mardi 6 août 2013

Every move counts

The trip to St Petersburg was a gastronomic marathon and included lots of visits to palaces, churches and museums in between extravagant restaurants. Never before have we eaten so many massive meals. The highlight was the Restaurant Palkin on our last day, where liquid nitrogen was used to provide a cloud of gas on the table prior to serving the main dish and, later on, to make fresh ice cream in front of our eyes. I had a huge slab of bull flambe'd in 30 year old Noe. This course alone cost 4400 reubles (well over 100 euros!) so it's just as well everything was free! The trip was great fun and we learnt a great deal about the history of the city, although we did feel totally pogged out by the end.

The Restaurant Palkin, where Mougins School staff ate like kings!

It was with relief that we headed off in the Cali to get back in shape. Or that's what we intended. However, it was really too hot and sweaty in the Tarn where it was impossible to do anything harder than 7b!! Disappointed we headed back to St Leger to meet up with Nathan Hoette and Heather Trevarthan (two young, hard core travelling climbers from Australia) who we spent some time with before going to Russia. Again, the heat put a stop to realising some great routes on redpoint. I have an ever growing list of projects there in need of finishing. Mind you the high temps didn't stop Pierre Delas from sending Leviathan (8b++) or Nathan from sending Les Amateurs des grosses essaims (8c). Demoralised after spending 4 days to send a 7b+ (during which Nathan told me "not to worry - every move counts") we packed up and headed home for a couple of days.

Next destination was the Ariege, specifically the Grotte de Sabart (where we last climbed some 10 years ago) hoping to find the cave nice and cool. Alas, t'was not to be, though we did arrive late the first day. I got shut down by the heat on El Chico and Como un tigre, with sweat pouring out of every pore. It was great to meet up with legend Stevie Haston in his local "habitat", trading tales and moaning about youth (or rather the lack of it, as far as we were concerned!). He has mellowed a lot since I last saw him in Wales probably in the 80's (possibly due to his very calm French wife Laurence and all the yoga they do). He is the perfect example of motivation and what you can do if you put in the effort. He is still super strong and probably the most motivated grand dad in the world! He is currently working a project that he reckons will take 3 to 5 months and will need careful attention to diet, resting and so on. How awesome is that? I'm sure it'll take him less time than that but, as Stevie said "Sabart ain't going away anywhere soon!". I hope we get chance to meet up again some time soon. We then spent some ace, stress-free days bouldering at Orlu (which has great circuits on super grippy granite) despite the 41 degrees C.

Back home, a day at Jurassic Park in the fantastic Gorges du Loup to see just how bad things were. The usual repertoire of great routes no problem, despite feeling like they were completed in a sauna! Ok, perhaps it does help a little knowing just exactly where every knee bar is, I suppose. Still, it was just pure pleasure to go climbing without dogging on the end of the rope for a change.

Which makes me think about the point of going away trying to climb in summer. We get 2 whole months off and it is almost impossible to climb at your limit in Europe. How frustrating is that?
At the end of the day, Stevie Haston cooling down on Baby Sabart 7c+

Elaine on what we called Colin Binks' problem (5b) at Orlu.

Elaine again at Orlu.
Of course, it doesn't really matter how hot or how sweaty it is as long as you're having lots of fun. So, there you go. Until next time!

Hot and sweaty on El Chico (photo by Laurence Gouault Haston)

1 commentaire:

  1. Might seem weird suggestion but you might want to consider the UK - desperate times require desperate measures,