Archive for October, 2009


O Massa Expansiva

October 8, 2009

Good days and bad days and you never know when to expect what really.  Nico messages saying he’s motivated to boulder in Sintra, I haven’t bouldered in the past 4 days (felt like forever!!!) and was starting to feel weak so I was definitely planning on going today!  It had been raining for the past days and today the sun had come out, I prayed that some holds would be dry; Sintra tends to dry fast.

I got to the mountain before Nico so I started looking and feeling the rock, a lot of it was wet, especially the warm up problems that have more positive holds, but the rock felt ok… a little damp but it might be ok with some chalk.  So I got the mini-ladder I brought from home and walked over to one of the remaining hard lines in Peninha – the direct exit to Massa Expansiva.

This bloc is so called because for a while there was talk (fantasy) of using massa expansiva (a substance that you place in a tight spot to open up that place … ya…) to remove one of the rocks and thus open up the possibility of doing super low starts to the existing lines on the bloc.  There are 2 climbs there, Massa Expansiva and Massa Expansiva Direct.  The first climbs two really sweet moves and then involves a awkward move out left to a jug… I have never even tried it because that move looks so contrived… you start with two 3-star moves and then you go to a jug.  The direct version, however, is very nice.  After those two excellent moves on slopey holds you have a 2-finger pocket for your left hand and another 2-finger pocket for your right and then you have to figure out the top (I’m not giving you a step-by-step beta-spray here).

So I chalked up the holds and then Nico shows up and we decide to warm up on a cool looking 7b called Boomerang.  It wasn’t the best warm-up since its a climb that starts of basically campusing to a bad sloper with your left hand and then going again to a further better sloper… but it worked; we tried a variety of different beta on it until we finally felt warmed up and sent it in succession.  Motivated we decided to try and figure out the exit to Massa Expansiva Dir.  I had no intention of sending it this day since I thought it would be a project for a few days but in the end we both sent it with good style!  Very very good climb!

Still full of energy we drove to Tapada, 30 mins through the mountain, to show Nico Zeitgeist.  In the lonely nights trying this climb I felt that it would become a classic in Sintra and climbing on it again tonight, and seeing Nico enjoying the moves, definitely cemented that feeling.  A good session ensued and Nico managed to get the second ascent of the Zeitgeist sit start on the last go before it was time to leave, I tried to repeat it and came agonizingly close – the moves are excellent and it was a pleasure to climb it again.

An excellent day of climbing!!

Finally, the main news is that today was the first day with cool temperatures in Sintra!!  The winter season is beginning, when 7cs become 6bs and project become cagadas.

Some photos:

Nico and Rances on Abelha Maia a tricky 6c+


Nico on Massa Expansiva Dir. 7c (V9)


Nico working on Zeitgeist:IMG_5195


Good days and Bad days

October 5, 2009

Went to the mountain of Sintra again, super psyched, riding high from the recent great sends!  I decided to start aiming my sights higher, as high as Sintra goes actually: Mito 8a (V11).  I looked at this problem with Macau about three weeks ago, soon after I had arrived; it looked awesome and felt very tough but I felt it to be within my reach.  That’s what a project is.

So I went over to the Mecca, feeling great, the wind in my face, the temps felt great.  I walked over to the warm-up area and set down my things.  Chalked up and did laps on an excellent V2 or something.  And it was about then that things started to feel a little off.  I tried some lines I had previously done and was greasing off them.  What was going on?  And then I noticed that I was sweating.  The temperature had shot up and the humidity was ridiculous for Sintra.  What was going on?  The rock felt like soap.  I kept trying the lines, super frustrated, feeling like a shitty climber.  Arghhh…  Each time I fell the morale got lower and lower.  This is one of the downsides of going climbing alone, when things are going bad there is no-one to joke with, to lighten up the mood.

I packed up my stuff after finally repeating a line I had flashed three weeks ago and doing a traverse line I hand’t tried.  Upon topping out I noticed the large raincoulds in the distance and realized that the humidity and temps were because of the front coming in.

I headed back to the car.  Sitting in the car I planned on leaving Sintra and going back home, or going to the beach… but it didn’t make sense to be here now and to leave…  Sure it was frustrating but that was climbing..  I can’t expect to have rad 7c days every single time.  It was a challenge.  I just felt off.  Thinking of Jonathan Livingston Seagull I drove the car to the Mito parking, removed the crash pads, packed the bags again and hiked the 10 minutes there.

The rock looked just as beautiful as I remembered, even more so.  My fingers were in pain when I touched the rock, the moves felt impossible and the rock felt greasy.  With a more understanding mentality/outlook I spent the next hour working some of the moves, failing relentlessly but persisting.

The sun went down and I headed back to the car feeling some satisfaction.  I’m glad I didn’t leave right away.