Day seven of climbing. This aint some namby-pamby climbing camp where you do five days of climbing. You barely get used to the rock on a five day trip. Not only that, because it's five days, you don't want to rest, so you peak on day two, and then get more and more tired and your climbing generally gets worse as the trip progresses. Nooo! Our Upskill camps go for two weeks, with rest scheduled so you can actually keep improving and climbing 100% for the whole time.
The morning of day seven was spent at our now familiar haunt of El Camino where we all had projects, and a lot more routes to tick. At the start of the trip, Bugs Bunny 6a+ (19) was a project for everyone. Today - a warm up lap route. There's big changes evident in everyone's climbing. A lot more confidence. After warm up's, Kirsty and Sam traded burn for burn on their joint project Futuras Promesas 6c (22). Sam is looking pretty close, falling at the second last bolt. Kirsty was also looking solid until managing to open a couple of deep holes in her fingers. She's pretty tough though and doesn't seem too phased.
|The coach's couch.|
The uber arch of El Delfin played host to the afternoon's festivities. We'd been here before and there was unfinshed business.
May had a date with the unnamed 6a+ (19) on the left side of the arch. It's got a tricky long move off a half pad undercling pinch. Great for someone of May's diminuitive stature! She fired that move, and hesitantly moved into the runout section above. Every move she made upwards, I knew she was thinking about the increasing size of the potential fall. By the time she got to the next bolt she was shaking. She got the quickdraw on the bolt, hesitated, grabbed a hold out left, then immediately the hand snapped back like a snake and grabbed the quickdraw - then immediately let go! But the damage was done. She was rattled and knew she'd fluffed it with the almost unconcious grab of the draw. Oh well! We can't be perfect all the time. Mental toughness takes time to build.
Kirsty was inspired by the route too and managed to read the crux well and make it through, only to fall on the easier but pumpier climbing above. Second go, she nailed it.
Kirill had a good afternoon. There's an imposing route which traverses the vertical to slightly overhanging wall above the arch in a curving line. It's graded weirdly - 6a/b (18/20). Why not just call it 19? Anyhoo, cool line no doubt. On his first shot, he pumped off a long reach move, but had no such issues on the second try.
|Kirill celebrates his send! :)|
After a small break to let the pump subside, he managed to flash the varied wall route on the right of the arch Tu aqui no has venido a escalar 6b+ (21) (translation: You have not come here to climb). That right there is another equal hardest flash. Sweet! Kirsty managed a one hang of the same route. It'll go!
And on the eighth day, they awoke and God said "Let them be tired". And they were. No rest for the wicked though (until the rest day), so we ambled off to a new sector L'Ecole (School) which hosts some pretty good slabby warm-ups graded in the 5-6a (16-18) bracket. Perfect to stretch out tired muscles.
We picked side by side routes which happened to share the top couple of bolts and anchor, so we had a series of "race to the chains" events where the climbers would battle it out up the routes and whoever got to the top steep section first would get right of way and the other person would have to wait. The highlight was May flashing the L'Ecole A 6a (18) which is her first flash of that grade. Tidy!
Over breakfast, we'd had a group discussion about steep rock tactics. You know the stuff - creative resting, pacing, body positions. So it was only right that the arvo was spent at Pince Sans Rire where all the routes on offer tilt the climber back. Steepness baby!
|May on Ciao Bambino 6b (20)|
|Kirill making his arms not work.|
|Not one to shirk work, I do some training laps at the cliff.|