Today was a very cool day indeed. Today I walked up the hill and placed my gear at the foot of a crag I had only seen in climbing movies, that I had never thought I would see and one that is made of legend. I walked into to climb at Oliana. This is where Chris Sharma reinvented sports climbing and used the crag as a melting pot to test his mettle and push himself to the absolute limit. Changing what was possible for our sport.
Seeing the crag from the car was awesome, absolutely incredible. As we got closer the awe disappeared and the intimidation kicked in. I was here and it is now. Go and climb Craig……go …..and …..climb! I was with a very dear friend of mine Monique and her Husband Simon and their lovely and very bubbly daughter Coco. We were so excited to be catching up and hanging out in this amazing place.
The warm up route today was similar to that of the warm up Monique and I did on our first day in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky in April last year. We warmed up on this solid 7a (23) (name unknown). The sun was on our backs and it felt great to climb after a ten day break. The rock felt foreign and I was anxious about how I would go. I top-roped the route and it was hard. I am sort of glad I didn’t lead it but also felt like I was being a bit soft.
Aside from really enjoying being at the crag, it was great watching some of the best sports climbers in the world. Dave Graham was working a super hard route with his buddy and Daniel Woods and his wife Courtney were there too. Monique, Simon and I were talking about how there last trip here was when La Dura Dura had its first ascent and today I was standing under it. I couldn’t even see the holds……LOL.
Monique was working a route called Mind Control 8c+ (34) and got her index finger stuck in a hold and opened it up rather badly……the sight of blood was the least of her worries as she would have to rest for a couple of days now and that was frustrating for her. Simon and I did a couple of laps of the unknown 7a and the weather started to come in. And so did the photographers. We watched as one of them jumared up the wall to get into to a good position.
Simon said “That sounds like Chris” and sure enough it was. We just happened to be at the crag the day Chris Sharma decides its time to work on his new project, directly to the right of La Dura Dura. Monique introduced us and we chatted briefly…….a nicer guy you couldn’t meet. Genuinely warm and humble. We had decided to call it a day as it had become super cold and on the last climb I lost the feeling in my fingers………sooooooo cold!!!
It was fantastic to stand and watch the process of working possibly one of the hardest sports climbing routes on the planet. It is incredible what these people can do. Its inspiring and the level of dedication to this effort is just unbelievable. I thought about taking photos and then I thought again. I felt really uncomfortable about it and just simply enjoyed the experience.
and what an experience, thanks so much guys 🙂