Saturday, 5 December 2015

Europe Trip: Siurana

Hello Again!

I´ve been here in Siurana for the past three weeks, and its certainly been interesting...

Our first week we spent trying to get warmed up and acquainted with the area, trying classic routes such as "Zona 0", "Migranya", "Anabolica", and "Bistec de Biceps". One thing I noticed right away is the stark contrast in style between Rodellar and here. In Siurana, the feet dissapear, the routes are just as long, except the y quest up pristine vertical expanses of gorgeous orange and grey limestone, and all holds dissapear to heavily textured quarter pad crimps, and some heinously sharp pockets. Most of our warm-ups have featured at least three monos, which certainly took us a few days to get used to. After our first week, I was getting pretty psyched to start working on some of the routes I mentioned earlier, but we were hit by a pretty heinous cold front for a week. We tried to climb the first couple days in the 5 degree weather and 60km/hour winds, and I actually managed a send of "Outback", 7c+/13a, and onsites of "Boys Don´t Cry" and "Hot Knife Direct", both 7c/12d. Once I saw that the weather was supposed to improve in about a weeks time, I decided it would be in my best interest to take a week off to rest and recover to try and avoid future tweaks, since I knew I would be pretty miserable trying to climb routes at my limit in the freezing weather.

So the de-load week passed, and I was feeling psyched to go hard on some hard routes. I took one day to ease back in, but the following day I had quite a lot of pain and stiffness in my left hand after I climbed my warm up. Frustrated, I took the rest of the day off, and was quite sad to find my hand worse off the next day. It didn´t hurt to load my fingers, but it hurt to move them. I really didn´t understand what I did, and still don´t. The next week I spent massaging my hand, stretching, resting, and belaying, and then have slowly been easing back into climbing. The good news is I tried a 13a yesterday, and did all the moves without ever feeling pain or discomfort, which makes me think I´m almost back to full strength! The bad news is my time in Siurana has not been particularly well spent in terms of my personal climbing, but obviously there´s much more to this trip than JUST how well I climb ;)

One of the best things about my time here is that I feel like I have improved quite a lot on the intensely technical style featured here on many of the routes. I feel much more confident being run-out on tiny, non-existent feet and quarter pad pockets, 35 meters up a slab. Outside of climbing, Siurana is one of the most beautiful places I´ve ever been. The town itself is situated on this tiny cliff overlooking the slightly larger town of Cornudella de Monsant, and is surrounded by breathtaking peaks of immaculate yellow-orange rock, and I don´t think I´ve ever been somewhere with sunsets as beautiful or reliable.

Another bonus of being here was the fact that Black Diamond had a bunch of their athletes here for Project Siurana, a mission to help eliminate garbage at the crags to allow for future enjoyment of the routes here. It was cool to see the love everyone had for Siurana, and I´m not about to complain about spending a day or two at the crag watching climbers like Nalle Hukkataival and Dalia Ojeda walk up virtually every route they got on.

Siurana hasn´t been without challenges though; we got a little sandbagged on the grocery beta, and so we had to walk the 8km down the road to town once a week to get a weeks worth of groceries, and then hitchhike our way back up to the campground. Fortunately we never really had a shortage of people willing to carry our sorry asses back up the hill, so it didn´t turn out to be too big of a deal :)

In just a few days time, Sara and I are saying goodbye to Becca and heading further south to the climbing paradise of Chulilla! We´ve got some kick-ass accommodation lined up there, which is where we´ll spend the four weeks around Christmas. It seems the style there is a hybrid between Rodellar and Siurana, so I´m definitely excited to go try it out!!

Until next time :)
-Andrew Funk