My main focus this year has been trad climbing for various reasons; I thought it would be a better focus as I wasn’t really feeling the love for a year of training hard and having projects. I think most people will agree that this has been one of the best years to date to get out on the mountain crags.

However Alex and I had planned a two week trip to Ceuse in August and a few mates were mentioning a possible trip to Spain in the dreary winter months. I was going to write about Ceuse a while back but other events took hold and it seemed silly to then write about it. I wouldn’t say that either trip stood out as being the hardest climbs I have ever done but I flashed some good routes and got a chance to climb at two areas I have never been to. I’m hoping the next few years will bring more trips abroad for longer periods of time.

You can’t go to Ceuse and not be impressed unless you are a humbug! It stands out proud atop a hill – an hour long walk in that gets you incredibly fit. The first day up I was gasping for breath near the top but by the end of the two weeks the walk in was actually enjoyable, especially with some psych music going. I had fun trying lots of routes with a 3 go rule and I had a play on a couple of harder things for next time.

It was hard not to have a good trip; with good company (you know who you are), nice wine and some lovely days chilling in between with delicious ice creams. Although the run outs are notorious in Ceuse some of them were fun but some of them were definitely scary – even coming from a trad climber!

Highlights of this trip included:

Dietetic Line 7b – onsight

Super Mickey 7b – flash

Vagabond 7c – flash

Priviliege du Serpent 7c+  – 2nd go and Mirage 7c+ – 2nd go both in the same day

L’ami Caouette – 3rd redpoint

Looking at the next moves - Alex Haslehurst
Looking at the next moves – Alex Haslehurst
Trying hard but no success - Alex Haslehurst
Trying hard but no success – Alex Haslehurst
One for next time - Alex Haslehurst
One for next time – Alex Haslehurst
A very enjoyable route - Alex Haslehurst
A very enjoyable route – Alex Haslehurst
Happy after smashing in L'ami Caouette - Alex Haslehurst
Happy after smashing in L’ami Caouette – Alex Haslehurst
Lucinda Whittaker smashing in a 7a post pregnancy; pretty inspiring - Alex Haslehurst
Lucinda Whittaker smashing in a 7a post pregnancy; pretty inspiring – Alex Haslehurst
Rob doing what he does best; being special - Alex Haslehurst
Rob doing what he does best; being special – Alex Haslehurst
Alex Haslehurst self portrait - never leave pictures on the camera that you may not want to appear publicly ;)
Alex Haslehurst self portrait – never leave pictures on the camera that you may not want to appear publicly 😉

For Spain I wasn’t sure whether to go onsighting or find a project and I think this meant that I found it hard to find motivation. I came away from the end of this trip with mixed emotions. I felt like I had climbed well on routes I did but I also felt like I hadn’t really pushed myself.

I would love to go back and I particularly enjoyed Tres Ponts and Oliana. Again with Oliana it is a world class crag with plenty of hard routes to go at. I had a play on one of the never ending 50m routes and was pleasantly surprised to get all the moves first go up. I had a couple of goes but was falling off due to mega cold hands, I am keen to head back though to give this route another go but a bit of winter training is definitely needed first!!

Spain has a ridiculous amount of world class crags with mega long routes, it’s hard not to be impressed and also a little intimidated by some of the crags and numerous strong people climbing at the crags. The interesting thing about some of the crags we went to is that the hard routes felt about right but the easy routes felt absolutely desperate – some of the 6b’s felt as hard as the 7b’s!!

Highlights of this trip included:

El Segre 8a – half flash/half onsight

Orient 7c/+ – flash and Energia Positiva 7c+ – flash  both in the same day

Ke Bo Ke Sta El Pa Africa  7c – flash

Dave Evans cruising Ke Bo Ke Sta El Pa Africa at Collegats
Dave Evans cruising Ke Bo Ke Sta El Pa Africa at Collegats
Cute cat psyching up to jump at the ranch
Cute cat psyching up to jump at the ranch

Anyway I’m now back from my trip and I may squeeze the odd day in outdoors (I already managed a couple) but my head is definitely leaning towards indoor training mode as I suffer from bad circulation – ice block hands and feet! 😦

I hope everyone enjoys the winter season and has a very nice Xmas and New Year 🙂

Finally as this will probably be my last blog for this year thanks to DMM, Mountain Hardwear and Five Ten for their support with kit to help me climb and keep warm!

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