Friday, August 29, 2008

All business . . .

All business . . .

Rodellar has truly pushed my climbing up.  I feel I've never climbed so much in a day anywhere else than on it's cliffs.  My fingers got bruised and I ripped some skin off and my rest days was reduced to just one over the ten days I was there.  Everyday was a hard day in Rodellar. 

The many people who climb there inspires me.  Fatima finished her project, a bouldery 7a+ and she continued to push harder on some 7b's,  Tita, a late-50's, lady climbs 8a's on "La Surgencia", a very steep cliff sector, then a strong spanish climber with one leg climbs on "Gran Boveda", and finally a huge family with 6 children with the oldest being 12 and the youngest being 5 all climbing 7a+.  Then there's also Dalia Ojeda.  She is so pretty and strong.  Anyone who sees her will surely be inspired!

I tried as hard as I could on my project.  Fatima and I even went on to sacrifice a day in Barcelona just for one more day at the crag.  In the end though I left "Familia Manson" still a project for me.  It could have been better but I'm glad I tired.  I think I fell on it 17 times.  I got way past the crux but carrying the pump all the way to the anchors proved to be another difficult task.  I kept falling 2 moves from the anchor.  I'm sure to think about it in days to come.  This will indeed be a very special route for me.  Even though I've left it behind, I'm carrying with me a high regard for it and maybe if given the opportunity, will surely come back and try it again.
I've barely touched what Rodellar has to offer.  It's cliffs are varied and every sector requires a different climbing style.  It's a strange feeling, leaving something behind just as soon as you're getting to know it.  Ten days isn't enough to fully develop a keen sense of familiarity and comfort with the rocks on its many sectors.  I don't know for sure when will be the next time I will be there or even if there will be a next time.  It feels sad but I think the future would hold new things for me.  I have 1 more week of climbing here in Italy and I feel more motivated than ever. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

8a, 8a+ and flappers

8a, 8a+ and flappers

After 6 tries over 3 days I´ve finally made progress on my first 8a in Rodellar.  It feels like breaking through a boundary. It definitely feels good.  What´s even amazing is that it came at a time when it was just a climb and nothing more.  I simply enjoyed it and as soon as I came down from it I immediately felt sad it was over.  The trying presented more meaning than the end itself.  

The 8a+ however felt different.  I´ve still to try it today.  I´ve been falling on it 9 times already and on my last good effort, ripped some skin off.  I have a huge flapper on my middle finger and it is deeper than any I´ve had.  Though it´s still painful and raw I will still try the route today.  Whatever happens will be acceptable at this point. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008



My one night in Barcelona was quite "romantic",  I found myself wandering off in medieval alleys in the old city.  La Rambla in itself is a feast for the eyes.  Sagrada de familia is still being constructed.  One poster says it´s completion in 2020.  Who knows really.  My one night in this backpacker´s inn had me sharing good conversation with two lovely Italians over the balcony of our room while also watching the dim streets become empty. 

The drive to Rodellar was a difficult one.  The long drive on the Autovia alone is definietly a crux.  The high cost of the car rent had me very carefull of the driving.  I did manage to hack in 155km/hr.  The car is a small Citroen car but as small at it is, it was just powerful!

Yes, Rodellar!  It is indeed a wonder!  The caves upon which the routes are bolted on are gigantic.  Routes are severely overhangging and the lengths go up to 40m and up.

I´m back at a relatively  familiar comfort zone.  I´m with Shane and Oscar and they have been truly kind and graciuos.  I´m treated every night to a pasta dinner at camp and a huge blowout with paella at the bar last night.  Sangria is the drink of choice and I find it truly lovely.

The grades in Rodellar, I think is softer, than Ceuse.  I´ve been onsighting 7b´s here and have jumped on two 8a´s already.  I´ve had the opportunity to be belayed by a very patient Shane and Oscar.  One of these routes I´ve tried and fallen off already 3 times and have come to be quite attatched to it.  I think I will work on it more.  I´m pushing it here but my body is becoming tired everyday.  I hope I can manage to hang on for a bit more longer. 

Dany Andrada was at the bar last night and I also saw Pablo Barbero at the cliffs.  Hope to see them climbing some more to get a dose of inspiration. 

