You know when you half write blog posts, and they sit there for ages until they eventually become obsolete and you never post them because you missed your relevant posting window?
That is happening! To me! Again! With my El Chorro posts!
Which is really sad because I actually have a lot to reflect on and say about sport climbing and just being in El Chorro. It was a beautiful experience, with expectations surpassed and a rekindled love for sport climbing.
So, deep breath…
Day 1, El Chorro, 7:00am
Imagine getting up at 07:00 for a day of climbing and only having decaf coffee available.
And then imagine having to pack just a cliff bar and carrots for lunch as I didn’t manage to make myself a sandwich in time.
A food shop was needed.
We woke up, met Joachim and Michael (another vegan, yay!) for the first time. I found out very quickly that Michael is very much the healthy type of vegan – muesli for breakfast and carrots for climbing snack. I felt inspired to be a little healthier this trip than I usually am. It wouldn’t hurt, right? I’m not exactly a complete junk food vegan but probably sitting in the middle somewhere.
Our location for today’s climbing had already been decided by the others, so we loaded up our two cars and started the drive around the winding, mountain roads to find our crag.
We found out very quickly that Lucas’ car really wasn’t good enough when it came to hills. Which actually kind of worked for me; I didn’t mind going slow as I was still freaking out over the size of my car and being convinced I was 1) going to hit an oncoming car or 2) drive off the side of the cliff.
Parked, cars unpacked, we’re there. It’s always lovely when you can park up and within 5 minutes you’re staring up at the wall. The combination of short approaches and beautiful views are sometimes hard to come by, but this place had it dialled.
Valle de Abdalajis – Fisuras, 9:00am
This crag was pretty crack-oriented, which was a bit of a shame because none of us were particularly good at crack climbs. But we embraced it and chose some easy ‘warm-up’ routes with horizontal cracks. Because of Sonja, instead of faffing around toproping, which is something I tend to do, I got straight to leading.
I quickly realised that my sport climbing break had quite an effect. Before this trip I’d only lead around 3/4(?) routes outside over the past year, and only 4s and 5 grades, anyway. But we hadn’t even training indoors for this trip, favouring going bouldering instead (Michael’s fault, as he had totally fallen out of love with sport climbing).
I was pretty worried about both my endurance and head game.
We jumped on a few 4s, getting on fine. I ended the day toproping a 5c chimney in an effort to retrieve Michael’s quickdraw. It was HARD! I haven’t really climbed any chimneys before and this one stopped having handholds half-way through, leaving me pressing upwards. It was exhausting and so much fun! I should have known I’d like it – I do tend to favour corner climbs!
We tried to settle into the hot weather, but ended up leaving early after the temperate hit almost 30c. Not optimum climbing weather.
So, we headed back to the villa, lazed about, enjoyed not having to do anything, not having to grab my laptop and begin working as soon as I got back. Knowing that I had a week properly switched off was the most beautiful feeling.
Michael and I cooked dahl, we talked climbing all night, planned our next next, our next crag, and went to sleep early.