February 11, 2008 George Foster

Sunny Siurana

I’ve just got back from 10 days clipping bolts in Siurana, Spain and it was bloody ace!! By far the best roc-trip i reckon i’ve been on, pipping the previous best (Squamish) to the post by a distance, which i thought was going to be impossible.

The team consisted of myself (obviously), the two young crushers George and Jake, cameraman extraordinaire Dave and the would-be romance novelist Rach. Together we left Liverpool airport on the 29th Jan and flew direct to Reus (just south of Barca) before getting a taxi over and up the hills to the little village of Siurana, home to the posh and famous (?). After making sure we had enough food to keep us alive for the next few days, which meant basically clearing out the shops of Cornudella de Montsant, we celebrated our arrival in one of Spains best climbing venues by having…..a nice sensible early night.

Before i write anymore i’ll just let you know i can’t really be arsed talking about EVERY single climb, which would be dull as anything anyway, so i’ll just highlight the best bits, which is still quite a bit!

Anyone who has been to Siurana will no doubt have been for a look at La Rambla at Sector El Pati and will also no doubt have kept walking to L’Holla crag (which featured a lot as a destination), with a plethora (get me!) of hard, short power routes from 7b+ to 8b+. This gives lots to go at if you’re approaching ‘beast’ status, so unfortunately i had to settle for some of the easier, not so good routes away from the main attractions, which included some nice 6c-7a+ routes. George, however, is an aspirant ‘beast’ and warmed up (!) on the classic Bistec de Bisceps 7b+ (see pic) before getting on some of the 8’s further to the left.

Unfortunately no-one else managed to make a great deal of progress on it, especially so early on in the trip before we had got used to the climbing (weak, weak excuse!).

Another crag that managed to hold our interest a fair bit was Can Piggy Piggy (ot the actual spelling but it sounds like that and i can’t remember the actual name off the top of my head). This is home to some of the hardest and, in my view, best lines in Siurana, with no less than one million 3 star 8’s and above on the main face, supported by truly world-class 7’s and 6’s on the flanks. It is home to Rich Simpson’s 9a A Muerte, loads of Toni Arbones (GOD) creations like the uber-classic Anabolica 8a, at least i think it was he who equipped it, plus routes like L’Odi Social 8c+ and the best 6c+ and 7b i have ever got on! High on the list for George was Anabolica (see pics) which Dave, who is making a film due out in November this year in time for the KMFF, wanted to catch on camera.

Looking smart for the cameras and with a healthy dose of crush!

After this, and at the same crag, the boy wonder Jake got |——————| (actual size) that close to onsighting the 7b i mentioned before, falling off after what turned out to be the crux when he made a grab for the wrong crimp….doh!

Monday morning, Jakes birthday, dawned bright and clear and so whilst i missioned into town to get some more food (i bloody love walking me!) the rest of the crew headed over to Espero Primavera in the valley to get on some of the tech classics, culminating in Jake crushing Mangora (?) 7b+ second go, not bad for a birthday present, though his next one wasn’t so good! I caught up with them back at the awesome L’Holla where another round on the 8’s from George left Jake psyched to try another 7b+ just to the right, involving some crimpy mono horror climbing with a healthy run out right at the top. It was here that the pump from the earlier routes caught up with him and he took a nasty fall right by the chains which resulted in two chipped teeth and a split lip! OUCH!

Still though the party we had in the evening will go down as one of the most memorable in Siurana history (!?), it was that night that we drank what amounted to just 4 small cans of beer and about 2 pints of wine each meaning that by 10pm we were truly and embarrassingly wasted! We did however manage to alienate everyone in the campsite bar and make total tits out of ourselves running about like drunken morons in the short time we were active – sorry!

After a hangover day where George finally put to bed Anabolica and i managed to all but rupture a pulley (spelling the end of climbing for the next month or so) we headed over to El Pati and L’Holla (again!) for Dave to film some kiwi chick who wanted photos and shots on an 8a she had done the day before. Now this is all well and good but it showed us all a totally different side to climbing, the life of the sponsored idiot (i’m obviously not saying that all sponsored heroes are like this at all!) who upon realising he had forgotten his sponsors t-shirt was relieved to get an array of stickers off the kiwi for his trousers. The pain of not being able to show off his free gear was evident and frankly pathetic! What happened to climbing for the love of climbing?? Its sad that people give a shit about the photographer getting their best side and catching so-and-so’s logo rather than the quality of the route, no matter what the grade. Obviously people need to make a living and that but come on, get over yourselves, is it really like that?!? Interestingly something closer to home illustrates this point perfectly where another photographer was asked not to take pics of James Pearson on The Groove (crushage by the way) because the ‘great’ photographer had exclusive rights for an article (que pasa?). Naturally we took the piss and moved on (not big or clever i know but it got the point across). (In fact if Sprayway are reading Dave would like to thank them for their continued support and excellent clothing).

On our last night we managed to get a lift down to Cornudella with a very cool Belgian guy (cheers man) and stayed at Climbing Planet (cool place, but dont ask about desserts if you’re eating there….in fact do and get ready to laugh!) before getting the early bus through to Reus and the plane home.

Spain, and in particular Siurana, is truly world class and i’ll definately be back. If you’ve not been yet, go. Oh and as little side-note don’t ever read ‘Kiss Chase’ it’s not very good at all (sorry Rach).

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