Well, more days in Rodellar would present me some more possibilitites.  I´m excited for each day.  I wonder what will happen today:

Sunday, August 17, 2008



Hola!  It´s no use for me now remembering what day it is so I think it´s best I change the headings on this blog.  I´m in Barcelona for a night before heading out to Rodellar.  The car hire office is closed on Sundays so I think it´s a good enough reason  to check out the local scene.  I´m at a backpacker´s inn and its so cool here!  Hope my room mates are o.k. Haven´t seen them yet.  I´ll go down La Rambla later and have a cerveza!

Well, Ceuse was a blast!  I can´t explain how much it has given me.  New friends, new highs, new´s just so enormous.  I finished "La Privilege du Serpent" in plenty of time to enjoy the other routes.  It took me 8 tries to finish it.  It felt good and I hope i could push myself even further in Rodellar.  The last day at Ceuse was probably the best.  I was climbing without thinking of finishing anything.  The day started with me falling on the 2nd clip of a 6c+.  Then a flash for "Super Mickey" a 7b, I think, and then just before leaving an onsight of "Vagabond" a 7c.  Finishing "La Privilege Du Serpent" was definitely harder and fulfilling for me but the onsight of "Vagabond" was more delightful.  I wasn´t thinking of finsihing it one go but it eventually did.  It feels so grand.  Grades at Ceuse are meaningless.  The variety of climbing will eventually reveal to you your weaknesses and strengths.  Sometimes there are routes which are graded higher which I feel are easier.  I´m weak on slabs in Ceuse.  The overhanging routes feel easier for me.  I did enjoy climbing on the slabs and for me has taught me good lessons but playing on my stregnths felt so natural.

I will miss Ceuse and I hope to visit it again.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day ?

Day ?

Viola!  Am in Gap, an hour away from Ceuse.  I don't exactly know what day it is now.  I lost count already.   It rained today at 1:30 p.m. I'm glad I woke up early today to do some more climbing at the Cascade area.  It is in the shade only in the morning and so it's a must to go up the cliff while it's still cool.  I've been hiking up that cliff for three days now and everyday seems to present new things for me.  I'm also constantly changing climbing partners as most of them leave or have another schedule to keep.  It's interesting to be with different people.  Sm still so stoked by all of this. 

Yesterday we went almost the whole length of Ceuse.  From the overhangging cliffs of the Cascade area, to Biographie and the Demi Lune.  Realization is indeed an inspiring route.  I think the start isn't at all impossible.  Given time I think some pinoyclimber could take up the task.  To do it though would take a lot of patience and hard work.

Also I was able to watch this lovely french climber hike up a technical route.  She is so hot!  Reminds me of a friend but my friend is lovelier for sure!  Hehehe...   it's only today that I saw her picture in a climbing magazine.  Turns out she is a star here and is a sponsored climber. 
Tres bien …

I've been falling off "Le previlage ..."  for 5 times now.  The route is a dynamic one.  Holds are quite massive but far apart.  The crux is at the very top and so it has a very mental aspect for me.  I'm already familiar with all the moves and all of the different pumps on it.  Resting before the crux move isn't at all restfull for me and as soon as I leave for the crux I can almost feel the pump surging back fast. 

I've also tried some slabs and to be honest they scare me more.  The long runs for the bolts go up to 3 meters and some routes sometimes 4 meters.  I don't mind falling on an overhangging route but the thought of falling on a slab is quite nerve wracking.  Still though I try everything and for every one route I finish brings me closer to facing more and more of my weaknesses.

It's amazing here in Ceuse. It is truly overwhelming.  At first it shrinks you and then the next, it presents you itself in a very opposite way.  It welcomes you and draws you closer to itself and makes you want to come back.  The cold 1 hour hikes to the cliff is tiring but once you're there its always a grand feeling.  The people at the cliff become friends and the feeling of being alone is replaced with closeness.  Words can't fully cover the meaning of climbing in Ceuse. 

