So Good To Be Back

September 2, 2009

Yes, it really feels so good to be back in Sintra, Portugal.  This is the beginning of a 10 month long visit, we arrived yesterday morning, and today I went bouldering in the magical land of Sintra.

Sintra really is a magical place, the forest, the boulders, the springs… the ocean, the cliffside, the village… it has always felt special to me and more so now that I am here with my parents and my family.  The last time I was here was two and half years ago, at that time there were not many people bouldering in the woods, there was a afficionado group but not many people.  During those two years the bouldering community has seen a large rise and a group of 5 or 6 Sintraddicts have been opening new and beautiful lines in these boulders.  I was eager to meet this crew and to meet those boulders.

Today was the first day and I my top priority was to take it easy.  The granite in Sintra is rough, like the coarsest type of sandpaper but even coarser, so each climbing session innevitably leaves the fingers raw; also, I hadn’t climbed outdoors in a while and I know it takes me a few days to adapt, and I definitely wanted to avoid injuries right of the bat.

At 4pm I arrived at the boulders, just 25-30mins from my home here, and immediately met up with a friend I knew from before, Bruno, and one of the more addicted climbers from the new generation: Pena.  The location where we started was the most conducive to “taking it easy” since it has one main proud boulder: Kalashnikov (V9) but I managed to not abuse it too much.  What I immediately noticed was that the griains gripped onto the calousy parts of my fingers and ripped good chunks (no flappers though, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a flapper!) and that my grip was very slick.  Pena had been getting close to sending Kalashnikov but the entry moves were very dicey, I gave him the beta I had figured out two and a half years ago and he strongly dispatched the problem in a handful more turns!

Pena KalashnikovIMG_4789

This is a really sweet problem, beautiful line and the first V9 (7c) in Sintra.

After this Pena, Bruno and Rasta wanted to show me another classic which was Karma da Serra.  When we arrived at the bloc I realized that I knew this line because I had been present 6-7 years ago when Leo and Macau envisioned the sit-start of this line.  It goes at around V8/7b+ and is very pretty.  I did the easier stand start (6c+/V4 ish) and then gave a good flash burn on the full line.  I also figured out different beta than what was being suggested and felt very close to sending, I’m sure this will go soon with cooler temps and a few more days of acclimatizing.

IMG_4799IMG_4793We then left to check out Massa Expansiva which houses a 7a+, 7b, and 7c.  We played on that bloc for a while but the temps were not providing the grip which it so needed so we decided to jump on Boomerang (7b) to close the day; Pena quickly repeated the line and Rasta and I tried it a couple of times, both of us getting close but having to leave it for another day.  No photos from those two lines.

In all it was a good first day back, I wanted to take it easy and yet try some classic lines and that is exactly what ended up happening.  Tomorrow I will probably get to see a new sector! and climb with more of the fanatic crew so I’m happy I still have enough skin for that!

Stay tuned, the updates should be rolling in nicely from here on.



One comment

  1. Welcome back!
    Hope to be better from my injuries to join you in Sintra!
    Ricardo Belchior

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