Sunday, 8 February 2015

It's all about the systems

After our rest day, we headed to a slabby crag round the far side of the village, by the old fortified walls.

I decided to up the ante with the falling practice, and took some long whippers on a 5c slab to start the day. This made a big difference to my climbing, as nothing else I faced could hope to be as terrifying. However, with fear of falling out of the way I was free to notice some performance anxiety. Sloppy footwork cost me the onsight of a really nice technical flowstone line, but behind the bad technique was too much desire to onsight it's grade of 7a.

The next day we went back to Parad de Enfrente and after warming up (complete with the now customary whipper) I decided to get on Blue Agave (7a). I knew it was soft in the grade, and so the onsight was again on my mind. I started a little internal mantra of "It's just another route... it's just another route..." and by the time I'd made the first few clips, I was relaxed and climbing well - not caring too much about the result, despite the crowds there to witness my success or failure.

It's just the sort of spanish limestone route Ramon taught me how to deal with - long and sustained but with good rests everywhere if you take the time to look, and before long I had pulled through a pumpy section to the last bolt. I was feeling boxed, and despite a decent rest position I didn't seem to be getting anything back. I could almost hear the catalan cranker shouting up "just wait there then!", so I did.

Eventually, refreshed, I made the last few moves with ease and clipped the chains. It was indeed soft in the grade, but since on paper it's my first 7a onsight in some time, I'll take it.

As someone once said, climbing is all about systems; I seem to have systematically worked my way back into good climbing form - loosen up the body, deal with the fear, then deal with the ego - far faster than I could have hoped for when I crossed the channel.

There's a few days of rain forecast, starting on Tuesday, so perhaps tomorrow I should open an account with something a little more difficult...

Climbing under the old walls.

Pinchtastic flowstone on the gorgeous line of Smegol (6c)

Weekend + Sunshine = Not The Quiet Crag We Got Used To. Ah well, nice to be looking forward to Monday mornings ;)

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