Project Kong

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

Alcaidesa session

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Near the end of last year, Andy and me headed over to Alcaidesa to check out the newly opened boulders there. Local enthusiast James has been around all the boulders with industrial vegetation removal tools and has cleared space enough to get at the rock without getting ripped to pieces by brambles and other Spanish spined vegetation.

We did a bit of warming up before heading for the most obvious boulder in the whole place and probably the best line of Alcaidesa. It’s a 6B with a hard start and a big pull from a crimp to a crimp with a pull to another crimp and then finishes over the top with a couple more crimpy moves. It favours people who like crimps. Bit of highball feeling near the top as you would definitely hurt something if you fell from the top. Especially at my age!

The rock is super solid and feels great.

James did it first and after watching carefully, I couldn’t claim an on-sight but was able to flash it. Which felt really good. Felt about right for 6B. In the guide it gives it 6C but we agreed this was too high.


Written by Journo

February 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm

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

Tangerine Wall El Cuarton

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This is a face with four quality problems on it on the other side of the block on which Bestia is situated. The wall is slightly overhanging and has almost no holds on it. The footwork is hard on everything.

The easiest problem is Fruit pulp on the right hand side which is a mantel shelf problem from a standing start. There is a sit start variation which I can’t do. For once my height is a problem and I’m just too bunched up from the very low starting hold.

The main problem is Tangerine tangent. It is hard from the start with a jump up to a big fairly positive 10 degree slopper. Then its tiny footholds and smears and the holds go from a smallish flat crimp to a rounded lump at the end of the traverse which I cannot hold. I am going back with a footwork change next time and maybe bringing my left hand up to the crimp. Really hard problem and can’t really grade it.  If I had to guess I would say F6C. But it might be harder as the top out could be really hard. The whole problem is total quality and relies on hyper precise footwork and weight distribution. A real puzzle. The other problem on this wall is Tangerine Slide. It starts on the far right and traverses all the way across the wall until it meets Tangent for the top out. I have made the early moves but can’t make the slap from the right hand slopper to the crimp on the ridge. Again can’t grade it but it feels hard.

Finally there is a variation on the left which starts from the starting hold of Tangent but then moves left into the groove. It looks much easier but I would need a spotter as there is a lot of brambles there to catch me if I fell.

Written by Journo

July 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Bestia F7B El Cuarton

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This route is a true beast. Massive body tension from mainly blunt but positive holds. The problem is that there is nothing for the feet so it requires a near front lever from both hands and then one hand for several moves. Local guy who has done all the routes in the area called Pin told me it is 7B. I’m too weak to do it so I can’t argue with the grade. However, I have done it from half way and can hold myself on every combination of holds. So maybe, just maybe, if sit underneath it a lot, I might start to get it linked. The top out is also a beast and gave me a month off climbing with a shoulder and neck injury. So it’s going to be a struggle. But as a long-term project it is perfect.

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July 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Tambore del Diablo 7a (redpoint)

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This is a route with a really hard crux move. The rest is quite easy. But moving up to the crux the holds get suddenly much smaller and really crimpy. The actual crux is quite sustained as you have to move around on some small footholds to get the correct angle on the holds. It’s super technical but enjoyable trying to get the sequence. The actual move I have tried a few times on a top rope but always found too hard. You have to move up using a really small one centimetre crimp lay away for the left hand for a rounded horizontal pinch quite a long way up and to the right. Then get your feet up for the finish of the crux move with a delicate reach up for a good hold. It gets easier but the final move to the next clip are quite delicate and actually require the use of dodgy smear with some distance above the last bolt. So it keeps up the value for quite a while. The end is then easy.

I pre-cliped the first and second bolt. The first bolt is totally useless and just sits at chest level when you are standing on the starting block. The second bolt is situated so that if you fell clipping it you would be impaled on a rocky spike and suffer a spectacular injury resulting in a broken back and probably irreparable internal/external injuries.

The route has been graded 6c+ for a long time but the latest guide has it as 7a. The other person to do it on who has also done 7c found it very hard for a 6c+. So I feel 7a is accurate.

Written by Journo

June 8, 2010 at 9:15 am

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El Club de los escaladores muertos – 6b+ – on sight

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This is a great route at El Bujeo. Big holds with massive reaches and good foot holds.  The route is obvious so it is just thugging up the rib until you run out of holds and that’s the crux. The hardest move is just a big open handed pinch on the rip and step up on big foot holds. Soft for the grade which is strange as every other route there is hard for the grade? Well it maybe that big pulls are my speciality.

El Club de los escaladroes muertos 6b+

The 6c+ to the right is fierce for the grade Historia Triste. It has three distincly hard moves. It has a Font 6B boulder move start with loads of small crimpy lay away moves and foot movements. Then  onto a rest and then a Font 5+ traverse move using a dodgy pinch and a swing, before a sort off balance rest cramped under the roof and then a Font 6A mantle shelf past the lower off for the finish. Fell off the mantle last time I tried. Any route which has the hardest move at the end is always a quality outing!! Apparently it is 6a+ if you miss the boulder move start. But I tried this and think it is a good 6b+. In my opinion the whole route is a safe 7a or more. Definitely the hardest route to link that I’ve tried.  But maybe I’ll downgrade it once I’ve done it ;).

Historia Triste 6c+ (allegedly!!)

Written by Journo

June 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm