fredag 13. januar 2012

8 Months later... Part 1

Much has happen´d since my last post. Too much for my normal detailed description so in the spirit of saying as much as possible in as few words I`ll try to give you the very very short version:

I left Spain in May without sending my 8b project and to top it off had a total epic getting the car back to Norway...
I then moved to outside Ole´s house in Sogndal, worked the summer in the mountains, joined the local climbing team "Team Sogndal Vertical" with my friends Ole, Tobias and Olav.
Then spent the fall complaining about the rain, working and training indoors. I managed to sneak away one week and had some great days in Kalymnos before finally at the start of November Hannah and I returned to Spain.

Spain the Second Coming

Not forgetting my car epics the last few years we decided to fly down this time and buy a car in Spain.
We arrived in Santa Linya at the end of a 3 week long rain period, the cave was soaked and we spent the first few weeks living at Tom´n Lynne´s place trying to climb what ever was dry.
We bought their old car so they could get a new, got introduced to some locals renting out a nice oldschool house just down the street and ended up becoming Santa Linya locals for the winter.

"The cave the second week with water leaks on at least 1-2 important holds on almost every single route..."

One of the first routes to dry up was my project from the spring el Mare del Tano. After having spent 5-6 weeks on it in bad conditions it was not great returning to it in similar warm and humid conditions. It still felt hard but I was motivated to get it done and after another 8 goes over the course of 2 weeks I finally got my endurance up and battled through the top sloper crux and sent my first (probably quite soft) 8b! :)

"Me on the Tano in May"

"Hannah on the top crux of the Tano on her send in spring"

Several people came by and stayed a few days during the first month, but with bad conditions in the cave none stayed for long.

Then December came, Maria D. Sandbu arrived and the cave finally dried up. Maria started of slow trying the classic 8a Pegue Nocturno. The route has a lot of reachy moves and really favors the tall.
Maria kept falling off a stab to a pocket and ended up having several days and many attempts on this while sending Santa Linya 8a+/8b in only 2 attempts a few days later!
When Maria climbed I seemed to be constantly somewhere else and thus I do not have many pic´s. Maria also turned up in a lot of none photogenic clothing (like in the picture below) so next time Maria remember to bring the colors;)

"Maria on Pegue Nocturno 8a"

Not long after Maria´s arrival Matilda Söderlund from Sweden joined us and in just 5 days managed to send more then I probably will in 3-4 months!
Focused on comps and spending her time training indoors Mathilda was a bit of a wild card of unknown power and potential.
Combined with several days of perfect conditions and a lot of good beta she made accents I never would have thought possible.

Mathilda´s 5 days in Santa Linya

Day 1: I drove to Balaguer and picked her up a few hours before dark and brought her to a cold and foggy (normal conditions cave). After a quick warm up she gave up her first attempt on Pegue Nocturno (8a) due to the usual foggy winter cave issue of numb hands and no feeling what so ever in your fingers. A bit warmer she then cruised it on her second go.

Day 2: The weather changed for the better and the sun came back out. The girls (Hannah and Maria) believed she might be able to flash the route Santa Linya (8a+/8b) so we started the day by watching the video of Hannah climbing the route and gave as much beta as we could.
Matilda did not disappoint and seemed to flow up the route effortlessly. She then topped the day of with a flash/sight (a flash with very limited amounts of beta) of Airline 8a.

Day 3: As it had seemed like Matilda was not on her limit on the Santa Linya route it was time to test her on a proper 8b.
Hannah did la Ruta del Sol in the spring as her second 8b and spent days on it just to get the proper endurance to link it.
At 35 meters high and at least 15 meters overhanging it is a endurance test piece with several tricky crux sections between hanging on your arms rests.

I filmed Hannah´s accent of the route in the spring and once again I went over the video with Matilda before going to the cave.
The conditions where amazing with a decent temp, clouds and that very rare wind (the wind almost never enters the cave).
I was working the route next to Ruta del Sol, and against my better judgment ended up coming down for a second go after falling at the top. I should have been fixing the rope and getting ready to film Matilda, but the conditions where so good and I figured I had time. I was wrong... The second go I started before Matilda, but fell at the last possible move and ended up hanging next to her giving beta without the proper time to get in position to film...

From my perspective 4 meters to the side I got "the best seats in the house" so to speak and what I saw was beyond impressive.
She had already gotten up to the "rest" under the crux section and seemed a bit confused on where to go next.
I pointed her in the right direction through the section but when she arrived at the actual crux move see just pulled through the hard way ignoring my beta and skipping both a heelhook and a undercling that for both me and Hannah seemed essential.
I followed her all the way to the top, and at no point did she ever seem tired or close to falling off.

