Rodellar 2010 - Trip Report 3 (Bikini, El Delfin, La Fuente, Criminal Tango)

Ahh, the infamous rest day. Kirsty, May and Kirill had heard about a nice day hike. Just a few hours. Good-o. See ya guys, have a nice walk. Seven hours later, three broken bodies trudge up the stairs of the Upskill apartment with tales of endless scree slopes and spiky bushes. Glad I stayed at home. Must say, I'm not a fan of hiking unless it leads to a supercrag. Here's a couple pics from the adventure...

Kirill points the way
Walking the endless ridgeline
The next morning was a crisp one, and saw us down on Bikini sector by the river for our warm-ups. Routes to go down included Bikini, Para Ti and El Guitarrista, all 6a (18). The sector has a bit of polish, but some of the routes on the right side of the wall are the coolest easy routes around featuring deeply incut letterbox pockets.

Kirill dispatches the namesake of the sector, Bikini 6a (18)
Earlier in the morning, our group discussion had centered around redpoint headspace versus onsight headspace and why falling is vital to improvement in sport climbing. The afternoon therefore was PROJECT TIME!!, so we headed up to the famous arch, El Delfin. Kirill had been studying the guidebook and had picked a likely looking project (El Gatera 7a/23) which started on one side of the arch and climbed through to the other side. Wow!

The namesake of the sector, El Delfin 7c+ (28). I had a quick flash attempt and fell on the final moves. Darn!
Kirill was psyched for La Gatera 7a (23), so started up and made it about four bolts into the overhanging, traversing arch before succumming to the pump. Switching to redpoint mode (i.e. learning and refining), he managed to go bolt to bolt and put all of the gear on. That's what you want on your first shot. Get the gear on, find the rests, learn the route.

Kirsty was also psyched for steep tufas so got on for a lash, working out most of the route except the weird and awkward exit moves through a slot. It's weird, you'll have to look at the pic.

La Gatera 7a (23). Kirill climbing. Photo approved clothing FAIL.
The route climbs through the slot you can see at the top of the roof.
A couple of burns were had by the two K's, and it was up to me to retrieve the draws. Chop chop draw monkey! The initial section was fine until I reached the slot. There, regardless of my kneebar ability, I could find no truly elegant solution. But I was not falling off a 7a in front of the team. Solution? Burrow and grunt. Helmet jam, arm-bar, chimney, knees, it was all happening. I reverted to a trad-climbing troglodyte. It was ugly. I defy someone to show me an easy and elegant way to climb that slot! At least I provided ample entertainment for the crew. Deary me! :)

While all that was happening, Sam and May were sampling the more sane 6a to 6b routes on the other side of the arch.

May on the strangely graded 6a/b route which traverses the edge of Delfin arch.
Day six of climbing began with a discussion of the effect of anxiety in climbing, strategies to control it, and the importance of building mental toughness. The group was keen to revisit some routes which had proved a challenge on day one, a week prior. So we blitzed down to La Fuente and where, after some warm-ups, the sendage commenced.

May cleaned up her earlier proj La Raton 6a+ (19)
"I've made more progress in the last couple of days than I have in the last couple of years!"
Kirsty techs out the blank crux section of El Raton 6a+ (19) for the tick. Bueno
El Raton 6a+ (19) is a great technical wall climb where the crux involves commiting the feet to terrible, polished smears while the hands paw at poor pockets, all the while edging upwards to a distant good sidepull. Owing to how insecure it feels, it's a commiting lead! Hats off to the girls who fired it with confidence.

Kirill cleaned up the Unnamed 6b+ (21) which Kirsty also cleanly led. This route has a steepening section using opposing sidepulls, so you need to have good body position to make it work. Foot placement is key. Great to see such success on this. Before leaving the area, Kirill sussed the beta, and then ticked off La Maldicion 6b (20) on Furia Latina. Great morning all round!

After lunch by the water and scene of Kirill's DWS traverse (dissapointingly without splashdown), we shot up to Criminal Tango. This sector hosts the most popular 6b+ (21) in Rodellar and after looking at Roxy la Palmera it's not hard to see why. This is the biggest tufa ride at the grade in Rodellar. Overhanging, huge holds and crazy 3D climbing. The top section has a single, huge tufa which sits about two feet proud of the wall like a giant Amazonian boa-constrictor. The best way to climb this is to throw a leg over and slap your way up it while yelling "YEEHAR!!!"

Kirill was going well on the onsight when he hit the big snake up top. As he edged up the fearsome beast he started shaking. It's runout up there, especially from the last bolt to the anchors. "Watch him May, here we go." I could see the possibility for a huge winger. Kirill was gibbering and you could just tell how pumped he was laying off and trying to get into a position to clip the anchors, about five metres out from the last bolt. Just when I thought he was off for sure, he transferred from the straddle position to the left side of the tufa and jammed his whole body against it for a rest. YES!! Pull rope, clip, collapse. Awesome!

Kirill firing in the clip on the lower section of Roxy la Palmera 6b+ (21) on his successful onsight.
Time for some R+R for the team. Three more climbing days remain. Limestone - be afraid!

La Raton 6a+ (19)
La Raton 6a+ (19)