Monday, September 28, 2009

Now we have FASTER WIFI

We moved on from Rodellar and are now in a small town outside of Barcelona for a couple of nights before we fly out. The hotel we are is is an old castle that has been redone in a very modern way. The building was first built in 801 AD so there is quite the contrast with the modern art and furniture that is about.
I have no idea what is going on with the underlining.

The hotel has faster wifi that the Albergue did so I've loaded a bunch of photo that I'd meant to previously.

Here is a shot of someone on El Delfin in Las Vetanas.

Ah, the choices you have to make when in Europe, wine, climb, or chocolate yummyness.
Claude, Dylan and I in front of the castle at Alquezar.
Steve McClure, Mr 5.15a and 5.14 on-sight warming up on Toma Costanazo.
Dylan hanging out below the Aquest Any Si cliff, this cliff had the best spot for him to hang out so we spent an inordinate amount of time here. Linda even sent the cliffs namesake route, Aquest Any Si which is 5.12c after 5 tries. Way to go Linda, her hardest send to date.
Cobbled surface on the bridge at El Puente.
More to come tomorrow hopefully. We will be heading to Barcelona for the day. See so of you soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Resting and Stuff

Fig trees everywhere,
Toads on the road,
sweet wines
Sore skin and toes
Rest day time

The first of our 2 climbing days was good, I'd hung the draws on a 5.13d on our previous climbing day and managed to send the route, Claude tried a 5.13 that looked pretty good but decided he did not like it so much. Linda lead another 5.11+.

The second climbing day was pretty much junk for Claude and I. We are both feeling the effects of not having enough time to rest and at this point with so few days left it is unlikely that we will take the extra rest days needed since that would mean that we just stop climbing for the rest of the trip. Linda however got on a 5.12c on lead and did all the moves just fine with only a couple of hangs to work sections out. I think she can do it and so does she so we left draws up on that route, so that will be our focus on our next day out.

Dylan is learning to say please when he wants something, a little word that the school Claude works at pushes. He also said "Sorry Daddy" when he head butted my glasses by accident, so he is learning some nice things on the trip. His second 2 year molar is coming in and his third looks like itis about to break skin. We got some steroid cream for his rash, similar to hydrocortizon cream and that is pretty much gone and he seems sooo strong not, maybe I used a little too much... not really.

Sorry about the lack of pictures last time, they had been loading for an hour and were not done yet so I was over it, our wi-fi is incredibly slow though I think it is as much the computer since the others that have stayed here have had no issue with it. OK battery is dying so enough for now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Three days on

Three days on. Pretty painful on the body and the skin. Our last rest day when we were doing laundry we checked out the bridge at El Puente, here is a shot of the bridge and the surface, talk about cobblestones.

There are so many strong climbers here. Steve McClure from the UK was out for a week. Trying to on-sight 8c or 5.14b. Only maybe 5-10 climbers in the world have on-sighted that grade. Here is a shot of him warming up on Toma Castanazo which is a great route that Claude and I have done during our stay. There is a couple from Italy/Chex where the girl climbs 5.13 and the guy is on-sighting every 5.13b and several 5.13c's. I have not seen him fall yet.

Also here is a shot of La Surgencia which is an incredible cliff. The "small" grey wall on the left is actually 100' tall. The routes in the central cave are 40m meter pitches or about 140 feet, huge.

Today, Linda and I climbed, Claude took the day off for the most part, after one route he decided that he was too tired to keep climbing and so he will get two days in a row off. I'm starting to think that he had the right idea. Though I did have a good day of climbing, doing a 5.12c, a 5.12d and on-sighting 2 5.13a's.

Linda may have found a project that is solid 5.12. Yesterday she did a second 5.12a very quickly, this time on lead the first time.

Claude has been climbing pretty well. Flashing 5.12+ on most days.

We have a rest day tomorrow then 4 days of climbing out of the following 5. Then we will head into Barcelona for a couple of days before heading home.

Dylan has been having some sort of skin/allergy issues and today I went to the farmacia to get some cortizon cream for him. So hopefully things get better in the next day or so. In the past when we have used this sort of cream improvements have come pretty quick.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ahh Weather

Today we took a semi forced rest day. It rained a lot last night and quite a bit this morning. We were planning on climbing but motivation was low so Linda and Claude stayed at the Albergue with Dylan and I went for a hike around the canyon to look at some of the walls we have not gotten to yet. There were a handful of people out climbing but nowhere near as many as on the previous days.

