Some of my favourite climbing in El Chorro is on the great big overhanging, jug-fest, tuffa-ville, forearm exploding, super-long endurance test-pieces. As we have had a lot of rain over the last few weeks the big tuffas have been sweating water like the climbers trying to crush them. In fact most of the overhanging rock has been seeping for a while, especially in the mornings before the sun hits it and drys it out for us.
|Poema de Roca Cave. Photo courtesy of Patrick Pearce|
So I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks on more vertical offerings in the area. This style of climbing suits me better at the minute as I can compensate for my weaker arms with a bit of technique and footwork. And I've also made use of the mileage achieved in the first few weeks to climb smoother and more confidently. At least until I confidently and smoothly fall at the crux on some of the harder routes.
The search for vertical climbs has taken advantage of some fantastic sectors in the area with trips to Escalera Arabe and its beautiful views over the valley.
|Darren at Escalera Arabe.|
Photo courtesy of Patrick Pearce.
|El Polvorin. Photo courtesy of Patrick Pearce|
A lot of climbing is down to arm and finger strength but sometimes it's this strength that can be a disadvantage, especially when we get closer to our max. More and more I use the term you're just too strong when I try to give advice to climbers. Learning to let go a bit and climb at your weakest brings you closer to the smoothness and effortless movement that allows you to arrive at those harder cruxes fresh and with plenty of power to push through.
|Tom Ireson on Ace Ventura 8a/+.|
Prize winning photo courtesy of Patrick Pearce.
On a wee side note...
All pictures are courtesy of Patrick Pearce. The difference between my point and click approach and his understanding of the intricacies of creating something special and beautiful are so evident in the atmosphere and emotion he is able to portray in his artwork. His pictures include the Petzl competition winning picture of Tom Ireson on Ace Ventura (above).
The great news is that Patrick is in El Chorro for the season and you can hire him for the day.
Contact him for more details - firstname.lastname@example.org