Monday, 3 December 2007


In spite of my cavalier approach to climbing goals for the season, promises of 7c by Christmas etc, I don´t think I really believed it would ever be possible. Pipe dreams, I thought... but if you don´t believe it, it won´t ever happen. So having done 7a+ on a third redpoint, I thought that maybe Dave´s suggestion of 7b wasn´t so unrealistic after all. We had several discussions over which route to try and concluded that Gurungos, on Campi qui Puigi at Siurana was probably best, despite the comments about it in the Rockfax guide ("not one for the nervous..." - ha ha ha!). Granted, it seems to be (by concensus, not by me!) hard 7b, but having worked the moves, taken 7 falls off the crux move whilst just doing bolt-to-bolt, it went second redpoint on Tuesday.
Tea - makes you strong!

Pulling the top rope

Clipping the first clip - a boulder problem start on very sharp crimps

Since we were leaving Siurana on Wednesday, I really didn´t want to leave it unfinished, so on Tuesday Campi qui Puigi was Last Chance Saloon. It´s a long route, 27m, with a fingertip-scraping bouldery start, followed by a short easy section to the bottom of a flat vertical wall with small crimps (crux). Above that is a small overhang with some good holds and a bolt above. The top section is supposed to be easy, but frankly, holding it together up there was almost as hard as the crux. The sequence on the top section is not obvious, and I did it a different way every time. The big holds appear to be spread liberally across a rough, sharp and bumpy expanse of blankness, with the odd small, not-so-good hold hiding away. Fortunately, my pixie-sized fingers were able to make use of the small holds to get me across the blank expanses between the good holds! Phew!

Flying lessons off 7b...that's a screaming face not a laughing face

Some cunning redpoint tactics included a down climb to a ledge from the clip before the crux. First redpoint went well: up to the 4th clip and then down climb to the ledge, long rest ("look mummy, no hands!"). But then the crux move went a bit wrong, and ended in a proper scream several feet lower than where I wanted to be.

The crux move - catching the tiny triangle with one finger

It´s awkward to catch a tiny sloping triangular crimp with one finger, nudge a second finger onto it, and then pull hard. I needed to lunge for this one off a small left hand crimp (sorry, that´s a terrible word but I can´t think of a better one - that´s how it felt anyway!) because it was a long way up. Apparently tall people keep their feet much lower on better holds, but that just wasn't an option for me. Second redpoint nearly went wrong when I almost forgot to put my right foot out on the small smear in order to reach up for the aforementioned sloping crimp. There is always that little bit of amazement when a hard move like that is successful. I almost didn´t know what to do next. I guess that´s where the "practice" kicks in.

Then you get both hands on this big ledge...

...and shake out above the crux

Top out - higher than 27 metres will ever get you!

Thanks to Dave and Caroline for patient belaying, to Dave for the loan of his psyche and to Diff and Dave for the pictures. I had a brilliant week with you all and the climbing doesn't get much better than this for me!

Now we are on the final leg of our trip, on the Costa Blanca, there is still time for my "7c by Christmas" pipe dream to become reality. I think it's unlikely, but you never know until you try...

1 comment:

Dave Redpath said...

Nice one Emma, didn't manage to finish that one myself! :)