Monthly Archives: May 2014

Adventure, Politics and Wealth

Hello! It’s me again.

I has been two weeks since my last post.

As I have mentioned in my last post, me and my friend Mindaugas, went to El Chorro, Spain. We have spent a week there, which was not enough. The amount of sport climbing there is just hard to explain. One would need a life time to climb everything, since keen locals are developing crags constantly. The ~7 year old Rockfax guide is probably less than a third of climbing there, there were times when I would get confused over amount of new lines in between the old ones. It was a first time climbing in Spain for us, so we wanted to do as much mileage as we could in 4 days of climbing. The grades I am pleased to share with you are not the highest. On the first day climbing there we were forced to go to Poema de Roca sector, because it was raining. The first go was on the classic 7a Poema de Roca – pumpy and polished route, but very enjoyable climb. I managed to flash a Los site Larrys  (7b) route after watching Mindaugas working and red pointing it. One more 7b was ticked as well. Vete al Infierno is a 15m route with 2 big boulder style moves witch define the grade as it is. The wide range of 6 Bs and Cs me and on-sighted.

Check out the short video I have made. Like it. Comment it. And help me share my passion. Thank you!

Troll UK made sure that I had great and safe experience climbing in Spain by using Climbing Technology quick draws. On windy days I could’t have imagined anything better than Troll Omni trousers. Lightweight and non sticking to legs if I start to sweat on the route, which guarantees freedom of movement. Thanks to Boot Bananas for keeping my shoes nice and fresh after long days of climbing. They are amazing to keep my down sleeping bag odour free as well.

During our rest days, we tried to explore the gorge and the national park as much as time let us to do so. Walking through beautiful gorge (for those who know El Chorro, I am talking about the second gorge, where the rest of the King Walkway reaches the dam) and witnessing some old lines with dusty bolts clicked something in my mind.

Photo by Vaidotas Monstavicius

Photo by Vaidotas Monstavicius

Climbers have to be very passionate for climbing to hike for longer than 1,5 hour with heavy drill and lots of other gear to bolt routes. Unfortunately, we did not climb anything there. Climbs with longer approaches became much more appealing to me, since adventure to get to the crag and great climbing give one immense buzz at the end of the day, and a genuine smile. To help me spend evenings at the campsite I have taken David Gauntlett’s Making is Connecting – great piece of reading. Like in every book there are sentences which stuck in reader’s mind. This time was not an exception. Mr. Gauntlett quoted John Ruskin.

‘<…> that man is richest who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others.

I relate this perfection in my life to rock climbing and outdoors. I have perfected it as much as I could until today, tomorrow I will perfect it by a minuscule on top of of how far I have gone so far. I suppose this attitude helps to stay optimistic and happy person in any given situation. Again, climbing helps me become wealthier and better person. This leads to the previous blog post I have made and talked about simplicity in life. John Ruskin noted that more than one hundred years ago. Maybe it’s about time we learn something instead of repeating the same mistakes all over again…

In the title I mentioned politics. I am not a biggest fan of politics myself, but educated person (I am trying to become one) has to have some basic knowledge. More than five years ago politicians decided to improve El Caminito Del Rey (King’s Walkway). Finally, works have began. However, local climbers and guides who use dot take people to experience the thrill of the walkway might loose access to climbing in the main gorge and some jobs may be lost. On the other hand, the El Chorro would attack more tourists which hopefully will bring more prosperity to local business. As a climber and extreme adventure addict, I think that El Camino Del Rey will lose a big part of its’ character. Then I realize, that climbers are just a minority in this situation and capitalist world will win. Especially in Southern Europe where vast amounts of tourists come for holiday. After talking to locals I have made a picture of the whole situation. It not clear at all and many things might change. Climbers are negotiating with politicians to find a compromise to the whole situation. For us who do not live there or at least don’t climb for prolonged times is not much left to do, apart from stepping aside and watching how it all will end up.

Photo by Mindaugas Palubeckis

Photo by Mindaugas Palubeckis