I may have been subjected to rendezvous with the overly rock climbing inclined for a number of years now, but I still manage to be impressed with the level climbing is at today after days like yesterday. A crag like Oliana in Spain isn’t for your beginner or even intermediate climber. The grandiose blue and tan tufa streaked wall homes a hand full of warm-ups (11d and up), and gives your 12+/13- climber a few classic and stunning lines. Beyond these routes the grades jump drastically into the 13+ to hard 5.14 range, in which there are a disproportionate number of lines on the wall. So many that at any given time yesterday you could find up to 8 or more climbers on the wall all trying climbs harder than 5.14a.
The onslaught of talented climbers yesterday included a number of bad ass ladies like Eva Lopez, Daila Ojeda, Evgeniya Malamidand Monique Forester, which got me psyched to try extra hard on a beautiful 8a line I’ve been working on and off for the past couple of weeks. A mean boulder at the beginning had been shutting me down for awhile now, and I needed “ganar”, a term Daila taught me just moments before she executed the FFA of Mind Control 8c+, her long term project and most recent red point obsession. Yeah I figured implementing even just a little bit of Daila’s ganar would suffice on helping me hike my comparatively mini climbing endeavor.
As I lowered from anchors half high from the fight of my ascent I was congratulated by a visiting couple. The girl and I took a look out at the wall at all the extremely talented climbers. “Everyone is so strong here,” she observed. “Don’t worry, this isn’t normal,” I comforted her. But on second thought I decided that more and more it is was. From the French high school team hiking my project second go, to witnessing a number of women climbing in the 8c range daily, to watching Adam Ondra on his latest gains on a futurist project, I’m seeing these levels are becoming the standard. And though I’m not quite up there with those talents, I can say it’s pretty exciting to watch it all happen.