Well here I am again. EL portal. My preferred neighborhood cafe as the staff is friendly and the wi-fi is okay. The coffee is acceptable but nothing outstanding. We came here almost daily during the winter. We would wear our down jackets inside and fight for the seat next to the dull heater. Last time I sat at this restaurant I was freezing and mostly heart broken. I feel quite differently now.
Today, a spring breeze whips through the narrow streets and gives life to the colorful drying laundry of this charming little village. The warmth in the air is so calming and pleasant. It’s Easter – a huge holiday in Spain – and the town is bustling. Traffic clogs the main street as vacationers sprint to Andorra and search for picnics necessities at the Sunday market. The sun’s rays are intense and white and come from high in the sky.
I feel grateful, I feel accomplished, my heart is full, the sun is shining. Life ebbs and flows doesn’t it?
My process with Pachamama has ended. I did the route within a week of my return to Spain. It felt surreal to sit at the anchors, to realize something that for weeks and weeks I was obsessed and overwhelmed with desire to have. The moment I sent was calm. I yelled mostly to tell my belayer, 50 meters below, that I had clipped the anchor but I didn’t so much feel the need to yell from relief or excitement. It was a strangely tranquil experience. Almost like, ‘ huh, well, here I am. This is the moment.’ Not to say that I was not or am not excited. It was biggest, most powerful battle of my climbing life – without question. But I guess the finish, while hugely important to me, was also just a small piece of the experience. I imagine I will look back on this for my whole life. Silly… rock climbing.. huh.
Momentum has been a powerful ally to me for years. It’s rare that I let a send, no matter how big, completely derail my stoke. I know that I’ve usually only got five weeks or so to perform at my very best and I don’t want to waste it. I immediately moved to the right onto ‘Jo Mama’ 15a, a power endurance masterpiece with few resting positions and resistant cruxes throughout. Just some days later I had already sent. I never would dream that I could climb this grade so quickly, ever. The conditions suited me perfectly – warmer with wind – and my power endurance is likely at an all time high after the month at Potosi and some hard days on Pachamama. Still it seems unreal. For me there is at least 1 grade of difference between these two routes. Perhaps it just worked out?
As with before I’ve moved right along. This time to a much different style. ‘Chaxi’ 15a is bouldery and savage. Some great resting positions but also some very serious boulder problems high on the wall. I have a feeling this one will not let itself go as easily… time to get snappy. Onward!
This week expect a full account of my process on ‘Pachamama’ that I wrote for the Arcteryx Blog and also look out for the release of my Pachamama film that I made with the awesome Tara Kerzhner to be released on EpicTV.