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Siurana, Spain

Siurana, Spain

I am just back from a short climbing trip to Siurana in Spain with Paul. It’s actually been a long time since Paul and I have climbed together properly. In fact, we are talking years. Anyway, the title of this blog post sums our trip up.
Normally when I head to Spain in November, I like to go for 3 weeks to allow myself time to get into the rhythm of climbing limestone and stuff like that. However, this year I decided I could only go for one week since I’m not long back from Chamonix which ruptured my bank account and gave me big legs. 51 blooming euros for a return on the Midi lift. For goodness sake!

Anyway, I’m sure some of you will have seen my flickr, but here is more of a story to accompany some of the photos.

Welly boot

Paul and his welly boot

To start with, Paul was unable to get his technical rock shoe on his left foot. We are not sure what’s wrong with his toe, he needs to see a good podiatrist. He managed to wear an old rock shoe which had similar properties to a welly boot. He also wore a sock which was older than me. Not a good start for climbing at Siurana which requires precise foot work on small edges. Despite this, what I witnessed throughout the week was a talented climber which proved to me, ‘it’s the climber in the shoe, not the shoe itself’. Does that make sense? Probably not, but I know what it means.

We climbed every day and had no rest. Paul gazed into the café each morning as we passed it dreaming of a coffee. No chance! He was climbing with me. I don’t do coffee. Somehow we sat down to have our cheese and jam baguette at around 4pm each day. Time just disappeared from us.


Studying Maths in the Cafe

On the second evening, Paul brought out his maths books. He is currently studying Maths through the Open University. He also had a copy of the Higher Maths non calculator paper from last year. So we decided to have a look at this. What a laugh. It’s crazy how much I had forgotten over the last 10 years. We discussed all sorts; Pythagoras’ Theorem, irrational numbers, integration, vectors etc. By the end of the week I was trying to do mental arithmetic. Things like 1+1, 2+2 and so on. What fascinated me the most was the concept of irrational numbers. The square root of 2 in particular. I even downloaded a podcast about Pythagoras, but most of it went in one ear and out the other.

The climbing was brilliant. Having been to Siurana twice within the last year, I feared I would not enjoy it as much. How wrong could I be? Vertical to overhanging, crimpy, technical thought- provoking routes. It just schools you which I love. I’m not sure what my highlight route was. On the 4th day, I decided to try and onsight La Crema 8a. I gave it my best shot and managed to get to the grey bulge near the top. I managed to stick the move over the bulge, but couldn’t move. I fell off in silence. I thought it would be a case of just pulling back on and ‘doing it’. But I couldn’t. I was pretty spent with sore skin, sore feet, the sun came out… I began to rage. Paul began to laugh at me and offered no support. Instead he told me to stop swearing, get a grip, grow up and change my attitude. We all lose the plot sometimes on routes which is fair enough. But it made me realise that actually, it’s pretty unfair on your partner and you’re not 100 % focused on the climbing which is why you are there in the first place! Point taken. I’m actually pretty satisfied with my effort on La Crema. Unfortunately I never got that chance to go back and red point it. However, I am totally psyched to go back for it.

Murdoch on Akiri Bomboro 7c, Monsant

Murdoch on Akiri Bomboro 7c, Monsant

We also paid Monsant a visit. I haven’t really spent much time there. I managed to somehow onsight Kamaleon 7c. Initially I started up the route to its right, Akiri Bomboro 7c, but found myself falling off all over the place by the 4th or 5th bolt. I found it thin and desperate. Resting on the rope, I glanced over to my left and the route there seemed to have jugs on it. So I bailed off back to the ground and started up Kamaleon. That was painful. My feet were screaming the whole way due to the slightly slabby nature of the wall. There were some pretty thin sections which were rewarded by some semi-rests. Wherever possible I stood on my heals to reduce my whimpering. I found the top a bit stressful as by this point I was not keen on falling because I knew I couldn’t face a red-point. I didn’t fall.

Healthy Meals

Healthy Meals

For dinner each night we kept it fairly consistent: We ate rice, raw veg, raw garlic, lightly boiled broccoli, lettuce along with either lentils, boiled eggs or tuna. Now, cooking rice. I did have an issue with this. Somehow whenever Paul cooked it, it turned out like a mass of stodge. When I cooked it, it was what I think normal. We disagreed. He is more travelled than me and was copying the way they do it in China. Well, they are wrong is all I can say. We were so happy with our evening meals. What we made, one could not buy in a restaurant. What restaurant would let you drink the water that the broccoli was boiled in? That led us on to rant about eating out and what a rip off it is. Fact!

On the last day we woke up to rain. This meant that we could do the trendy thing by going to sit in the café, use the wifi and drink coffee (well Paul did). Paul is new to the social media world as some of you may know so I had to educate him on some of the Facebook features. Topics covered included: ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘tag’, ‘invite’, ‘accept’. It was a bit ridiculous having me as the expert as I haven’t a clue really so we may need to employ Guy Steven for some further training and CPD. After that, we both went for a run, in opposite directions. Paul to Siurana and I went to Monsant. That evening we were invited to dinner by Ian and Tess. And guess what we had? Rice, Veg and Fish. However, this meal was well prepared, well presented and tasted superb. Thanks!

Despite having been a short trip we packed in lots of routes. We had a rule that each day Paul had to do at least one 7a/+ and for me one 7c or above. Paul met the standard which was great. I did slip to 7b+ on 2 occasions. I wasn’t sure what to aim for before I went out. However, the trip naturally turned into doing lots of climbing onsight or second attempt. With this extra rock fitness gained, I’m off to lose it on Rich Betts 3m board.



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