I am with friends in Siruana at the moment for a short sport-climbing holiday. It’s probably the first sport-climbing trip in about 15 years and I have to say it’s been a huge amount of fun. Most of the friends I am with are of a similar age to myself and we all lead very different lifestyles to those we lived 15 or 20 years ago. The past few days have brought back many fond memories of past trips when younger and confirms why we all love climbing so much even whilst failing at it! I’ve heard so much about Siruana over the years but have never had the pleasure of climbing here but it hasn’t disappointed. Quite a few people told me the style was old school and I would have to agree but for me this is definitely a positive. Most of the climbs vary from just off vertical to slightly overhanging and the style generally is fingery and quite technical. Yesterday we bumped in to the legendary Tony Arbones who put up many of the classic Siruana hard routes of the 80s and 90s and is still new routing today. He told me “Margalef for steep hard routes, Siruana for learning to climb”. I don’t think he meant that Siruana was a good place for beginners; it probably isn’t, but that it teaches you good technique. I would have to agree. Some people complain about the sharp holds and after 4 days of climbing we all have sore tips but it was the same back in the day at Buoux when you first arrived except that it was the finger joints that became sore not the tips. Whatever, I love this style of climbing and although it hasn’t as yet resulted in any hard ascents and you could say I’ve had my arse firmly kicked, I can honestly say I don’t care and have enjoyed every minute. Before I left the UK people kept asking me if I had any goals at Siruana and I kept answering that I just wanted to enjoy myself and do lots of climbing and this is what I’ve done. I’ve onsighted up to 7c and failed on a few onsights including Anabolica at Siruana, Rat Apenat at Montsant and a beautiful old school 7c+ called La Crema at Siruana. Having failed to onsight these routes I then failed to redpoint them which although frustrating is no big deal. I have just enjoyed climbing, giving 100% and feeling exhausted at the end of each day knowing that as each day passes I am fitter than the day before. With only a few more days before we return home I think it’s time to try my hand at some redpointing.
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