Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Learning Curve - Europe Part 2

 I had seen many photos of the climbing in Kalymnos and one thing stood out more than anything.... So many tufas! I had only done one Tufa climb before this (Les Colonnettes in Ceuse) so i had some learning to do. I have always enjoyed going to new areas and learning new climbing styles so i was pretty excited to try and master climbing on crazy polished tufas.

Kalymnos. Photo: Wiz Fineron
Kalymnos was great! Everything was so easy and relaxed. There were a few of us staying together so it made it nice and cheap to rent a little apartment.
For the following 6 weeks we had a lot of fun here in kalymnos. Climbing most days, chilling on the beach, slack-lining, swimming, and buzzing around town on scooters! This was the highlight...Racing around the narrow busy streets with some dodgy rented scooter, pushing it to its limit trying to drive up the steep hills with three people squeezed on the back. Helmets..... what are they?

The climbing was great fun, but i have to say it did take me a while to get used to the familiar hollow sounding 'dong' as you climbed on to the thin tufas hanging from the roof. I think they were solid but it definetly crossed my mind a few times "what would happen if this thing ripped off" as i was straddling it... Luckily i never found out the answer, which i am pretty happy about actually.
The technique i found most useful was the 'straddle', at the time when all else begins to fail, wrap your whole legs around them and sit... Wala, you have a no-hands rest!
The constant pinching was endless, each move was another dose of pump often resulting some good air time and bulging forearms. "Can somebody untie my not please....?"

Irmak Thompson feeling the pump after On-sighting her first 7c+ Photo: Wiz Fineron
On the harder climbs the tufas would get much smaller, more like little blobs creating some really cool three dimensional sequences on steep angles. This was great fun to climb.
Again i found my self avoiding the crowds, scouting out areas that seemed to be less busy. This was nice, i like having the crag to your self but it did mean i was very limited... I realized this and it had come to the stage where it was pretty hard to avoid the crowds so i just had to toughen the hell up and get on with it. This was a good mentality and i think it worked... 

We were also lucky enough to be apart of the 'The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival' which was great fun. The Cheap Ass that i am, i was pretty skeptical about paying the 20 euro entry fee, but in the end i definitely feel like it was worth it! A few good days full of climbing, music, slideshows, videos and coming 2nd in the Big Marathon Competition was a bonus! Managed to win a new North Face backpack! That 20 Euros was definitely worth it! Seeing the prize for first place made me wish we tried a little harder.... A Sleeping bag!!!  Maybe we shouldn't have done so much sitting around melting in the heat! Oh well.

Wiz Fineron climbing Dont Call Me Greasy 8b, Kalymnos. Photo: Irmak Thompson.

Towards the end of October the season here was coming to an end. The herds of people were getting smaller and the local restaurants and shops began to close down. It was time for yet another important decision to be made and for me this is always going to be hard. I hate making decisions. Where to go next? hmmmm....  The plan from the very start was to be in Spain for the winter but i felt like it was to early to go there now. So where do i go for the next month?...

Toward the end of my time here i was getting used to having so many people around and began to climb better and more confident and i manage to do many great climbs. Here are some of the harder ones...

>Fun De Chichunne  8a (flash)
>Daniboy 8a (flash)
>Sardonique 8a (2nd go)
>Angelica 8a (2nd go)
>Gaia 8b
>O Draconian Devil 8b
> Dont call Me Greasy 8b
>Lucky Luca Extension 8b+

 In the back of my mind i still wanted to be stronger (always stronger) so this is where my master idea came from... "Lets go train hard for the next month and get strong for Spain" So this was the plan. I got in contact with the master of training him self, Alex Megos and before long i arrived back in Germany psyched out of my mind and ready for a long and brutal training cycle.
Together with myself, Alex, and Melissa, Team Motivation was ready to attack the Gym hard!

Dont Call Me Greasy 8b. Photo Irmak Thompson

Ive been here in Germany now for about five weeks and its been great! Waking up every morning in a lot of pain (good pain) but with a smile on my face and ready to train again! This was the pattern  of everyday. Wake up, big breakfast, chill, then train our butts off in the evening! Psyched! I am stronger than Hulk now so watch out.
Just want to say a huge Thank You to Alex and his family for having me for the past five or so weeks! Its been great and i have had a really great time. Hope to return soon. Thanks guys!

Feeling beaten and ready for a few days off, its time to get the brain thinking again and organize the trip to Spain. Pretty damn psyched for some hard Rock Climbing now!

Next stop Margalef, Spain!!!! Psyched!

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