Sintra on the Evolution Tour

November 21, 2009

Quinta-feira, Thursday, and another night for bouldering in Sintra.  Truth is I have not been bouldering too much recently, a fact I attribute to a combination of reasons.  For one, I have been sport climbing more and really enjoying it; secondly: the weather has been gnarly, either rainy or not rainy but really humid and damp… when will the cold crisp weather arrive?!; and lastly because many/most/all of the projects I had before coming to Portugal have been sent.  There are plenty of lines, plenty!! but the main projects, and the ones that I could climb by myself with two pads, I have already done.

Well, it was a nice week and a half hiatus from bouldering and I was ready to start again.  I met up with Pena and Rasta at the Malveira sector and after an hour we were joined by Philippe Ribiere who is doing a yearlong climbing tour in Europe (the Evolution Tour), this is nearing the end of his tour.  You can check out Philippe’s website here.  The weather was good though not too cold and after 3 short climbs I tried a nice classic called Bife na Pedra (7b), an aethetically nice line with good moves and I got very close but decided to move on and come back to it later when I would be properly warmed-up and moving better (this was not to happen).

We then went to a climb which Pena wanted to try called: Talochas (7b+), this, for me, was the gem of the night.  Upon seeing it I remembered that I had been with Macau when he first scouted this problem, at night about 4 years ago.  The line climbs a really nice rounded corner, starting off with a few reachy and balancy moves to two good crimps, then a long dyno to a slopey left-hand hold leaves you footless and you have to figure out some way to past your feet on the wall to make a long reach to some better holds.  The landing is kind of spicy but can be well protected, you really don’t want to fall higher than the crux though.  We all gave it some good effort and I managed to get the second ascent.  It is hard for me to grade since it involves the mental crux as well but since it got done pretty quickly I might suggest a slightly lower grade.  Regardless, it is a beautiful line with nice committing moves.

That was the gem of the night, the anti-gem was O Bigorna (7a+).  The problem itself is not that bad.  It is an obvious line with a rounded and technical topout that would shrink your nuts if it were any higher than it already is.  It was MY anti-gem of the night because I peeled off the topout, fell on the spotter and twisted my left ankle…  I got back on and managed to send the problem after two more tries but the ankle cooled down and it was definitely not 100% so I couldn’t try any more climbs.  I was worried about further damaging the ankle so even though we went to a few more beautiful lines (Body Pump 7b+/7b, Dinossaurus 7c+ and back to Bife na Pedra) I was unable to give them any significant effort.  I have learned that I can’t boulder at 60% effort… it really has to be at least 90% and with my mind on the ankle I couldn’t do anything.

Two days later and the ankle is feeling better so I don’t think this injury will plague me for more than a week.

Philippe took many pictures of that night and I’ll put them up as soon as I have them.

Update: photo by Philippe of me on the Talochas dyno:

Photo by Philippe of Pena on Talochas:One of my few half-assed attempts at Body Pump, already with a sprained ankle, photo by Philippe.  Pena was so close!!!

Thanks Philippe.


One comment

  1. Max, Lee, now you? There seems to be an ankle-injuring pandemic running through the GRG alumni. I think I’m going to hide until a vaccine is available. Heal up, friend!

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