Well, I have to go.  My friend is waiting for me at the town center.  It's easy to get rides here. Just be friends with everyone and for sure you'll get the right ride on the right time.  
Ciao!  Au revoir!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 10

Day 10

Rest day today, well almost.  I'm still thinking of climbing something easy today or maybe not so easy...  Orpierre has been truly great.  It is truly a perfect place to start your first climbing trip to Europe or to France.  It is very comfortable. Everything is so close; the post office, the internet at the tourst office, a swimming pool for a hot day and a good bar to go to after a long day at the cliffs.

My time here is done and tomorrow i'll be off to Ceuse.  I've done with whatever I started out to do, Meme Pas Mal is a classic 7c after all and it felt really good.  Bookarai Banzai an 8a is also a fantstic route and though I only linked its moves, felt not so difficult.  Its unfortumate my time with it is not enough.  I did one try on it just before the day ended just as it was getting dark.  Im sure though that Ceuse will have more routes to be amazed on.  Whats difficult might be getting up from sleep and hiking up the cliff for an hour or so. 

Well,  the line here for the internet is quite long.  Theres only one terminal and so I have to end quickly. 

Au revoir!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 9

Je voudrais une amie francais !  Hahaha ... You should try it in a bar here and make sure all the nice girls hear it.

My circle of friends has been slowly getting bigger.  It's nice to finally know almost everyone at the crag.  I'm not wandering off to any other sector so it's basically the same people everyday.  Some new pretty ones too sometimes ... the pretty strong, the pretty huge and the pretty cute ...  hehehe.  The Cheateu area to me is the nicest.  There are good warm-ups and lots of possible projects, the hardest of which is this 8c "Mission Impossible".  It is interesting but hasn't drawn my interest just yet.  There is a lot to do and I'm still working my way up, but maybe today do "Meme Pas Mal" and then move on to the more really harder routes and see what happens.

I'm in the company of some really strong climbers and it's so easy to get carried away with the energy.  Climbing and pushing yourself hard here is the norm and its difficult sometimes to stretch on the energy to last the day, but its fun, so much fun!

Ajhourd'hui, nous envoyer!

Day 8

Day 8

Bonjour ! ça va ! Aujourd'hui, senti superb ! C'est mieux, I am beginning to get used to the climbing here.  The pain in the finger tips has begun to be tolerable and the height of the routes is becoming common to me.  I'm slowly making my way up the difficulty of the  climbs and no longer hesitant in taking long falls.  There's a route now I've come to be attached with, "Meme Pas Mal". I've tried it three times now and close to finishing. Its very consistent all thoughout and has managed to make me grunt on its many moves.  I think though what kept me from doing it is the thought of finishing it insteqd of just doing it.  It always creeps out when you don't want it to and that's when you're two moves away from finishing. Hope tomorrow comes naturally for me.

Tres Bien …

The beginning of the day was enchanting too.  Sent some postcards and am happy to say, managed to speak some french. Although I did speak it and got to let the lady know what I needed to do, I didn't understood a word she said afterwards.  The postcards got stamped and am happy to get a few lovely smiles from the people lining up behind me.  Specially from une fille boucoupe jolie et boucoupe adorable en bureau de poste, mais ma français est faible et brouillé...oh well...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 4

Day 4

ça va ! Bonjour!  Je suis a droit, a gouche, Orpierre, Laragne, Sisteron, Gap, Grenoble. Boucoup adorable! Its been a very lovely 4 days now!  Je un amie adorable boucoup!  Hehehe.  Just kidding! 

The routes are long and pumpy.  I'm not far from my comfort zone just yet, though I've awakened with sore muscles with just two days of climbing.  Today is my third day of climbing with my rest day just yesterday.  My skin have grown quite a bit and so I might try and push myself today but nothing too far from what is to me something that would come naturally. 

I'm climbing with a Belgian guy, Fredrick, and we always meet up at the cliffs.  He's like 6 foot tall and so there is quite a difference in climbing style.  Slowly I hope my fingers would be able to last longer on the crimps.  The harder routes aren't so forgiving. 

As for  the house, I'm living with two old Polish guys who are working on Stash's house.  Stash has left for Poland and I'm left with his uncle and friend who don't speak a word of english.  I'm left with a book on polish and have learned "dobry" which means "good" and "jutro" which means "tomorrow" which I always use to fend of consecutive shots of vodka! I did some work on the house yesterday.  Did some shovelling to help out in building the house. 

Au revoir!