Project Kong

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

Archive for the ‘El Helachal’ Category

Fisura Solo, 6B+, El Helechal, Bolonia

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Andy and me met up with a couple of guys from along the coast, James Holtom and Giacomo Collini to show them some of the problems of El Helechal.

Giacomo is really strong and did a second go repeat of a tricky 6A+ traverse and a second go repeat of the roof problem El Gordo the 6B we first did last week. James did a quick ascent of a problem I found months ago and has been graded 6B+ on the internet and a YouTube vid, (more like 6A+ if you are tall). Then off to the classic El Arco which is graded 6B in Escalar magazine. I’ve got my technique wired for this one so always like to show it off;). Andy did it with a bit of struggle then the main event of the day, Giacomo’s demonstration of determination as he refused to fall off despite fully cutting loose for quite some time. I really thought he was off about three times but he fought back and found a new hold over the lip and a new way of doing it. Congratulations on that one. Felt tired just watching. Giacomo was on curfew and had to leave. The rest of us went down to our new problem Fisura Solo on the face of the big block which we feel is a soft 6B+.

Here is a vid of our efforts. The crucial sequence, in my humble opinion, is to get the left hand in the penultimate pocket, or the end is made very difficult.


Written by Journo

July 30, 2010 at 9:43 am

Bouldering El Helechal

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Had a great day in El Helechal with my two boys and Andy. We did quick ticks of El Gordo a well know 6B roof problem. The crux for me was getting both my hands on the exit face. I cut loose on my first go and fell off. So maintaining body tension and getting out and established was the test. Then it’s just a bit of old-fashioned thuggery to get to the top. Here’s a vid of Andy doing it easily. Bit of technical criticism is that Andy is doing the three pumps before going for the top jug. According to John Sherman’s better bouldering this is just a waste of energy and you should just rock down and give it your max on the first go. Hard to do but I can see his logic.

Then we did a couple of 5, 5C ticks with a nice slab problem just up from El Gordo.

My boy Rufus did this really nice 4A overhanging flake which is a good warm up. He got it first go. He’s done a few 4A boulder problems before in Albarracin. Just reach is a bit of a problem on some!

Finished off with a problem Andy has done before. It’s an obvious hair-line crack running diagonally across the front face of the massive 30m high block in the centre of Helechal. Starting near the ground on two deep but narrow crimpy jugs. Move up using the holds in the crack or on either side of it. Finishing with t massive hold at the top. Avoid all the ledges to the left as they make the problem a ladder. I found it really hard and had to use a full crimp on the right hand which I hate. But the moves are nice, hard and really technical with not much for the feet at the start. Enjoyable problem as I couldn’t do it at all at the start. I’d give it solid 6B+. It just felt way too full on for 6B.

Written by Journo

July 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

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