All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

the river September 27, 2010

Filed under: Trips — sendann @ 9:17 am
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In Rodellar I was walking with my friend Laurencio from Brazil, who is 22 and has been living in Ireland learning English for the last few semesters. He was explaining how much he loves the river, the Mascun I think it’s called, that runs through the canyon there. We had this exchange:

How do you say this in English, ‘to take a bath in the river’?

Um, you just say “take a bath in the river.” We don’t have a special expression or word for it or anything.

No? Well I love to take a bath in the river.


America the Beautiful People September 21, 2010

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking,Trips — sendann @ 10:12 am
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Another climbing couple I’ve gotten to know on this trip is the Christenson’s of San Francisco, who are, apparently, a big deal in the trad world. We met in Ceuse, and have a similar itinerary, so we’ll be riding together to and in Mallorca tomorrow, and might be in Siurana at the same time in October as well. Viva the circuit!

They tell me about each other’s notable Yosemite sends, but I’ve never heard of any of them so I just say ‘wow’, because I sense that I am supposed to know what the Moonlight Butter is. Anyway, they are two lanky, gorgeous people who completely crush at crimpy face climbing. I went out with them and our friend Blanca from Pampalona yesterday.

The company was great. The climbing, ugh. I don’t even want to talk about it.

But Andrew took some nice pictures of us, including this one, which illustrates precisely how I feel while climbing on crimpy faces.

Here’s a few more. I’m wearing a polka dot tank top from Target, and these corduroy shorts I’m not sure I like yet. I got them at a clothing swap. Click the images to see them bigger.

It rained hard last night, so I’ll wait until the afternoon and probably go out with Lu and Pita. Hopefully we’ll go to this sector called Boulder de Jon, which has a few  15 meter 7a 45 degree routes, perfect to sooth my shattered face climbing ego. I know I only get psyched when I’m projecting, so I need to pick a facey project and work it, rather than just give up and freak out when I fall on the on-sight. We’ll see. This may not be the trip where I do that.

I’m heading to Mallorca tomorrow to meet up with Gustavo and company. Psyched to ditch the harness for a bathing suit and just beach for a week.


Full on Brazilian

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 9:45 am
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It’s my last day, for now, at Rodellar. This is probably the funnest hard climbing I’ve ever done. I am never happier than when I’m memorizing beta for a powerful, steep route. I think I tend to pick ambitious projects, and that might be part of why I rarely send anything, but I had a total victory here on a fat 28 meter tufa line called Nanuk (7c). It only took 5 tries total and two days, and on all but my very first run I went all the way to the top and fell at the end. I even managed to use 2 kneebar rests, which is huge for me because I hate to rest. On Nanuk the moves and the rests get progressively harder, ending with a few strong roof moves and an unlikely high step situation. It was a very perfect project for me in many ways, and having done it so soon after sending Jesus/Chuy is a total feat of concentration. Yes, I know that is pathetic by many standards.

Here's Nanuk, with this random Austrian underwear model standing under it. Peep those ClimbTech draws.

My Brazilian friend Luciana was working Nanuk and recommended it to me. We worked it together for a day, then both sent. Lu is from Rio, she speaks like 5 languages and is just freakishly beautiful. She’s traveling with her boyfriend Pita, and they are two hilarious people with a fun couple dynamic. Pita kind of reminds me of Capt Bastard, with his skilled climbing, enormous green backpack always full of jumars, somewhat checkered history and easygoing, self-effacing attitude. Another Brazilian climber here told me that Pita is a pretty big deal in Brazilian climbing, that he fa’d and bolted lots of stuff all over the country. He’s all about cracks, big walls, short walls, choss, he’ll climb anything and be perfectly psyched.

Pita and Luciana at Grand Boveda

He and Lu have these hilarious arguments in Portuguese while she’s climbing. “You know what we’re saying?” Lu will ask me, and I don’t. Then Pita explains, “she says ‘oh it is so much easier when I do it like this,’ and I say yes I told you do it like this three days before!” Then Lu yells, “but is better I learn myself!”  Then Pita wanders off laughing, and one-falls 8b’s for a while. Lu is the kind of girl who, once it’s too dark to get back on her project, will climb on Pita’s projects with a headlamp just to wear herself out before a rest day, then hike out in a rage wearing flip flops.

Lu has had enough

Lu's double brush action

Climbing with them has made for some of my best times so far on this trip. I’ve had good luck with other tufa climbs here, but I’m still flailing and failing when it comes to crimpy face climbs.


espana azul September 15, 2010

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 7:34 am
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Dropped the boys off in Barcelona yesterday and drove to Rodellar. Here’s a tip, if you’re driving to Rodellar, keep in mind that “Huesca” and “Osca” are the SAME PLACE, so just keep followin them signs. Some people just spell it differently. Probably Catalan separatists.

Rodellar is like Ton Sai, Thailand, in the way that it seems to exist just for climbers, and is positively overrun by an international rastafari cornucopia. I was delirious when I got in last night around 11. I stumbled into a restaurant and ate pizza and bought a very expensive guidebook. Unfortunately my Spanish is just good enough so that my questions  get answered. In Spanish. Blar.

I had spend a lot of the drive thinking about my dog Ned who died last January, and I was kind of hallucinating that he was in the backseat which was weird. It’s amazing how quickly I go from feeling so psyched to be on my own, because it really is in so many ways so much easier to ride solo, to very lonely and homesick. Hopefully I can skype or ichat with someone from home soon. I’ll probably end up on video chat with Merrick for half an hour, though, since he’s the most reliable video chatter I’ve got. Jackie advised taking silly self portraits to cure the sad, and since I haven’t heard any better advice, here goes.

Ok. Got to figure out if I’m going to stay at the hostel or go camping. Might camp for a couple nights and see how it goes. Then I need some food. Then I’ll go try the belay hitch hiking thing again. This place is, climbing wise, in-freaking-spired.