Page 18 - SA Mountain Issue 64
P. 18

                                            walking up to el Pati to check out the famous La rambla (9a+). Photo marine drouilly
illuminated  gures in the last orange beams of light. We felt positive that night and, at least for myself, the dusty, freezing camp felt a little more manageable.
we both felt overwhelmed and  at. The weather later that day started to turn, so we went hiking around the area instead. We decided that the forecast of rain, sleet and hail was something to avoid, so we escaped the lavish Siurana campsite, and made for another area of magni cent pockety lines set on a beautiful lake – Margalef.
Catalonia, but we got it anyway.
The Arctic winter winds and rainfall
But, it wouldn’t be an adventure if things didn’t start going wrong. I woke the next morning, as per usual, under a heap of dirt from the previous night’s wind, but this time I had a headache, the chills, and an unpleasant niggle in the back of my throat. Shit, I thought, please don’t let me be coming down with something. I took an ibuprofen for my head and off we went to  nd a new crag, and in true fashion, Marine and I took a ‘short-cut’, which inadvertently turned a 20-minute approach into an hour and a half. We scrambled up loose shale and arrived at countless dead- ends and drop-offs. In the heat and strong, freezing winds, I started feeling worse, weaker and more sluggish. We eventually arrived at the crag, and looking up at
the 35-metre routes that would normally have made me giddy with excitement,
Even though I’ve taken a ton of buses over the years, I’m quite a weakling when it comes to motion sickness, especially on the narrow and winding mountain roads, so I listen to plenty of podcasts to pass the time when I travel. One was an interview with Yosemite big-wall hard man, John Middendorf. He designed the A-frame portaledge, and when he was younger he would pitch his tent in the wettest, most uneven ditch he could  nd. He never wanted a comfortable night because he thought he’d become soft for the big mountains. Neither Marine or I were in that mind-set of suffering our way through
that would make any Capetonian salivate right now, made us abandon Siurana and make the hour-long journey to Margalef, which is known for being steep, staunch, and home to some of the hardest routes in the world like Shama’s First Round First Minute, which is far shorter than one would expect after all the wide-angle videos of it. It’s more like a bolted high- ball boulder problem.
     We arrived to a deserted campsite
that sits in the middle of the town and more resembles a parking lot than a real campsite, but we were both happy to get out of the rainy dust hole of Siurana and into a place where the weather looked more promising and the climbing more pleasant.
We woke to a cold, cloudy overcast sky, but it was de nitely climbable, so we raced off. My  u wasn’t getting that much better, so I swallowed an ibuprofen and
   16 SAMOUNTAIN.CO.ZA MARCH–MAY 2018
cliffs of Siurana. Photo marine drouilly
  




















































































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