Monday, 3 January 2011
...in the Costa Blanca. Gosh I do like going away on climbing trips. After a few weeks of training and a very sedate week recovering from gayflu and christmassing, touching down in Spain in a sunnily warm yet expansively fresh evening felt almost like....coming home. Despite the familiar homogenity of the climbing and the lack of any particular loyality for the area, the prospect of a few days guaranteed intense climbing with a wide choice of crags had a sense of inherent rightness. I sometimes forget that while the Costa Blanca has a very "Rockfax-clutching Brits abroad" mundanity to it, it is also very good - including the scenery, the splendour of which transcends the mercifully out-of-season hellholes of Benidorm which it overlooks.
This time I got to explore 4 new crags and do some pretty good climbing in good company. I found that I failed to achieve my hopes but exceeded my expectations.
On the plus side I overcame my gayflu pretty quickly, indeed the first day climbing in the sun I could feel it fading away throughout the day. My finger held up fine, and I felt physically good after a few weeks training. My head wasn't bad either. And I did a few cool and challenging routes.
On the minus side, I failed on a few routes including some that were really inspiring, and I might benefit from pondering more over those. I know what I did right (training, pacing, rest, enthusiasm, route choice), but what could I have done better?
Route 25 F7a, Murla
What went wrong? Foot slipped off boulder problem start.
What could I have done? Not clipped the bolt so I could boulder it out, re-warmed up better, fought harder.
How can I improve that? Accept that a bouldery route really IS bouldery, and prepare better for unduly hard moves.
Ozzie F7a, Echo Valley
What went wrong? Didn't trust tiny polished pinch and slumped onto rope.
What could I have done? Given the move a try anyway as I was by the bolt, slapped my hand to remove chalk and sweat.
How can I improve that? Focus on trying anyway even if I'm sure I won't succeed, as there is nothing to lose.
Muca Muca F7a, Pego
What went wrong? I was midway through doing the crux move and just sagged off due to lack of precision as I was surprised I was actually doing it.
What could I have done? Realised I was climbing quite well and actually stayed focused.
How can I improve that? Have a wee think about how I am climbing at a particular time and adjust my expectations and focus accordingly.
Teto F7a(F7a+/b), Pego
What went wrong? Tried crux but couldn't get comfortable to clip and slumped on rope. Tried crux after and still too hard above.
What could I have done? Not much as I couldn't have flashed the whole crux, but I could have felt around more on the hold.
How can I improve that? Try to get into habit of remembering I can push myself further, and keep feeling around and trying moves.
Sesion De Noche F6c, Barranc L'Avern
What went wrong? Missed a hidden jug and slumped onto rope.
What could I have done? Felt around more, trusted I would have enough strength to keep going, tried move without jug.
How can I improve that? Try to get into habit of remembering I can push myself further especially if a rest is coming up, and keep feeling around and trying moves.
Mitja Via F6c+(F7a), Barranc L'Avern
What went wrong? Fell off one move from easy ground due to utter exhaustion.
What could I have done? Very little, I had pushed very hard through several on/off moves. It was close tho.
How can I improve that? Try to eek out a bit more mental focus, and probably keep breathing as well as chalking/shaking out.
In general: The two main things I can work on improving are realising how well I am climbing and staying focused on climbing well at that level, and trying improbable moves when I feel mentally comfortable doing so. So from this trip I can take the pleasure of what I did, and the potential of what I can do in future...