fredag 19. april 2013

Something different

The last week has been different. That is the only way I can think off to describe it, and It all started with an old promise. 

My good friend Ole was in Barcelona for a weekend with his work, and I had agreed to come and pick him up in Barcelona and take him to Margalef for a day trip so he could try to finish his old project Aéroplastica (7c+). 
When I said yes to this I had completely forgotten how much driving was involved. I had also figured I would be done with my project and that a trip to Margalef would be nice.

It wasn´t before we reached Barcelona and reset the GPS that we realised just how much driving we would be in for.
Santa Linya to Barcelona it´s about 180 km and from Barcalona to Margalef it´s about the same. Basically 360-ish km in the sun on not always the greatest roads.
When we finally got to Margalef we only had about 2,5 hours before the route got into the sun.
Ragnhild joined Ole trying and fell 3 times trying to get into the crux pocket. Ole, looking stronger then ever, got passed his old crux three times, but got a bit unlucky and fell just before the jugs. 
Since I had unfinished business back in the cave, I rested, that is if driving all day and then hanging in the rope filming can be described as rest.    

"Ragnhild stabbing for the pocket on Aéroplastica"

Returning to Santa Linya the weather changed from fairly good spring conditions to boiling hot summer weather in a day. We tried getting up painfully early and get on the projects, but it was useless.
At 9 in the morning it was between 16-20 degrees (and no wind) and at 13 it was up to 29..  

"The constantly changing weather report"

Done climbing at 11-12 in the morning we suddenly had a lot of time to kill.
My brother Vemund was out for a visit, and bored of hanging in the house, we ran around outside all day exploring and playing around.

"Being all touristy in Camerasa"

"Looking for new climbing areas"

One day as we where chilling down at the beach I got an idea for a picture. Having forgotten my timelaps remote we only had the 10 sec self timer on the camera to play with, and thus a need to time the shot perfectly.
Basically the idea was for me to jump of Vemunds leg and strike a pose, while he at the same time tried to make it look like he was trowing me.
I must have jumped about 30 times before we finally got it right, but the final picture is up there as one of my favourite pictures of all time :)  

"Setting up for the jump, camera going off to early"
"Jumping, camera still going off to early"
"In flight, hitting the camera timing right, but with a bad pose"
"Landing, the camera going off to late"
"Then, finally, THE SHOT!"

Then on Magnus last day, with the heat still in effect and our motivation for the cave dwindling, we decided over the morning coffee to take a break and head up to Rodellar instead.

Now I could write a story from my point of view, but as it would be fairly similar to the one already written by Magnus, so I´ll just post a few pic´s and a link to his story:   

One day in Rodellar
"Magnus swimming up the deep part of the river, the water a nice and chilly 10-ish degrees" 

"More swimming"

"The 120 kg max toy boat, somehow we got all 4 in this on the way back"

"Magnus in one of the nice not so deep parts of the river"

"Magnus onsighting Black Pearl part 1 (8a+), the line of Cosi in the background"

"Magnus onsighting Cosi Fan Tutte (8c+)"

"Me onsighting the 7b+ warmup route just before the sun hit the wall full on"

"Back in the boat"

"Scrambling around in one of the none boat friendly parts of the river"

I had a rest day before our trip to Rodellar, and when there everything tok longer then expected. I barely got time to do a warm up route before the sun hit the wall (30+ degrees) and I decided it was no point in even trying.
Sunburned, tired from a long day and having worked on photos way into the night. I woke the next day completely wasted at 7 as Magnus was getting ready to leave.
We got down to the cave at 9.30 but I had no energy and had to rest yet another day...
Then today, after getting up at 5.15 and dropping my brother of in Lleida, we got to the cave at 9 just as  the rain started. It got super humid and even though I was feeling completely rested and psyched to get back on the route, there was no point. Another rest day..  

"The current weather rapport"

With the end of the trip rapidly approaching and the project still not completed, resting 4 days in a row feels like a bit of a gamble, but with colder weather coming in the next two days, I hope it will pay off.

søndag 14. april 2013


I´m now nearing the end of my third climbing season here in Spain.
Having spent most of the last two seasons mainly in the Santa Linya cave, I had hoped to climb more in other areas this year. 
That did of course not happen. A project came along and time just seemed to disappear.

"Trying to rest in the flake jug on one of many link attempts"

I have spent most of my time in Spain working projects and redpointing, and yet it feels like the first time I´v been so motivated and dedicated to a route.
Haunted by old injuries, the season started out a bit slower then I had hoped.
Instead of getting on Fabelita (8c) straight away (like Hannah did last season), I spent the first months on less steep ground trying to finish off some of the 8b´s I failed to complete last year, trying the route only a few days here and there.

Then, at the start of March, I was feeling much better and finally free to put all my energy and focus into the route.
In the beginning it felt really hard, a massive undertaking based on the shape I was in.
I had trouble with the crux moves separately and my early link attempts where both short and desperate.

Ready to put in the hours and really work for it, I went up again and again and tried and tried until the links no longer seemed so impossible.
First I managed to link through the crux traverse.

