torek, 20. september 2016

Aragon - Bielsa and Ordesa

Sometimes summers in Catalonia are just too hot and hiding in the shade doesn't help a lot. We used this crazy heat for an excuse and start to explore Aragon.

First week we drove to the Valle de Benasque two hour away from Era Vella. Cool canyon with big walls on both sides of the road. A vista total didn't work this time and except enjoying 2 hour approach on the sun between the bushes, snakes and elephants we climbed one nice route. On the way back we found the sector we were looking for and we will come back when there will be more routes (or with the drill to make them).

Since one of us likes granite so much we had to go higher up in the mountain. 10 minutes approach and 150m long routes on altitude more than 200 meters. Amazing climbing and enjoying the day with a nice view.

In Sant Loreç de Montgai the conditions were still good only for swimming so we returned to Aragon. Devotas is a cool sector for easier routes. You can climb there in the afternoon and if it's too hot you can still throw yourself in the river.
Best spot for the summer :)
Foz de Canal, Bielsa is just another one of amazing Spanish crags whee you can find routes of all grades. Anyways the best routes start here after 8a and best conditions at 8 am. It is a perfect place for summer mornings but this time it just got too hot too soon (around 1 pm). Colder days are coming, so I'm looking forward to come back and climb all this amazing projects up there.

Our next stop was Ordesa with one of a kind big walls. Inedible place where we were enjoying one long route with a few bolts in it. There are also some harder things to do there but I need to practice a bit more how to use this decorational trad gear before I return :).

The best discovery of the short trip was a long canyon which we accidentally found on our way from Bielsa to Ordesa. One of the best walls I've seen in a long time but without any bolts or routes. Unfortunately it didn't look like it's possible to climb with trad gear so I need to return with my drill. In the river below are some awesome boulders you can do Psicobloc style.

Now enough of exploring, back to the project. Winter is coming... :)
The projecting season starts now!

torek, 28. junij 2016

Papichulo 9a+

Long time ago, when I was still traveling to Spain just for a month I stopped in Oliana for "after driving rest day". After long drive it's easy to be overexcited so I was just climbing without a topo and try to onsight everything. Didn't care of anything, I just wanted to climb and enjoy the day.

One of the routes this day was a bit harder than expected but still I could manage to get to the top with bunch of hanging on each draw. Later I found out it was the famous Papichulo.

Each year I came back I made a try or two in it but than we drove on to the south of Spain, discovering new unknown places. Este año fue diferente. Catalonia was our final destination so I could spend more time projecting in this amazing crag. First I did Joe Mama and than I decided to give Papi a go. After a small break and climbing in different places like Mont Rebei, Coll de Nargo, Figols, Abella, Boixols...

So the conditions got better. Long windy days with shade after 2 were just perfect so I started to get back and enjoy the tranquility of the place. Each attempt I was progressing and soon I started to connect sections together. It's my favorite stile of climbing so it was not hard to get back on the route.

Hardest part for me has been Minichulo. Almost impossible to climb and still it doesn't add much to the grade since you have a comfortable couch to sit just after. From here to the top was more fun. Cool moves, bad rests and pure endurance. Couldn't be better. I like getting pumped and climb like that until I can't move anymore. It was hard, not easy at all. But still I surprised myself with doing it so fast since I was expecting a bigger epic in it. Oh well, there are still harder routs around and I'm sure I'll get what I am looking for :)

More about Papichulo,"trainig" and other things I was doing will be shown in my next video which will get out soon. For now just the trailer will have to do it :)

petek, 15. april 2016

Mont Rebei

I always liked to climb in big walls, so when Chris asked me if I want to join him on Mont Rebei expedition where he had made crazy hard route some years ago, I was more than happy to take that chance. On the pictures the wall looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to get there.
Aragon on the left, Catalonia on the right
First view of on the wall
Congots de Mont Rebei is on the border between Aragon and Catalonia, separated by the river. The approach is on the Catalonian side and you need to walk on a nice path for about an hour and then we could see the wall we wanted to climb in. It was on the other side of the river. Joder. Without the boat you need to continue another kilometer to get to the bridge and then return on the Aragon side back to the wall without any paths. Then you need to climb 2 pitches of another route, and walk down on the other side to get to the base of the wall and you can finally start climbing. Luckily some nice people pick us up with a kayak and took us around the corner so we could skip this climbing and descending part to the wall and it saved us a lot of time. Next time we returned with a boat. Mucho mejor.
Monster of Mont Rebei
Kayaking is easier than walking
Route starts with a nice 70m long 6c with a not may protection in it and then you arrive to a big ledge where we made our base camp. From here on the real climbing starts. Overhanging wall with small crimps and warming up in 9a is an amazing experience. The pitch is just barely possible so we needed to work a lot to make all the moves. Next is easier 8b pitch with small one finger pockets and long moves. If you don’t like monos, forget about this route J
Second pitch (first from base camp)
Perfect cripms
I still need to figure out how to do 2 moves
Last hard move of the pitch, jump, of coarse 
Now you arrive to another “big and comfortable” ledge where you can relax a bit. From here it starts the best part of the climb. Long technical moves, small holds and even smaller footholds. I like this pitch, even though it’s almost impossible to make two good tries in it in one day. 5th pitch we didn’t try a lot. It has a crazy sideways jump from micro crimps in it. But to work it out we left it for the next time.
3rd pitch is easier
No rest here
I like this place

To get to the top of the wall we are still missing two more hard pitches and I hope we’ll get there soon. Hopefully on the next expedition.
From the second ledge
On our small fancy approach boat

torek, 5. april 2016

Joe Mama 9a+

Soon after I came to Spain I decided I want to climb one hard route. Chris was trying a cool looking project and it was not hard to convince me to try it as well. It was something new for me to focus on just one project but if I wanted to do it, there was no other way. Luckily I liked a route a lot and I had no problem climbing it for warm up, serious try and cool down.

Joe Mama starts with an easy section with big holds and some crimps which is perfect for warming up. After this part you have a quite good rest and then there is the first hard section with some underclins and long moves and in the end technical reachy traverse to a “good rest” where at the beginning I was not able to rest at all. Up to here the route could be already graded 8c or 8c+ but the hard part was just starting. Few long moves brings you to the main crux of the route with a crazy high dropknee, one final clip and then some small crimps with bad foot holds until the final jump to a big jug. Few more easy moves and the chain is there.

Amazing power endurance route which doesn’t let you rest until the end and I’m happy I finally put some more effort in a single route and climb it at the end.