Project Kong

The ambition to on-sight 7a by an older man returning to climbing.

Archive for April 2010

El Helechal problems and grades

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These are a selection of problems I have found which people have given grades for. I’m not sure they are accurate. But I’m finding that my opinion is swung by my strengths and weakness. So I will downgrade problems with a long move from an open handed grip and upgrade really crimpy thin problems. So I’ll give the grades other people have given with my opinion for good measure. Please add comments of agreement or disagreement. Grades are fun!!! They’re like talking about the weather. Doesn’t change much but it’s a nice way to pass the time.

The first one is Techo Del Meng which is graded by these guys as 7A+. I haven’t looked for it yet. But it looks like the kind of problem I like. A big reach onto sloppers. The first shot is from underneath and is where the problem starts The second is when it breaks out onto the headwall. Looks pretty cool.

The second problem was graded as 6C. I tried it last saturday and could finish it but the first move off the undercut to the sloppers felt really hard for me. I might have been a bit tired or just a bit too weak. But it felt really hard. The problem is just across from the arch and around a corner. You can see the side of it from the arch. So on present evidence it is probably a 6C.

This problem was graded as 6B+ by some dudes in the video. I did it from sitting start and used a hold on the left edge first time which made it too easy and I see wasn’t used by people in two videos of the problem. So I did it again without and it felt hardish but not too bad. Andy found it hard and he’s same strength as me but a bit shorter, so maybe it’s a morpho. I did do a long slappy reach to complete the problem;) I would grade it as 6A+. The start is sitting start and pulls of an one hand two finger shallow pocket. I found this part hard but Andy who has spent a lot of time on his fingerboard cruised this part. So it’s a real mix up of a problem, but good!!

The crux is making it from these two slopers up to a positive hold on the top left of the boulder.

Finally this problem has a name. It is called El Arco and on a video was given 6A+ but on somebody has graded it 6B. I found it quite easy so 6A+ is about correct, although I did have to make a big reach again.

This is the problem called El Arco. The hardest move is breaking out of the arch from this position.

Finally this problem is called No me creo na. It is graded as 7C. It looks really really hard. But I’m no where near being able to comment on the grade. I’m trying to finish it and have got close but not that close on the final two moves and Andy who is a bit of beast on small crimps was able to make the first few moves. But it is all fierce. Really fierce.

It is on the big flat wall just down from El Arco. It is a traverse and trends upwards and to the left.

This is the start.

Finally opposite this problem is a slab which if taken direct is a good 6A+ hard move. Looked easy until you try and get onto it. Then it feels quite hard and is all on really small crimps and small footholds before a reach up to a good hold.


Written by Journo

April 27, 2010 at 9:31 am

Project Konga

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My wife Amy is also on the project and unlike me can use her feet which seems to give her a small advantage. Bouldering at Albarracin and in Tarifa has accelerated her learning curve way beyond just climbing routes. I guess doing so many cruxe type moves a few feet above the ground really improves your technique and muscular recruitment. Here she is in El Helechal trying out the easy variant of the arch which is probably 6a.

Written by Journo

April 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

El Helechal session.

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I had my first session in the main El Helechal sector last night and it is a wonderland for climbers. Loads of boulders of every angle with the legendery arch which seems to appear on every youtube video. I did what I think is the easiest variation on-site. It starts at the base of the arch sitting start and then moves to the nearest lip. The hardest move is definitely getting out and over the lip. The rest is pretty easy. I would guess the grade at a soft 6a or perhaps 5+? I had a look at the hard variation which moves out over the root and comes out over the lip on the far side. Doesn’t look too hard and I think it is shown on one of the videos as being 6a+. But I’m not sure if they are exiting there or on the route I did last night. The quality and angles of their videos are too poor to tell. Either way the harder variation may well be 6a+ maybe a little more. But until I’ve actually done it I can’t say;)

The first moves off the ground are also quite easy as all the holds are massive. Just keeping the feet on the face and moving out for the lip. Really nice climbing.

