Sindre left the 12-th, Therese the 13 (friday the 13-th) and Martin and Maria the 14-th. Then came the HEAT...
In winter the sun is low, covering the entire cave until one hour before dark when the shade takes over. Later in spring the sun rises and the inner part of the cave stay´s in the shade most of the day.
Normal mid winter conditions is cold and climbing in the sun is both nice and almost the only option.
This winter has so far been abnormally warm, but the last weeks of January was extreme. The sun made it feel like late spring, but without the option of hiding in the shade...
We tried to climb in the sun, but even Hannah who usually deals with heat much better then me, was struggling just working moves.
Giving up on climbing in the sun, we where left with 1-1,5 hours of light in the shade in the evening before it got pitch black.
To compensate for this lack of climbing time in the cave, I started going to the easier sector Fútbolin just up the road from the village.
This wall gets more air flow and is in general not as warm as the cave. The hardest route is a very soft 8a, but the mainly the routes are in the 6b-7b range. After a few days I have so far climbing all but two routes (a 7b and a 7c).
Hoping to find conditions elsewhere we then went to Rodellar.
Rodellar is normally wet in the winter, but because of the warm weather and lack of rain this year, the entire valley was completely dry!
Wanting to climb at Ventanas we left Santa Linya early in the morning and after driving for 1 hour and 50 min we where there at 10.30.
The middle and right part of Ventanas get´s sun this time a year, but only in the morning. More psyched for the routes to the left, we decided to try climbing in the shade.
The shady wall felt great, so I decided to warm up by trying to onsight the 7a+ "La del Taco" all the way to the left on the wall.
At the second bolt I realized my mistake as all feeling disappeared from my hands and feet. Hoping to be able to recover on better holds higher up, I kept going.
I did get to some better holds, but upon touching the wall, feeling was again lost.
From there I ended up battling my way up horrible technical sneaky climbing with no feeling all the way to the chain, returning to the ground feeling flash pumped but still not really warm.
Not really sure what to get on next, I ended up trying the 8a/+ "La Rubia y el Empujador" as there where quickdraws in all the way.
Figuring I had nothing to lose by trying to onsight as far as possible, I tied in and went for it.
I passed the third bolt and did some big slap moves into a tufa.
Once again losing feeling in my hands and climbed into a hopeless position, I looked down.
To my horror, the gate of the third draw had failed to close, now a good meter or so below my feet, the rope was running free all the way down to the second bolt.
Now, no longer feeling my hands, I desperately tried to down climb. Having done a huge move to end up in the position I was in, I failed, and came off.
Catching massive air and seeing the ground coming at me, the rope finally caught, smashing me hard into the wall half a meter of the deck.
Felling lucky not to break anything, I limped away from the route with a bruised left heel and hand.
Hannah then tied in, going bolt to bolt trying to warm up. Failing that she came down frustrated, still cold after going through two thirds of the route.
Tired of the cold in the shade, we then went over to the Delfín roof, one of the few things still in the sun.
Hannah did el Delfín (7c+) in the spring, I fell on the last hard move on the flash and never got on it again.
I figured it was time for a rematch, but the route proved resilient. The first attempt, not remembering much and not having climbed for hours, I soon got numb hands and ended up with the wrong hand on a hold in the final roof.
I tried to pull through, but slightly missing the next hold, I came flying off. I then tested the moves a bit, before going for it again.
This time, feeling much more tired, I climbed through the roof to the last move, stalling out not seeing the pocket and unsure of where to place my feet. I ended up trying to place a heelhook, but it slipped and I came off once again...
It was getting dark so we headed up to Kalandraka to see if we could stay there for the night. The refugio is winter closed, but by calling a phone number they are supposed to come and open the dorm.
Unfortunately for us they did not answer the phone...
Not psyched to sleep in the car, and not aware of the open hotel just down the road, we then ended up driving all the way back to Santa Linya.