Archive for April, 2010


Ahlan w Sahlan

April 13, 2010

These past days have been good for bouldering.

Since my last post the fanatic mood in Sintra continued, only today Sintra saying “Enough!  Let me rest!” and pouring down rain.

I sent that 7c I had mentioned in my last post, the victory was very sweet, as has become somewhat costumary I was alone, elated at the top of the boulder, smiling, and not an hour had passed before my mind was already racing with another beautiful line.  Another beautiful project.  The climb is Solaris.  I was climbing with a group of spaniards that day, one of which came very close to sending the 8a version of O Mito, before opening a canyon in his finger.

Myself on O Purgador (photo by Rasta, or Digas… one of the two, or both)

It has been exciting to have so many strong climbers visit Sintra.  To mention some of the ones I can think of right now: Toni LamprechtIsrael Olcina,  Carlos M., Nano, and now Andy Earl.  Exciting to show them our favorite lines and our projects, to see their climbing styles, and their personalities.  It is not uncommon to be opening a new line or trying a climb and to mention how so-and-so would probably cruise the moves that are shutting us down, so it is cool to see so-and-so actually here, working on the same climbs.

Toni cranking hard at O Mito (I know his face is blurred but check out that forearm!)

On the other hand, it is very upsetting that I go climbing on my favorite spot and I find that someone has drawn tickmarks which are, without exageration, over a foot and a half long (something like two palms).  …  Or two large tickmarks for every handhold, like goalposts.  Come on, 1) there is no need for such huge tickmarks, 2) please remove the tickmarks after you finish climbing.  And two friends have commented on how the starting pocket on the classic Kalashnikov has suddenly become significantly deeper… advantages and disadvantages of a climbing spot becoming more well known.

Pena impressing everyone by repeating Americanoide at Baia do Mexilhoeiro

Hippy vibes at Baia do Mexilhoeiro

Rasta repeating Endomorfismo

Easter is over, vacations have finished.  Visitors have flown back to their hometowns.  As Sintra returns to its quiet self I have returned to focus on my projects.  Fitness feels like it is returning (I really need to get back to running) and it is time for me to start putting in the days required for each beautiful project to come one step closer to reality.

Today I went back to Meca.  It is a very beaten area, one of the most visited places, and home to three personal projects.  On one of these I began to see a little more light.  Just at the entrance to the Meca stands a boulder which creates a nice wave feature.  That wave has just enough imperceptible holds to someday be climbed.  First envisioned by Nico Favresse, 4 moves long, each one of them hard and involving a lot of compression, adding up to (in my opinion) no less than 8a.  Today I managed to do the last move.  Definitely not much but it brings the line one small step closer to reality.  “The journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step.”

Since it is at the entrance to the Meca I named it Ahlan w Sahlan meaning “Welcome” in Arabic.

Finishing off with another photo of the dreaded Antonator looking not so intimidating in his underwear and a hat.