Strength of a Swan, Grace of a Bull…

If truth be told, we’d both become a little frustrated with our climbing – I was struggling and had to pick up some antibiotics from a local farmacia as my cold dropped onto my chest, even walking up a slight incline was difficult and climbing nye on impossible (that’s my excuse!)

Last night we decided that come what may, we’d be up on the hill, trying a different area – an area called Escalera Arabe, initially climbing in the Suiza Area. Before moving across to the Sergio face. The crag being just behind our hostel and we’d been told that the walk was good forty-five minutes up hill, through the national park…

'an Miguel & Don Simon

‘an Miguel & Don Simon

In preparation for the day, Tug aka Lionel Ritchie set off the day before to recce the route meaning today we could crack straight on with the climbing – our aim being to progress up to grade five climbs. The walk through the park was really beautiful, nicely shaded from the sun with the smell of pine greeting us as we turned each corner, gradually getting higher and higher…

Mountain Walkers

Mountain Walkers

After two hours(!) we finally arrived at the wall and set about our first climb of the day, quickly bagging a quick 4 (el Artista) before tackling the very hard 3 (Go On) which Tug led and I refused to climb – having climbed steeper stairs in the past I opted to relax. It was at this point Harry turned up. Harry is an Austrian guy whom we’ve become quite friendly with over the last week, he’s been here a few weeks having cycled from Austria to Barcelona before heading this way and is here til sometime in February…

Harry the Austrian

Harry the Austrian

Harry offered to set up a top rope on a climb graded 5+ (Yo y mi Resaca)- a significant step up for the pair of us but certainly manageable whilst top roping – he also gave us some excellent tips on falling, our training being climb about 20m up and fall backwards, trusting your belay partner to be on his game. We practised several times which really helped as we’d become hesitant because of our fear of falling off, was one of the things holding us back.

Having watched Harry climb, I was up next and with real sense of trepidation set off to climb the route. I’ve noticed over the last week that whilst its been frustrating, both Tug and I are starting to climb with a greater awareness – concentrating more on where our feet go and using our hands more for balance – Tug commenting that we’re finally getting the ‘Grace of a Swan, Strength of Bull’ (we’d been relying on our strength for too long and today was like an epiphany for the pair of us.)

I went straight up and then after a small rest, cracked it again – my climb becoming more and more smooth as I progressed. Already being high up in the mountains and then being 30m higher, the views were absolutely stunning – you could see for miles and miles with vultures circling above, with falcons hovering above searching out their next meal.

'an Miguel up on 5+

‘an Miguel up on 5+

Whilst we didn’t bash loads of climbs out we both had an excellent afternoon and feel like we’ve both learnt a lot from Harry – small tips and things, we both have big smiles on our faces and already looking forward to tomorrow.

Heading back to Base

Heading back to Base

And this next track is for my climbing partner Tug, he climbed well and got there in the end…

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