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Jon Cardwell: Springtime in Catalunya

March 22, 2010 -  Five Ten    

"I have to say, its a been a trip.  Being here in Spain during February, March and soon April is definitely a first for me.  Springtime here is crazy. The dormant vegetation is starting to bloom and some climbing areas, locked away for months by the bitter cold are coming into season.  And likewise with this regeneration in the environment our crew here has been steadily getting at it. 

Dave, in-between the rainstorms, has been making massive progress on Papichulo in Oliana.  It's cool watching the progression on a route so difficult and how different people approach the challenge.  I don't want to be the one predicting anything but who cares? I would say the chances of Papichulo being climbed soon are high! And it's sick!

As for myself, I've been relaxing with climbing as I've been trying for several months to push myself harder to progress.  This sort of 'training' becomes very difficult and at a certain point a small break is usually necessary.  I've always believed motivation derives from your state of mind.  And to say the least, I'm exhausted!  So, in the last week or so I've been trying to take it easy and soon will be back on the normal program.

Aside from that there has been a lot to do - from video work to cleaning out our friend's casa.  A few days ago I started bolting my first route on limestone!   We were at the Laboratory in Margalef about a week ago and it was very hot, too hot to climb.  Chris rolled up and confirmed the hot conditions with the crew.  After a few minutes of looking at the routes Chris suggested we open a new line.  He put in the first couple bolts so I could observe and after I was off! 

I aided up to the fresh 2nd bolt and started from there out the roof.  The process is amazing when opening a new climb. I would put in a bolt, look further out the roof, spot the features, holds, pockets, aid up, test the rock and bolt again.  You're in complete control yet at the same time restricted by limits of the rock.  I love it and it's only the beginning!

Well, when Spring rolls around the rain usually follows and this season is no exception.  At least in the last couple days the weather has left most of the climbing ares pretty damp which may actually force the crew to do some good ol' gym climbing in Lleida!  It's funny to imagine, but I've climbed in the gym two times since last June... 

Until next time, hopefully with better weather!  The forecast predicts the sun returning, we shall see."

-Jon Cardwell


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