Monday, 3 December 2007

Oranges and Lemsip

We're now at the Orange House, on the Costa Blanca, a lovely spot and a haven of Britishness amidst the happy-go-lucky chaos that is Spain. It's warm and sunny, although the evenings are chilly (but not as chilly as Siurana). We've spent a couple of days being anti-social and sitting outside because when we arrived the Orange House was infested with the lurgey. Fortunately, the affected (and infected) inhabitants have now either departed(!) or recovered (natural selection, I guess) and we are now able to enjoy sitting inside in the warmth!

The climbing here is very different from Siurana - so far, we've only climbed at Sella on grey slabby limestone, with lots of water pockets to tuck fingers and toes into. This is very sore on toes, but very good for those of us with pixie fingers! There are many more routes showing polish than at Siurana, and Sella is much busier than Siruana. We had become accustomed to having the crag to ourselves, and there is a little bit of me which is slightly put out to find that the 10 routes on either side of us are all occupied, and (heaven forbid!) all by Brits! Having said that, it's a nice change being able to chat to everyone without feeling embarrassed at my appalling Spanish language skills. We have many more places to explore here, with many different colours of limestone. The grading definitely seems slightly softer here than at Siurana, although it's difficult to compare them since the climbing (in our grand 3 days' experience) is very different.

The good news is that Caroline has now flashed her first 6b. The bad news is that my faithful shoes have finally gone through at the toes. I hope they will last another 3 weeks, although I have visions of tiny blisters on the ends of my big toes (which has happened before). Maybe we will have to go shopping! (We haven't done that in a while!!) I've lost a lot of psyche after a superb final week in Siurana but Caroline seems to be compensating for this more than adequately. She's definitely on a roll, and we will have her redpointing 7a before she can count 30 elephants. We have some new friends here, Victoria and Paul, who have also achieved personal bests in the last 3 days. (Thanks for the use of your laptop, Paul!). Will has also achieved a personal best today.

Caroline attempting to onsight 7a - La Cosa - only the crux defeated her

I had a bizarre experience yesterday. During a failed attempt to onsight 6c (Dingo Boingo), I heard a voice calling my name from the other side of the valley: Emma! Hello? Who's that? Gary. Gary who? Gary Jones. I nearly fell off with surprise! Fortunately (for me and Caroline) I didn't fall off, but I did bail on the route early because a) it was hard b) it was very hot and my fingers were very sweaty and c) the conversation on the ground below me was more interesting than tiny water pockets above me. Gary and Cristina - lovely to see you both and thanks for the treats! Cristina, I hope you get many happy hours of climbing from your new shoes! It's all here waiting for you...

We're looking forward very much to all our visitors next week. Anyone else want to join us? The more the merrier!

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