After the last blogpost I wrote that Rodellar was the next stop. But before we went to Rodellar we made a one day stop at Santa Linya, I had some unfinished business to do there. I wanted to finish El Koala 8b, last year I had to back off because of a finger injury (pulling hard on a shallow mono) and this year it was wet or moist all the time. The conditions this day where far from great, it was hot and very humid but I had only one day to send the route so, A Muerte! After a few tries I climbed the bottom half which is the crux and was facing the second half (about 7b). The stupid thing was that I didn’t work out the moves of this part because I did a route with the similar end years ago and thought it where only jugs. I don’t think that I have ever before got so pumped in my life (thank god it where only jugs to the top), I almost fell off every move and had the feeling that I had to puke when I clipped the chain. Not my hardest climb (easy 8b, some call it 8a+ but I don’t think El Koala has anything to do with 8a+) but I will remember the intense fight for a long time. I wanted to climb Irac Attack 8a+ as well but you could take a shower under the dripping tufas , next time…
The next day we drove to Rodellar, Catalunya was getting way to hot! I had good memories of Rodellar from 3 years ago: good weather, nice people, good campsite, beautiful nature and my first 8b+. The whole area hadn’t changed a bit (which is a good thing) and is still the most beautiful climbing area I have ever been (nature wise). We would be a month in Rodellar and that means enough time for a project. Rodellar is famous for its long and overhanging routes but I am still more a boulder than a route climber (endurance?) so I picked out the shorter lines. From the beginning of the trip I wanted to try Welcome to Tijuana 8c (my tripgoal is climbing my first 8c) so I got into it on one of the first days. The workout session went pretty good but I didn’t got really syked for it for some reason, so my quickdraws have been in the route for about 3 weeks but I only got back on it once to get my clips back. At the same time I was trying Manus 8b in the Ali Baba cave, the routes in the Ali Baba cave are short and incredible overhanging (up to 90 degree roof climbing). Manus was going good but I found it pretty hard for 8b (and sharp), the next day I found out why; one important hold (the one I found really sharp) was broken off and nobody did the route anymore according some locals. They advised me to try Manus-City No 8b+ which is the right hand finish of Manus, I didn’t found the ‘new’ section of this route harder than Manus (but after the break Manus was harder than 8b) and made quick work of the route. Manus-City No is very much my style; it is a boulder that you climb with a rope on a 45 degree overhang. The crux section is on crimps and I found an tricky (but for me perfect) heelhook which helped a lot. The next route I got recommended was Con Jonas te Estamaras which is 8b+ in one guide and 8b/+ in the other. I think this route is length dependent and with my length I found it easy, the route felt as a soft 8b for me. Unfortunaly a week after my ascent one of the key holds broke, I think I am the last one who did the route in its original state.
With those two in the pocket I wanted to go for the 8c. A few lines to the left of Manus-City No is the route El Quiebraley 8c (and the easier finish Traverse del Quiebraley 8b+), this route goes straight through the roof (90 degrees). Roof climbing is not my strongest point in my own opinion because my lack of core strength (having a good core strength is hard for tall people) and my lack of endurance (I always get pumped pretty fast in a roof). To get fit in this roof I wanted to climb the 8b+ variant first, the beginning (which includes most of the roof climbing) of both routes is the same. Traverse del Quiebraley took me longer than I first thought it would be, for me it was an endurance problem, the roof tired me out so fast. When I did the Traverse I knew that the direct finish was in reach (I had already done all the moves). The direct finish ads 7 hard moves after you do (almost) all the hard climbing of the 8b+ variant. I wanted to climb Quiebraley so badly that we stayed some days extra in Rodellar, on Sunday 5 june in my 4th try of the day I sended El Quiebraley, my first 8c !
It wasn’t easy fysically and mentally: special thanks to Blastoestimulina (best skin recovery crème ever!), Micha Vanthoudt (it was nice to project the route together, even if he did it before me ) and to my girlfriend Sophia Bitlloch who sometimes believed more in me than I did myself (by the way she climbed here first 7a in Rodellar: Tu eres la Primera, WOUW!)
A good way to close 4 months of climbing in Spain, I had a blast!
Austria here we come First stop there is Zillertal
Manus-City No, photo by Bjorn Iisager
El Quiebraley, photo by Lee Sungjae
Tu eres la Primera, photo by Joost Hess