began the ongoing battle against numb fingers. Warming up was a relative term; 6b, 7b, 8b – numb, numb, numb. The clouds were persistent all day long, not once allowing the sun to shine on the cliff, but slowly (very slowly) feelings began to return and as a few other brave souls appeared at the crag, I felt ready to move on to the business of the day.

“Il Ley Innata”, product of an Animal and repeated only by a machine, was recommended to me by Iker Pou as a nice route to try that would suit a boulderer. It is worth mentioning at this point that Iker is a complete monster – arguably the best all-rounder in the world and no stranger to hard moves on small holds. This year he repeated Demencia Senil, returning to make this pretty special video, climbing the route 12 times in the process!!!

A few weeks previously I had watched a video of Ramon climbing “Ley”, happily chilling on holds, feet cutting left right and centre, and generally making it look like 7b. After this visual stimulation and the tip-off from Iker, I wandered over to the base of the route expecting... well... I don’t really know what I was expecting... but I do know I got a shock!

La ley innata Ramon Julian from Ramon Julian on Vimeo.

“My God, this is steep” was the first thing that came to mind, closely followed by “hmmmmm, those don’t quite look like the jugs from the video...” The first few moves were hard, but I optimistically told myself I was still warming up, gurning, gritting my teeth and slowly moving upwards the inviting 1/3rd height jug.

Well, the jug turns out not to be so juggy, more a “mono stack” and a painful one at that! This was pretty much the theme for the whole route – its hard, fu%@ing hard, fu%@ing hard and fu%@ing painful, and that is exactly what one should expect from an 8c+/9a in the Laboratory.

Once I got my head around that things started to go smoother. I began to work out a sequence for me (surprise surprise, Ramons 1.59m method doesn’t quite fit) and by the end of the day I had made a few nice (small) links. I felt physically weak on the route, testament to a lack of bouldering for far too long. The positive side of this is progress should come quickly with a little directed effort. I’ll train power a little over the winter and play again in the spring.

More to come soon...

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