A Mann down at the airport, we headed straight to La Rambla after landing in Barcelona; the street not the route. Meandering down Barcelona’s main pedestrian street we stopped at the market for lunch and some groceries after watching the energetic, tiny fur-ball roborovskis for sale. Just narrowly missing purchase from Keith and Sasha the tiny hamster has been taken up at the team name and butt of countless jokes.
La Rambla - Ben Spannuth
Siurana is the first stop on our few week trip. Although the rock quality is sub-par the walls are beautifully streaked with orange and blue and its main El Pati sector is home to some of Spain’s most famous classic and new school routes.
Right off the bat, I wanted to try out the moves on La Rambla to see what the historical route is like. I’ve watched the videos of Chris, Adam, Ramon, and Enzo a few too many times to help learn the moves on the 35m widely varying style route. Starting with a hardly easy intro crack the route abruptly juts left through a cool short traverse ending in two long hop/ jump moves. After a decent rest and treading back right there’s a long runout through easier climbing to a good rest. From this shake the route really turns on moving through a heinous crux of powerful, square moves on slopey pinches followed by a relatively easy finish.
After two days mainly focused on La Rambla we went back to Barcelona to pick up Andy Mann and do a bit more touring around the city. Besides checking out a cool cathedral and showing Andy around a bit we went to an interesting tunnel with hundreds of holds bolted inside to create routes and traverses throughout the tunnel.
Our next climbing day Sasha took down Kalea Barroka (8b+) quickly and I gave a onsight/ flash burn and fell off near the top after a difficult match. Next I went up Estado Critico to learn the moves on a very bouldery 9a revolving around standing up into then launching off a poor undercling pinch. With wrecked skin my focus has shifted back to La Rambla which is starting to seem more feasible after finding a more consistent way to do the crux move. That being said, I definitely feel like I could fall off the top a hundred times before making it to the chains right now.
Besides my boring climbing breakdowns Spain has been perfect so far. We met up with Sam Elias and Lucas Marques, some friends from Colorado and Brasil, and numerous ridiculously strong Euros to hang out and watch some solid efforts on very hard routes. One of my days working on La Rambla Dani Andrada pre-clipped a couple draws in his crocs while I was floundering on the top crux then nearly did the route, falling high in the crux, and immediately pulled back on yelling, “tack, tack, tack” as he easily did the hard compressiony moves and jumped off the top. He’s spending some time in Siurana so I’m sure we’ll see it go down soon.
Overall, Siurana has been an amazing start to the trip. The area is stunning and the climbing requires a unique combination of technique and power that will take some time to adjust to.
Yesterday we explored the amazing old town of Siurana after climbing and watched the sunset as Keith and Andy nailed some incredible time lapses of clouds racing along the fading landscape. Today we watched Alizee Dufraisse do another variation on the El Pati wall called El Rastro (8c+). Tomorrow we're off to Oliana for a bit but I'm sure we'll be back soon...
Special thanks to Keith for hanging on a rope 4-6 hours a day to get all the photos above,