Monday, 19 May 2014

Rodellar 2014 - Why you should always smash on

As I got to the second set of chains I just wanted to give in and say take. I was boxed. I felt broken. I'd climbed the lower section abysmally, nearly falling off an easy move by misreading it. Then nearly falling off a tricky move by being shit. I'd been lucky to scrape through to the first anchor, let alone the second, and I knew the top was supposed to be the hardest part. Still, might as well press on until I fall, I've blown doing anything else today anyway. With expectations thrown out the window and caution thrown into the wind my climbing improves instantly - faster, flickier, more decisive. Suddenly I'm at the lip of the cave, shaking out on undercuts. Fuck. It could be on. Don't screw up now. The last sequence sends me up and down a couple of times. Don't screw up now. No time left. All the aero cap training is doing its thing, but 40m of cave climbing has taken its toll. It's now or never. Commit. Try hard. Round on the slab and it's over. I'm in. GET IN! Excitement and happiness well up, and I shout like never before. A perfect reminder that it's always worth keeping on trying, even when you're convinced you've blown it, and just the kind of experience I wanted for my first 8b onsight.

Glorious Gran Boveda
After a few days in Tres Ponts and Figols (well worth checking out for the 8a and, by the looks of it, the 8b there) to start the trip we'd headed to our planned destination, Rodellar. Fortunately this is the land of steepness and big holds so my endless collateral ligament injury wasn't a big deal. In fact it probably helped - I knew the finger didn't like volume, so I basically carried on tapering during the trip, which is a bit dull but no doubt helped keep the performance up for the 2 1/2 weeks I was away.

Onsighting Eclipse Cerebral (8b) [photo: Mark Tomlinson]
 We got lucky with the conditions - cool, breezy and dry almost every day, though the tufas were a bit wet in places as they recovered from a previous deluge. Still, Rodellar has enough variety that we found plenty of blocky choss to climb on whilst the wetter stuff did its thing and dried off. It was beautifully quiet too. On my previous 2 trips there it's been pretty busy, but this time the valley was delightfully peaceful on many days, reminding me of just how nice a place this is. Is it going out of fashion? It shouldn't be, it's awesome. Although since steep burly stamina is my ideal style, and RADellar has it by the bucket load, I may be easily swayed.

Eclipse Cerebral (8b) [photo: Mark Tomlinson]

Happy knees. (It wasn't my idea. Honest.) [photo: Mark Tomlinson]
By the time we got in the car to head home (via a final Carrefour hit, of course) I'd had the most successful trip I've been on - my first 2 8b onsights, 5 8a+ onsights and a bunch of easier stuff. I did, however, fall off a route by kneebaring on my own hand. Something to work on for next time. It was also kind of interesting (to training nerds only) that preping for the trip doing a large chunk of my energy system work on a fingerboard didn't seem to be a big problem, and seems to be by far the safest way to train around a finger injury. Potentially useful knowledge for other injured souls...

The Kneepad Tree
Wow. Oh wow