Monday, 21 March 2016

Summing up the trip... one particular event.

La Riba - new crag, new excitement. A fresh change from Margalef pocket-pulling and loads of choice. This was it, this was the time, the place, to overturn the previous day's debacles, get on and crush. I hit the ground running (well, hobbling, it's a bit uphill and rocky) and got on Directa Reus to start. 15m 6b+ into 15m 6b+, gets 6c for the combo but it's got a comfy rest in the middle. No problemo! I boulder out the start, the pockets are sparser but bigger than Margalef. Good rest on the ledge then up steep jugs that run out so I swerve left via a mono into the crux layback, a bit committing but good stuff. Swing feet over, up to a good spike jug in a pocket by the next bolt, and....





Yes, bees. They start swarming out of the pocket. My mind doesn't think "quick, jump off to the last bolt", it thinks "quick, clip the next bolt and lower off", which of course allows the bees enough time to assume attack formation. I'm shrieking at PJ "LOWER, LOWER, FUCKING QUICKLY!" as I ride to the ground, trailing bees from my vest, swirling arms, goatee, and face... A furious battering dance (thank fuck gabber clubs are good training for this) and several stings later and I'm sat on the ground shaking. I get PJ to pull several stings out and lounge around with a dull ache throbbing around me, before I relax enough to fail on other routes for entirely bee-irrelevant reasons. I still have bruised scabs on my head and shoulders, and now I have an edited guidebook too...

I presume this will be features "as is" in any reprint...

On that subject, more photos:

Other wildlife was more amenable, especially if I was prepared to throw random stones for it. This persistent pooch cheered me up at Oliana after I had a massive strop failing on another F7a there. Furious doesn't even come close. I felt an extra dick afterwards because Sharma, Graham and Woods were further down repeating 9a+s and working on futuristic projects (i.e. the thing just right of La Dura Dura....incidentally it's surprising just how low the crux is on LDD, it's about 1/6th the way up the whole route). These are guys I respect not just for their world class ability but also their seemingly ever-positive and psyched vibes, something I try to have at 15 grades lower - and definitely didn't that day.

Huevo Roca! There were many more huevos going on every morning in the caravan. PJ lives off them and I can see the logic in that. I'm not so used to eggs every single day and did wonder if a slightly different diet affected my performance. Probably not.

Rochas without the huevos. Directly below the left edge of the right hand boulder is an epic 30m 7a I fell off, boxed, after trying my best. Cunts.

Good view from the caravan although the view of the woodburning stove with an entirely unsupported flue pipe soaring about 6m across the campsite bar was also good at this time of night.

The send train. Note that I am not part of it. 

View from Montsant. I'll be back. I've got at least a summer to work out how the fuck to climb.

 Micro-conglomerate at Vilanova De Prades. These pebbles would make rubbish holds as they are just a couple of mm wide...."I had to sprag on a quark" and all that ;)

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