"Matilda flashing la Ruta del Sol 8b"

Day 4: We awoke to perfect conditions with sun, wind and amazing friction. I was super psyched to climb but having missed out on documenting Matilda´s rampage so far I packed away the climbing shoes in favor of the camera.
It was time to step it up once again, and today it was Rollito day.

Rollito Sharma is one of the steepest lines in the cave and is very different from the other routes we had sent Matilda on up to this point.
The route basically comes down to one very big move. The climbing up to the move is about 7c+ and the climbing after the move is about the same.
The route became famous when Daila climbed it in Dosage, but since then the first part of the crux tufa has broken off and the move has become much harder. Before the hold broke the route was downgraded to 8b/+ but after the hold brake the route is once again back to 8b+, all be it still in the lower end of the spectrum.

On Matilda´s flash attempt she went for the wrong holds coming in to the crux and fell off. She then tested the crux move with Hannah´s heel hook beta with out success before trying the more powerful pull through.
She hit the hold on her second try using this beta and climbed to the anchors without stopping to working any of the other moves.
After a long break she tied in again, this time going all the way becoming the first ever Scandinavian woman to climb 8b+, a feat that would have been impressive in it´s own right, but that she managed to do it her first day on the route in her second attempt on her 4 day on, that is truly impressive!

"Matilda pulling through the crux on Rollito Sharma 8b+"

With one day still to go and the limit not reached we pushed her up the fixed photo line to try the 8c extension.
Watching and belaying from the ground it seemed to me that she struggled more with the concept of jugging up a fixed line then actually climbing the extension moves once she got up there. After cruising through the hardest part of the extension twice she lowered back down and the stage was set for the true test the next day.

Day 5: Extension day.
Yet again we awoke to the perfect conditions of the previous days and once again I struggled to leave my climbing shoes behind in favor of the camera.
Matilda seemed to rise above any challenge we presented her with. I was starting to believe that she might just manage to pull 8c out of the bag on her last day. No matter what happened I would be up there to document it.
The extension to Rollito Sharma is the logical line. The first chain seems to be placed at some random good hold in the middle of the route. From here it´s about 10 meters around 8a+ on it´s own to a ledge where you can sit and rest. This ledge is the obvious stopping point if your not topping out the whole cave.

"Rollito Extension in red, Fabelita in blue"

After warming up Matilda set off. Once again she pulled through the long move and once again she was at the first anchors and the start of the extension. Here she was faced with a 4-5 meter long section of fairly straight forward easier climbing that she had not tested before. Still looking fresh she got through and got into the upper crux.
The upper crux lasts all the way to the ledge, but the hardest move is matching a crimpy edge and pressing over into a two finger pocket.
Matilda got through the pocked, clipped the last bolt and a mere 3 moves shy of the top jugs she finally gave in.
After five days on she could not recover enough for a second attempt and the route still awaits her return.

A bit in the shadow of Matilda, Maria also kept making impressive hard sends during her first stay with both el Mare del Tano 8b and Asaltinbankis Extention (hard) 8a+ in just 2 attempts! before leaving to celebrate x-mas at home.

Fabelita 8c

I have already gone in detail on Hannah´s accent of Fabelita (in Norwegian) on
So I will keep it short here:)

While Matilda and Maria was crushing Hannah was falling of the upper part of her project.
The route had never before seen a female accent and is known to be hard for the grade.
While Rollito has a one move boulder and easier climbing before a sustained upper section Fabelita is sustained all the way with only one proper "resting" hold.
(this hold is shared with several other harder routes, picture below is of Tom Bolger resting in the same hold after the lower crux on Catxasa 9a+)


The lower part up to the "rest" is about 8b+ and the part after is around 8b.
Hannah worked the route while it was still partly wet on and off for a few weeks, then struggling with bad conditions she kept falling in the last few moves before the rest on the redpoint.

"Entering the first crux section"

"The crux on the lower section"

She finally got past this point for the first time just after Maria´s arrival but slightly missing the mono she fell of the next big undercling move.

"The mono"

Then when Mathilda arrived with the wind a few days later she once again made it past the "rest", but this time fell of few moves higher looking very solid but missing a bad pinch...

"The pinch"

A few days after Mathilda´s departure Hannah once again got past the lower section. The light was fading and once she got to the "rest" she was the only one on the wall.
A massive crowd gathered to watch including her brother Magnus (Midtbø), Maria, Martin (Mobråten), Tom, Lynne, Chris (Sharma), Daila and about 20 Spanish guys as she sent the route as the first ever female and the first Scandinavian woman ever to do 8c!

"Just before the mono"

"After the pinch"

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