Summer has arrived, or so it seemed, why else would the thermometer say 25degrees! But it was still only February 8th. A dream for most, blazing sunshine, five days in a row without a cloud or a breath of wind. But you can’t please everyone, and I couldn’t help but let out a little whinge as I slipped off the last moves of Blomu, a 35m 8c+ at Santa Linya. The route bakes in the sun from the moment it rises to the moment it sets, and I was not keen enough to be at the crag and warmed up before the glassy slopers turned to soap. Being British though, whinging is to be expected!
But it was only a small whinge. At this time even
So I take a more relaxed tact with Rab Carrington and aim for the hills away from power and steepness. The area of Villanova De Mela is beautiful. It has a mountain feel, fresh and remote, but is actually just an hour from the towns. We opted for a 4 pitch route, high above the valley floor that was still frosted and dark in the shadows. The route was immaculate, not a speck of loose rock, every move perfect, never hard, never easy. Belaying at the top in a T-shirt it’s easy to see why anyone would fall in love with climbing. Surely this is what it’s all about, the true essence of our sport.
But somehow I’m back in the cave. My second morning on this route made it clear that I could have done it, would have done it, if it had been cold. I was happy with that. Two quick sessions to nail an 8c+ is good going. It was pleasing after such a long lay off. But I hadn’t actually done it, so I was back next day 40 minutes earlier and battling up the warm up with frozen fingers, but knowing in less than 90 minutes I’d be sunbathing in my shorts. This time, with a tick in the bag, summer felt far more agreeable!