These are both good holds and it's almost all over..... but for the rockover!

This was a really nice move and I felt pleased with the technique. All those top outs in Albarracin starting to pay off!

The exit did feel a little tricky, but mainly because it's never nice to have your foot pop off a hold in this position!

If anybody else has done this problem I’d really like to know what they thought of it?

Written by Journo

April 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Videos of bouldering in tarifa

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There are loads of videos of bouldering in Tarifa. I’m always amazed at how many people have visited here and found the boulders. It’s taken me over a year to find just a selection of the boulders in this area. But people fly in from 1000 miles away and seem to tick off the best block in a weeks holiday. Anyway my other hobby apart from climbing is trying to find the bloques these guys have climbed and do them myself. But obviously better!!

These guys are based mainly in El Helechal.

These guys seem to have flown in and done all the best problems.

These guys are once again all most exclusively in El Helechal. I like this one because I have done the same problems and they are all 6a or less. The one at 4 minutes is really nice but not hard. 6a probably. The sitting start is quite good as it is a pull up from a shallow two finger pocket for a good hold about a foot up. The one at 4.30 looks harder. Had a look at it as I was leaving last night.

Written by Journo

April 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

Alcaidesa boulder problems

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I have been sent the full directions to the Alcaidesa bouldering area as well as google map directions and guide.

The googlemap links is here

The boulder  with problems 12 to 35 has fallen down. On another blog Komuna Kavra they discuss having found this block on it’s side. Apparently it had some of the best problems of the area on it. I have seen it and it is fully on it’s face now with a scary big hole behind it full of water. Really pleased not to have been on it when it came down. Alcaidesa was too muddy and wet to boulder on Saturday and i’m guessing it will take another couple of weeks of warm sunny weather to dry out.

There are some great looking problems.  84 and 56 both look good. They are on the same block on the left of the map and when you approach the area they are the furthest left boulder. Both are standing starts and there are signs of struggle and rubber on the holds. They both look doable and of a similar style. Get established off the ground and start flailing upwards for increasingly better holds!

The next block along has some great looking problems and some fierce sitting starts. But the top outs are definite high balls and it was hard to judge it as it has a bog underneath it.

The next block of interest is with problems 1 and 2 etc on it. These again look like sitting starts but have some maybe 5+ or 6a small overhanging problems.

I explored the rest of the area and there are some more interesting problems but these three blocks are the closest and the best for early exploration. I try and do them and take some pictures later in the month.

The grades which are agreed by consensus are

84 is 6b/6b+

56 is 6c

I would really appreciate comments from anybody else who has been there as to the grades they think different problems are and any names any of the problems have.

Written by Journo

April 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Alcaidesa- a new bouldering area between San Roque and Sotogrande

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Really interested in this area. Apparently there are over 150 problems there. I have translated the following directions from a website. But haven’t gone in search of it yet.

The directions came from a desnivel website and are pretty sketchy.

“Getting there from the N-340, exit “La Alcaidesa” pass the Access to Alcaidesa and reach across from the campsite “La Casita”, turn left, the area is about 3 minutes.”

If anybody else has found it let me know. I have also emailed a guy who says he has recorded 120 problems there. I’ll post up if I get hold of them.

Written by Journo

April 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm

My first on-sight 6c – Seiscerrado Albarracin

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This was a great problem in Arrasterado Sector. A leaning crack which is flared and sloping and gives very little grip and with no real footholds either side of it. But it felt pretty easy for the grade. On over 40 people have put it down as 6c but mostly saying it is soft. I felt it was probably too soft for 6c. But grade baggers can’t be downgradders;)

As I was about to go for the finishing hold an enourmous German guy comes around the corner and shouts ya ya, go for it, the top hold is gooouuuddd. Almost fell off from the break in my concentration!!

Here’s a vid of some chick doing it on you-tube.

Written by Journo

April 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm