Dave Graham - Pro Blog 6

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Cornudella de Mont Sant, November 27, 2006

I Want to be a Maquina

Oh Man! I am really, really sore!!!!! Things have been really rough. I have been working harder then ever in my life. Trying so hard I crumple into a ball and can’t move, every once and a while. Why is this happening? What is going on?

HA HA!

I am trying to get stronger! I want resistencia, continuadat, and even more so, pura fuerza. I want to be a Maquina, and for the last 16 days, and for the next however many months it takes, I will be trying as hard as a 25-year old can without getting injured. I will reach my goal. No more muscolos piqanos, soon, fuerza naturale!

The weather has been perfect, only a tiny bit of rain when I arrived, and the crags are more or less dry. I am staying in Cornudella de Mont Sant. A sick view, great group of locals, and one of the few climber-dominated villages I can think of on the planet. Here its the center of a valley, a town lying in between the massif of Mont Sant, and the butte-like structures of Siurana. The two extreme cliff structures play nicely with each other. Mont Sant is covered with towering pillars, usually in the shape of horizontal bands. The blue and white conglomerate rock is separated by sharp bushes, all sporting bad-ass flowers. Siurana is multicolored, green trees, some with leaves turning yellow, black and tan cliffs with huge Bombay structures, all sitting on an elaborate step of sandstone. Crazy, soft, red sandstone. Lots of caves, lots of pockets, and the cliffs dissipate into canyons filled with boulders, and a matrix of plants with the most horrible, sharp, spider-web-like tangle of spiny vines one has ever seen.

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This giant route starts with a horrendous, off-balance crack structure, and is know as the puta fissura. The route takes a left turn, and traversing out left in the fat part of the yellow wall leads to a straight up sequence with dynos on humid rails and then technical moves on pockets and edges. Traversing right through a huge blue overhang, the route busts into a headwall, with, oh yes, a very hard boulder.

There are two pockets and you rest. There is one long move to an edge, right hand, a huge lock off with a high foot into a structure of pockets with the left hand, where one can rest slightly, I repeat, slightly, then there is the real crux. Dani has fallen like 40 or 50 times up there. Chris maybe 5. Me never, because I don’t get there yet. Tomorrow.

Ok, focus ...

A long move to a slopey vertical edge for the right hand, then a change of feet, and then a viscous dropping-in move to an undercling. That’s where everyone falls down. You can fall afterwards, too! From here there are too many methods to count, but it involves a pocket for the left hand, and an escape traverse to the right, all funky, then an exit. A crimpy one, but an exit, leading directly to the anchor; "The Happy Place."

Photo by Dave Graham

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As I said, things have been rough, lately. There has been so much climbing! All the time talking about climbing, every night thinking about climbing, and even when sleeping, dreaming about climbing. I know it’s a bit extreme. But what the hell! Lots of hard routes, lots of strong friends, lots of big falls, and a hell of a lot more getting pumped! This is the good life. The life where sending means nothing, and trying means everything, the life where the only goal is to get fit, and feel good. Climbing is the ticket, and this place has more climbing then one can do in a lifetime, and yet there’s more. Hundreds of crags, and boulders lie all over Catalunya, in every direction.

This is only the beginning of: Chapter Spain.

— Dave Graham