On our last day of climbing Linda sent her 5.12a that she had done on TR. Claude did a 5.12 and the extention to that route which was 5.12+ and I on-sighted a 5.13a and a 5.13b. Here is a shot of the 5.13a, called El Delfin. It climbs a cool feature and because of this is considered classic, but it is really sharp and overated as far a quality goes IMO. There is a climber on it in this image that I took today while out walking.

Here is a shot of Dylan hanging out by the river while Claude and I were up at El Delfin and the other routes in the area. The routes that Claude and I did were in an area called Las Ventanas, "the windows" where there are 2 arches and a big steep wall to their left. The routes in the arches are on pretty fractured rock and in some cases it is a wonder that the holds don't pull off the wall. The steep wall to the left however is really cool, the further left you go the better it gets. Claude did La Cena de Isodoro which follows an angling crack through the overhang that is dripping with tuffas and the extention adds another 20 feet on top that climbs 2 tuffas that join up near the anchors. The 5.13b that I did was further left up a blunt arete and called A Cravita, which is supposed to be the classic 8a at Rodellar. It was really good to say the least. Fun tuffa climbing to start then a little boulder problem over a roof to some more tuffas, a jump move to a good hold then flat to sloping holds the rest of the way to the anchor and past, I did not clip them till they were at my waist.

The whole day has been spent basically indoors, though it means that Dylan got a nap today, something that only happens on rest and travel days. Because of this he has been pretty good all day...until he fell down the stairs in the Albergue...which was pretty spectacular, took a couple of complete rolls, Linda was sitting at the bottom talking to the caretaker and turned as he got to her and grabbed him...He is fine, but with a couple of nice bumps on his head to show for his efforts. Maybe I'll get a picture of his OWWIES for everyone to share in his pain.

And here is a video of Dylan eating cereal when we were staying at the refugio at outside of Montgrony. I hope you enjoy it because it took something something like 3 hours to load over the free wi-fi at the Albergue, so I will probably not be posting any more videos.

Also Happy Birthday's go out to Melissa "MEL" Anrig and Scotty B.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pictures This Time

Linda climbing Vitage a Venus @ MontgronyDylan helping to belay Linda, notice there is no way that he is letting go of that brake end, he needs to work on giving slack though.
Dylan double fisting a sausage sandwich at the train station in Girona.
A shot of the Grand Boveda @ Rodellar, this cliff has about 40 routes from 20m at the left end to 30m in the middle and 40m in the right hand cave. Very impressive wall and everything looks great, although kind of intimidating.

We are taking our first rest day in Rodellar, so we headed to the nearest bigger town, Barbastro to do some grocery shopping then to one of the "camping" areas to do laundry, 4 euros a load, pretty expensive. The climbing here is prett incredible, the rock is very featured making steep climbs relatively easy.

Linda has done a 5.12a on her second try, though on TR so she will try to lead it, maybe tomorrow.

Claude has on-sighted a few 5.12's and done a couple of 5.12+ on his second try, but is close to doing some harder stuff as well.

I have on-sighted a 5.13a and flashed two 5.13b's so far in the two days that we have been here. My thumb was a bit sore though after the second day, so I will be spending some quality time with a bag of frozen spinach tonight.

Given how beautiful the area is, it is really a shame as to how poorly it is treated. If you go anywhere off of the trail, and most of the time this means just feet since there is a ton of undergrowth that is spiny and viscious, you will find that people have used the bathroom, and not just to wizz. I don't remember it being so bad back in 2001 when Linda and I came to Europe. It seems as though some facilities in the canyon would be nice or at least near the trail head.

Our intro to Rodellar was pretty rough. We headed to the popular warm up wall and Linda got on a route. She was only at the first bolt when I heard a scream and a really loud thud, I was further away watching Dylan at the time. Apparently a belayer was looking down while holding the GriGri open when the climber fell. They hit the ground from maybe 40 feet and definately broke an ankle or more. The Guardia Civil flew a chopper in and dropped a medical team and a trail guy without touching down. Then came back and with military precision loaded and were ontheir way in about 15 seconds. The drop off took significantly longer. Needless to say, Linda has been a little spooked and Claude and I will not let anyone outside of our group belay us. If you look around it seems as though every other person you see belaying is doing it flat out wrong.

