Window of Opportunity

December 17, 2009

Closed.  That’s how the window of opportunity is at the moment.

A wave of cold cold temps in sync with clear blue skies and 0% humidity blew through Sintra these past 3 days.  They were accompanied by fanatic bouldering sessions, the Mecca sector saw most of the action.

On the first day Mecca saw >20 climbers giving it their all on these excellent boulders, trad climbers, sport climbers, male and female climbers, old and young.  The action that concerned me revolved around two boulders: Stoneedge and Menir, two beautiful compression problems on prows that face each other.  The first session was on the stand to Menir, which despite many tries by Nico and I did not see a FA, a beautiful line that will someday see a full sitdown ascent, the provisional grade for the stand is 7b+ (V8), the sit adds 3 moves that haven’t been done yet but are themselves no lower than 7b+.

Myself on the first move of the stand to Menir, excellent photography by, of course, Macau:

We then moved to Stoneedge, a few days before I got the FA of the stand to Stoneedge and the sit was still a puzzle, but with the aid of some of the strongest boulderers (André, Nico, Pena and leading them, of course: Gonçalo) a short person sequence was figured out.  The problem didn’t go though, the stand is 7b+ and similarly to Menir the sit adds 3 hard compression moves which are by themselves about a hard 7b or soft 7b+.

Despite the many attempts on these problems the night was just warming up.  We then moved on to see two more gems: Solaris and Supa Hiro, one weighing in at 7c+ (V10) and the other at 8a (V11) and both having only seen one ascent… you guessed it, by Macau.  Both lines are very aesthetic and unique, Solaris having slopey holds and involving a large campus move, and Supa Hiro involving long moves on sharp crimps!!

Myself on Solaris, setting up for the campus move, photo by Macau:

The attempts were valiant and both Nico and Andre managed to solve the campus move, though the difficulty did not end there and only Andre managed to figure out the final deceptively tricky mantel.

By this time most of us could feel that our skin was nearing its final push, many of those 20+ climbers had had enough too and slowly trickled out of the boulder forest.  But for the most fanatic one more boulder needed to be visited: Supa Hiro!  Pena, Nico, Andre and I gave it good goes but the two-move crux sequence was beyond our abilities that day.  The crimps too small and sharp and the reach too long.

Below, myself on the beginning of the Supa Hiro crux, photo by Macau:

Two days later, yesterday, Mecca saw some more action but my a reduced number of climbers.  This was the last day of single-digit temperatures.  Nico and I gave strong burns on the sit start to Stoneedge and to Eduardo Maos de Strappal (7c) and Nico finally managed to piece together and top out Eduardo and I was tantalizingly close… Stoneedge is still up for grabs but not for long!

Today it’s raining and the temps are up… from my house I can see the mountain of Sintra and am anxiously waiting for an opening in the weather.  To facilitate my waiting I have received some help from my sponsors at Evolve:

The Pontas and Pontas Lace-up which I have already used and am a fan of (Pontas for bouldering and the lace-up for sport) and now the new generation, G2, of the Talons and the Predators, these are seriously downturned, aggressive, and the rubber looks sturdier.  I will be testing these and writing about these very soon, as soon as the weather clears up!!!


One comment

  1. It sounds like you are climbing super strong, my friend. I am glad that you are so often on the rocks. I am inspired to come visit Portugal sometime to climb; however, I doubt you will still be there when I am able to go…unless, of course, you stay there for good.

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