Oliana Expectations…

“I really like the idea of the Karma-yoga of action – an act undertaken in detachment from the expectation of a result. To act for the pleasure of acting, to climb for the pleasure of climbing – without looking beyond it.” – Stephanie Bodet in a recent article on UKClimbing

Coll de Nargo in the evening light
Coll de Nargo in the evening light

Upon return from Oliana I felt refreshed, content… January and February had been exceptionally ‘busy’ months; time felt like it had been slipping away, training was not going to plan, and my climbing – infrequent though it was – had been frustrating, going from bad to worse. Yet despite this, I climbed better than ever whilst out in Catalunya – why?

Despite all of the setbacks prior to leaving, I continued to put effort in as/when I could – a traverse around here, a pull-up there – nothing major, nothing structured. I ate well, I continued to practise yoga, and all-in-all tried to lead a healthy lifestyle. Despite not going climbing, I still thought about it a lot: I read Steve McClure’s biography, made lists, and drew pictures of the routes I’d like to do this year. The trip to Oliana had intimidated me and I was definitely worried, it’s one of those crags people don’t recommend visiting until you’re cruising 8’s. Bearing in mind I was failing on 7’s down the wall I knew I was going to have a hard time…

The superb, yet strangely un-named 7a at Oliana
The superb, yet strangely un-named 7a at Oliana

So what was the solution?

For me, it was to focus on the fact that I was, after all, going on holiday. H-O-L-I-D-A-Y: a word that so few climbers (myself included) completely understand:

  1. 1
    an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.

Leisure, recreation, fun – yes, fun.. Heading to Catalunya around this time of year is always a pleasant experience: it’s warm, it’s sunny and the climbing is exceptional. Viewing the trip as a source of stress was misguided (to say the least) and with this in mind I set myself two vague targets:

1) Climb LOTS…

I knew I could do this, it’s an achievable yet vague goal goal. Furthermore, I’ve always enjoyed getting the mileage in (i.e. actually going climbing), the movement is fun and because there’s no numbers involved there’s no need to get stressed. Even if I didn’t manage to get up anything ‘hard’ it would still be a success.

2) Try an 8a

It sounds a bit like I’m grade chasing here, and that I’m contradicting all of what I’ve said above, but much though I may go on and on about how ‘fun’ it all is and how lighthearted I wish to be the long and short of it is that I want a challenge.

In addition to this I was going out with a great group of people who, quite coincidentally, were all going through a similar thought-process to myself. Each of these people had their own personal goals, some of which were achieved, some of which were not, but due to the fact that this trip (for the most part) seemed soley focussed on having fun I think it is safe to say that each and every one of us had a good time.

Mina eyeing up the final headwall on Mishi (8a)
Mina eyeing up the final headwall on Mishi (8a)
Nathan Lee climbing his first 8b - Marrancita
Nathan Lee climbing his first 8b – Marrancita
Katy Whittaker on the unnamed 7a ‘warm-up’, a great little route that we must have done over 100 times between us
Wiz Fineron falling from the final moves of Mind Control (8c)
Wiz Fineron falling from the final moves of Mind Control (8c)
Team Oliana
Team Oliana


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Sport Climbing

One Comment

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  1. Hey Rob, good to see you at the wall. Get in touch if you are up here again during the summer and fancy some Lakes trad!

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