It is going to be difficult to get climbing shots here since we only have one rope and the routes are pretty big. We climbed at a cliff called Pince Sans Rire yesterday and we did 3 routes that were 30 meter or longer. It rained several times during the afternoon and it was no issue as the wall overhung 20-50 feet so it was easy to stay dry.

More to come.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On to Rodellar

Just a quick post.

We spent a few days climbing at an area called Montgrony which was pretty amazing, tuffa climbing, unlike anything back in the states. t was good to spend some time getting used to the style of climbing that is what we expect out here. We stayed at a refigio at the top of Col de Morlla (sp?) and every morning we would sit outside after breakfast watching Dylan play with the other kids that were staying there with their families and see several bikes go by, just thinking that my parents would have had a good time out there, even saw a tandem go by. The cliffs at Montgrony are on either side of a Sanctuario (monastary) and the approaches are great, zero minutes.

Battery is dying on the computer so...

Happy birthday to Grandma Brinckerhoff, Trinty Eckstien both September 11th and Linda's father which is on the 15th or so he claims it varies because of the Chinese calendar. More to come latter with pictures.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Headed to Barcelona for the Day

Dylan´s first ride on the metro, gotta hold on.
Signatures in the mens room at the climbing gym.
Grafitti on the walls in Barcelona, this one is for my mom.

This morning both Claude and I slept in and Linda and Dylan went for a walk in the morning around town. Once everyone was properly motivated we headed out at about 12:30 and grabbed some lunch on our way to the train station here in Girona, about a 15 minute walk. We caught the train to Barcelona and headed for the biggest climbing gym in the city to get some guide books for our next couple of stops. The gym was pretty tiny but the facilities are pretty nice. Apparently they hold a big competition every year and so many of the top climbers from around the country and onesthat are in the country stop by and climb or compete. Some of the lockers had these climbers signatures and dates.

After the gym, Claude headed to the modern art museum while Dylan, Linda and I headed for La Rambla so Dylan could watch the street performers. We saw a guys that was really good with a soccer ball doing a juggling act that Dylan and I were impressed by. The other highlight was the guy doing big, bigger that most of the children around, bubbles. I was surprised because a lot of the ¨performers¨were actually doing nothing, just dressed wierd to pose and take a photo with people.

We all ended up catching the same 8:15 train back to Girona and while Dylan was getting fussy he managed to stay up till we got home so he could have a bath. A fun day though the 12 euro price per train ticket to go to Barcelona means that it may have been cheaper to drive. OH and the 6 euro price for the 7up I got with dinner at a resturant on La Rambla was rediculous.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Off To Spain

As many of you know we headed to Spain recently for Linda´s sabbatical. We met up with Matt to take us to the airport in the morning then stopped by ¨Mista¨ Claude´s place to have him join us. The flight to Atlanta wet smoothly, though Dylan did complain durring the landing that his ears hurt, but at least he was able to tell us. The layover in Atlanta was pretty long, 4+ hours which was maybe a little much. Then it was onto Barcelona which was a 9 hour flight and Dylan was trooper, he did really well, he fought taking a nap but eventually we got him to go down for a couple of hours. After that though once he awoke he was a handfull, luckily we only had a couple of hours left at that point.

Once in Barcelona we got our rental car, I´m glad we opted for the small station wagon.
Dylan naturally napped the entire way to Girona where the family that Claude stayed with while teaching lives. Upon arriving we pretty much ploped down and vegged out. We had a quiet restful night, followed by a lazy morning.

About 1 in the afternoon we headed out to climb at an area called Sederrna about 45 minutes away. It is a really pretty canyon with swimming holes and limestone cliffs on either sided. We headed for a cliff with 4 routes, 2 5.11´s and 2 5.12´s, Claude and I did all 4, though Claude fell on one of the 5.11´s and I took on one of the 5.12´s while Linda climbed on 3 of the routes. Dylan had a blast hangin out by some of the pools near the base of the wall, throwing rocks in and looking at the fish.
Then we headed to another wall that Claude had wanted to climb at before but lacked the fitness for since he was focused on teaching at the time and had not climbed in almost a year. It was a nice steep wall from 40-60 feet tall and the easiest routes were 5.12c. Being jet lagged and all we got on one of them. Claude nearly on-sighted it, then I flashed it and Claude gave it another good go but ended up falling near the top again. The holds and some of the movement reminded me of The Beast at Rifle, CO. All in all it was a good day out and everyone had a good time, even if it did not really show since at the end of the day we were all exausted from the previous day still.