Sunday, 22 November 2009

Climbing A La Espanol!

Hey Everyone!!!

Been a wee while since I last posted but I have a good reason for that... I'M IN SPAIN!!! WOOOOOOOHHHH!!! I'm living the dream for 2 and a half weeks here in the land of overhanging orange limestone, tufas, stalactites and caves that only have 7c and harder routes, unless you want to climb a pile of choss that is...

So yeah... I am out here with my good friends Ali "Leven lad" Swinton, Neill "The Buzzard" Busby, Neil "Spiv-boy" Mcgeachy, Alan "Eats 8c for breakfast" Cassidy, Tom "Eats 9a for Breakfast" and Lynne "Has just started eating 8a's" Malcolm!!! Lynne, Tom and Alan live here, lucky bastards, the downside is they work full-time and have little time for climbing at all, and no training!!!

Right now I am sitting in the Teraddettes hotel cafe talking to Nat on SKYPE (The wonders of modern technology), checking out new tabs for Buz to play on the guitar and checking out the latest news on Oh the joys of rest days... I have a massive flapper on my hand from pulling on the chipped, crux, two-finger pocket of the 8b "Gladiator" in Rodellar and it is very sore. The other day I got really close to doing my trip project "Rollito-Sharma" 8b+ and I was gutted to get this flapper, but I think it will work out fine if I tape it up good!

So yeah... I've been working an 8b+ since I got here... so far, i've had around 10 goes on it and I have been getting further and further on it everyday, the last go saw me reach my highest point, basically 3 moves from doing the crux complete and after that I don't think I will fall off!!! WOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!!! This route has always been something I wanted to do. I first saw it on my first trip to Spain climbing. I was climbing with Tom, Lynne and my other friend Alex. Tom did it on his second try, an amazing sight to behold, and ever since then this route has been etched in my mind. It takes the line right in the centre of the Santa Linya cave and takes the most obvious, continuous break straight through until the central, half way break of the cave. To this point it is given 8c and to finish a few clips before is 8b+. The next stage of the journey would be to finish the route to the centre of the cave, and then again to further extend by climbing the remaining 30m to top out the cave, a likely grade at 9a+? My plan for next year is to climb 8c and consolidate climbing 8b's and 8b+'s redpoint and 8a's onsight so this route would be a likely candidate for my first 8c tick!!!

The trip has been great fun and very different to my usual trips. I usually focus on onsighting and doing lots of route whereas on this trip I mainly focussed on redpointing, something I am not that good at. I have come to realize now that redpointing hard routes is probably the single best thing you can do on a trip as it keeps you in good strength for harder onsights and also practices your mental strength (i.e. having to continuously deal with failure and getting sometimes no ticks for weeks at a time). On my first day here I onsighted a 7c+/8a called "Devora Hombres" (the same route Lynne redpointed last week) and i onsighted a couple of 7b+ and 7c in the Santa Linya cave too but apart from that I have only been doing Rollito and other 8b's in the cave. I tried "Santa Linya" 8b (the route, not the cave) and it felt really good too. I have had a few goes on it and fallen only at the crux move and I should be able to finish it after that. I also tried "Gladiator" 8b in Rodellar but as I said earlier I hurt my finger on it which would make doing the crux very painful indeed. I don't think Gladiator was very hard for me though even though I struggled on the crux move. I did it in two halves basically and the second half was pretty easy, if I had done the crux I definitely wouldn't have fallen off. Right now I am just happy to be out climbing with my friends and getting good progress on my project.

I will do Rollito and Santa Linya and those ticks will make an outstanding end to my trip.

My next big trip is Spain again in December/January! I am hoping to come out again with Nat and I'm psyched to see her tick some hard routes too. This trip will be either Santa Linya or Siurana. Both amazing crags and brilliant in the winter months!

Photos to come soon of this trip...



  1. It’s really good to see that you keep the same motivation through the years… Enjoy “the dream” kid, and good luck with the route.

  2. Hi Robbie, Johannes here - just seen your blog and am still blown away by what you've become...I wish I had some video of you climbing at A2 back in 2005 so you could post that too.