Part one: Epic
Friday started out as a rest day, I slept well and woke early anyway so put the coffee on and started getting some work done. The forecast had been for rain until mid afternoon although when I woke it was still dry, I wasn’t expecting anyone up for a while. Everyone, as expected took their time rising except for Roly – he cleaned the house and managed around 10 minutes of inactivity before he decided to risk a bike ride.
He was able to engage smug bastard mode for the rest of the afternoon by going out and getting back before the storm hit and whilst everyone else was still faffing. After returning from a shopping break we managed around two hours in the house before leaving again became imperative! Kane was pacing the room like a wererabbit (sweet but still unnerving), Gemma was overdosing on coffee, Bash was uber cross at not having got up early enough to join Roly.. only Charlie was maintaining a level of calm – but even he had stopped randomly breaking out into song, so the signs were bad.
Eventually Charlie and I called it and despite the rain we optimistically piled into cars and headed to Valldemossa, my thoughts being that this was a nice town, there would be coffee and cake and a roadside crag from which the views were good, maybe the sun would even come out and it would dry out being west facing?
A wet walk, coffee and cake later we set off to the crag without much hope. We were greeted with a dry overhanging 5c climb in a cave and the glorious afternoon sun! Slightly damp routes rapidly dried and we had a usually packed climbing venue completely to ourselves (no one else clearly having our optimism!)
The boys helped me work the cave route, which I got up although refused to do the last move as the water was running down the appropriate hold and into my face.. I also got to second Roly up a fantastic 6b route, slipping at the top but on what would have been a safe fall, demonstrating yet again that my inability to lead at this level is still largely a head game. I did fall off the next route I followed Gemma up but I was rushing as the sun had set, I would be cleaning up (removing the gear) in the dusk light and was worrying about keeping everyone behind
Whilst Gemma and I were round the corner the boys had been playing on a 6c in the cave. Charlie very nearly finished but by the penultimate move all strength had gone. Rather than leaving a mallion Roly had devised a ‘mostly’ sensible plan to abseil down and retrieve the gear. He and Kane went to the top of the crag and to save time (always the point at which an error creeps in!) adapted the plan to use only one rope and…
Well highlights included:
- Gemma having to light the inside of the cave with a headtorch whilst trying to pass Roly gear on a clipstick
- Getting ready to swing Roly in at the first sign of traffic (it is a roadside crag!) as he swung back and forth into a cave
- Having to weight down Charlie when we had to put Roly on belay and ending up in a position that frankly we are never speaking of again
- Giving Roly a shoulder lift to retrieve him from the perfect v in which he was stuck, a meter from the ground, in the middle of the road
Three priorities in the given order: Come back alive, Come back as friends, Get to the top
Well, two out of three aint bad
Thank heavens for Bash, homemade curry and beer!
Part two: Awesome
Last day, best day
We so nearly didn’t go to Sa Gubia which would have been an epic mistake.
Managing to get up and out relatively early, if a little groggy after the later than expected evening before, we took two cars towards the mountain crag. Famous for its multipitch routes Sa Gubia was sitting under dull clouds whilst the rest of the Island was in glorious sun. We had already decided against the longer multipitch routes based on time and the fact that, although I’ve climbed with both Gemma and Roly they hadn’t completed multipitch together and climbing as a three we didn’t know how long it would take. Kane and Charlie had also been wavering, but we headed over with a plan to do a two pitch and we were already dropping Bash off en route… and as we were nearly there anyway Roly called it, we parked up and started the gentle but long walk in. With the amount of water on the path and the wind and potentially wet rock I didn’t have great hopes… oh so wrong!
The sun came out; Roly set me up to lead a sweet and interesting route ‘Hawii 5-0’, clearly the classic marbled warm up – the problem solving required when you couldn’t stand on the obvious holds actually made it more fun; I took the opportunity of an ideal location (instead of sulking at being the muppet) and some trad gear to get higher than the other four and get some shots from a perspective other than the classic ‘climbing bum’ shot;
Roly and I completed the gorgeous, if mental, two pitch multipitch route ‘Excalibur’, a combination of all climbing styles (chimney, layback, edgy crimps, juggy overhangs, smearing, big steps) and the most fabulous perspectives; and… Gemma nailed a top 50 6b climb – like a pro! I’m not kidding when I say I have not seen her climb so consistently well, and to do so gracefully on a sustained route that became increasingly more vertical and each clip a greater run out, I’m a little biased I know but I’m also constructively critical and that was sweet! Go girl!
Would you believe that on our last and best day climbing we were also back (after some interesting path traverses and a chat with some donkeys…) at a frankly early hour?
Well you may if you’ve been following this blog and have gathered that Bash is a bit of a legend when it comes to making sure we eat well! And we’d rather over bought on the booze front so there was some work to do… Barbecued spatchcock marinated chicken, squid, chorizo, salty peppers, wine, gin and whiskey, oh and icecream.
Writing this on the plane and once again I’m on my way back from fabulous Mallorca. 2016 has been an odd year so far, the last month unsettlingly so, but I really do feel like I’ve got some of that grounding back that I had found.
It could be Mallorca, but in reality I think it was this bunch of crazies – Thanks guys! Love ya x