Wednesday, May 6

Montserrat and somehow in South France

After 6 weeks in sleepy Cornudella myself and the team were ready for some city life. If Catalunya hadn't already won my heart, ten days between Barcelona and nearby Montserrat finished the process. Barcelona is without a doubt one of my favorite cities in the world. So many places to explore, so many beautiful areas, energetic people, an incredible night life, and all at a shockingly affordable price tag. An amazing crew of climbers and friends assembled for a long weekend between the city and the crags. It was very memorable.

Montserrat is an easy 40 minute drive from the heart of Barcelona. It's a gigantic conglomerate outcropping, speckled with domes and towers of varied rock. Inbetween the old school crags you'll find much older refuges, monasteries and hermit dwellings. Like a maze of rock and trails it's hard to find your way. I looked forward to spectacular landscape, like the pages of a Dr. Sues story, but I had no idea how incredible the climbing would be. It is truly one of the most underrated areas I've ever been to. 

My main stoke was to try 'El Prisonero', the route that broke Spain into the 8b+ range. A true classic, with sequential movement throughout on sloper conglomerate pockets and textured edges. A bold style - long powerful moves - and quite pumpy. Such a pleasure to do this climb. Afterwards, our tour guide Uri pointed out an unrepeated Ramon Julian rig that crosses over El Prisonero, only sharing 3 holds. The defining crux of this route is an explosive move off a horrendously small edge. Well.. after several heart breaking goes on it I broke the edge. Some new beta emerged for me using a even worse sloper, but I was too smoked to try anymore. We came back for more later in the week. I finished the route with my new beta which I was really stoked on. Not sure that this thing even has a name? Kind of a shame as I thought it was a super bad ass route. Ramon said 8c I would agree. 

Nat climbing on a sick 8a+ 'Anillo del Poder' at La Momia. This route and the neighboring 8b 'Julia' are both pumpy, long and unique. Go to Sant Benet and climb these. 

Next day out was a super fun one. We explored Agulla de Senglar. A beautiful wall covered in near perfect routes from 7b to 8b. 'Spirit Final' 8a+, 'Somni Diabolic' 8a, 'Ben Petat' 8a and 'Rush' 7c are some of my favorites I've done on this trip. A stunner of a wall. 

Silfides. All time. Bear Cam Photo. 

Lastly, Cameron, homboy Andre DeFelice and I got very lost looking for the Toxo del Clot del Tambor. An amazing, massive boulder nestled in the Castel zone. When we arrived we were all blown away by 'Silfides' this immaculate 8b on streaks - the line just jumps out to you. But first I was keen to try Ebola 8b+, a bold, traversing route through powerful pocket moves. So amazing. Such pure, bad ass climbing. 

Next up the three of us journeyed to Chamonix for some work with my newest sponsor - Epic TV. This place always shocks me with its beauty. Too bad the weather turned horrible, and actually changed the direction of my last month for this trip... Switzerland was looking grim but Southern France was prime... so here we are... in Ceuse. 

I'm settling into a hard route here and stoked to be back trying a super demanding rig. The views, the people, the vibe.. I'm remembering why I love this place. I had no intensions of ending up here this visit, but hey... I have no complaints.