"The second half of the crux traverse"

Then, after finally finding a good sequence, I made the link from the flake jug in the middle to the top. 

"The flake jug after the traverse"

"The possible to miss awkward slot move"

"The upper dyno, a bit less random then the slot move, but hard if pumped"

"The possible red point crux, a hard lock off from a slippy crimp to a pocket"

Knowing I would need to get the beginning more wired and practice resting before the traverse, I started going from the ground.

"The bouldery start 8a"

On my initial attempts I spent almost 5 minutes trying to rest and then just barely made it into the traverse before running out of juice.

"The upside down kneebar rest before the traverse"

Realising I wasn´t really ready to go from the ground, I went back into work mode and spent a few days just linking on the traverse.
After a rest day it felt much better and I returned to going from the ground.
A few tries later I made a breakthrough and got to the very end of the traverse before the pump caught up with me and kicked me off.


Feeling close and super motivated I then hit a wall.
I started having negative progression and got more and more flappers and cuts from doing the same moves over and over.

Climbing on the route turned increasingly painful to the point where I dreaded or couldn´t take several holds, and no matter what I did I was unable to get back to my highpoint.
The traverse separately started feeling harder again up to the point I could barely do the crux moves starting from the bolt..

Frustrated and mentally tired I tok 4 days off, climbing two days on other routes and two days just resting.
Fortunately the short rest period helped a lot.

The skin recovered reasonably well, and back on the route I felt stronger then ever, linking through the traverse separately with ease.
Getting back to my highpoint still tok several attempts, but my head was back in the game.
I was once more enjoying the climbing, and ready to try as many times as I needed.

A few weeks ago I only had power for one good try, but I started trying twice anyway just for the training.
Now I´m cruising to the end of the traverse in both tries, but no matter how much stronger I feel, once I get that last pocket my hand starts slipping.
For some reason I can't seem to break through this barrier, and for the last 3 weeks now I´v fallen around this same spot.

I can feel that I´v gotten much stronger.
I´m able to do the link from the start of the traverse to the top without getting pumped.
I only need to rest for 2,5 min not 4,5 min as I did a few weeks ago in the kneebar.
I can chalk up in the shoulder and still get into the dropknee move at 90% power, and yet for some reason, I still fall..
Good conditions, bad conditions, early or late in the day, it´s all the same, I get that pocket, move my feet over and just slip off.

I´m not the only one hitting a wall however. While I´v been on Fabelita, Magnus has been on Neanderthal.

"A crude skitch of Neaderthal seen from one of my ropes"

Where as I choose a route I knew stays dry, Magnus has had to suffer several holds on the route, including the only rest in the hard part, being wet up until now.

"Magnus taking a surprise fall suddenly slipping out of the wet rest" 

Still he has managed to get up and fall on the crux dyno 23 times, 7 or so with his hand all the way up on the hold.
"Logging some serious air time"

From having to work hard to get up there (9a/+), he seems to get there without being pumped now, but as with me, getting stronger on the route hasn´t helped him break through the barrier.

"Dyno x 23"

4 weeks ago Ragnhild also joined us here in what has come to be known as "Casa Wang". Psyched on projecting a 8a called Pegue Nocturno, she joined us hitting the wall just a few days into her trip.
3,5 weeks and 3 tries per day later she is racking up a fairly high number of falls in the same spot to join the rest of us.

     "Ragnhild at the start of the crux on Pegue"  

So why do we do this to ourselves?

In the end I guess it comes down to what we find purpose in doing. 
On the one hand I would like to see more areas, climb on routes I can do reasonably fast and in general just enjoy climbing. 
On the other hand I want to really push myself, work hard and really invest time and effort in a route above my current level to see if I have what it takes. 

The first option is definitely the easiest and in many ways probably the most enjoyable, so why choose the second?

When you climb a lot of "easy" routes it´s fun there and then, but after a while they (at least for me) just seem to blend together, vague memories of unexceptional days. 

If you choose the long and difficult road of the hard redpoint, somehow managing to fight through the doubt and all those hard days when it just feels impossible, then that is something you remember and take with you.

The first year my thoughts was too much on clipping the anchor and on what I would do after.
This of course only got me depressed when it wasn´t going my way, draining my focus and motivation and ultimately causing me to fail. 

Whit this negative mindset climbing ceased to be fun, and I spent more time being miserable then enjoying my time on the projects, eventually just hiding behind the camera or climbing on easy routes to get away from the challenge. 
It wasn´t before I read "The Rock Warriors Way" I understood what had happened and realised where I had failed.
To succeed in hard redpointing it´s not just the body that needs training but also the mind.
It´s as much a question of controlling your focus and motivation as being physically strong.
Every try requires 100% effort, your mind needs to be on the next move, not what if, maybe, should have, could have.
Then, one day, with a bit of luck, it just happens. If not, there is always next year.
After all, part of the challenge is not knowing if you will succeed. 

Magnus is leaving the 20-th, Ragnhild and I the 22.
A lot of time and effort is invested in our current projects, and we all feel very close. If it was just a question of patience and trying I know I would eventually succeed, but time is running out and the heat is really setting in.
Will I make it? Will any of us make it??