Three or four years ago I found a really good boulder in the Vicdessos valley, near the popular and developed area of Laramade. I was very surprised no one had found it before, being about 45 degree overhanging some evidence of cleaning or chalk would have been visible, but nothing showed any sign of having been climbed on.
Initially the wall seemed very hard. I spent about a year with the occasional visits spent trying moving and envisaging the lines. After a couple of forays up the far left and far right of the face at about 6c /7a ish I decided the original line I was trying was too hard, it was not an eliminate but it did not necessarily follow the easiest line. Two years ago, I started to understand that climbing the easiest line was also in fact quite hard.
I feel very ambivalent about climbing this problem. I expected a far greater sense of joy. I think that having a long term project over a period when so much has happened and changed; deaths, marriage, births, global pandemic and Brexit. That it is what it is and that is not much at all. I thought I was having an existential crisis, but I think in reality my reaction is actually in proportion.
I looked in the woods and I found a very promising unclimbed boulder. I came back with brushes and a ladder and cleaned the moss and dirt from the boulder. Revealed beneath was a prow of granite, hidden in the trees, a thing of interest a thing of desire. On my second visit I began to piece the moves together, complex yes, but everything seemed to be in the right place, every move was powerful and interesting. I’d found a beauty.
It’s now a project, it’s harder than I thought. Thirteen moves long, none easy a mid way crux and a difficult finish.
I went for a long drive to go bouldering; in the end I didn’t climb much at all. After crossing the Pyrenees I drove across vast tracts of empty arid Spanish landscapes, boggling in its scale and occasionally marvelling at its detail. I had plenty of time to think on this long journey. Bouldering has for a few weeks lost some magic, relentless failure and snow has left me jaded, the pursuit of projects had numbed my desire. The trip was cut short, just too much snow, I was back home and today drove out to look at some recent discoveries and to try an old project. Exploration and newness left me refreshed and invigorated, this is what bouldering for me has always been about, the creative, unknown, the possibilities.
One night whilst away I drank a bottle of wine in a white plastic hotel room and watched on rolling news the unfolding spectacle that is Trump. I’ve been completely out of touch from mainstream news media, only getting the endless second hand horror from Facebook. Are we moving into an un-theorised phenomenological era? There has never been TRUTH, any event or happening or experience is always represented and mediated, always serves a specific discourse, there is always a transition and an impossibility to represent the act itself. A ‘post truth’ world, of ‘alternate facts’ and ‘falsehoods’. The FB’s, the tweeters, the instagrammers, are a generation of experience seekers, their lives documented and sprayed for all to see, nowadays a life or experience without mediation means nothing…Beuys and Warhol in different ways prescient…and in principle the contestation of truth is a good thing. This directly leads us to a world where politicians are celebs, the message is a massage, the desire for popularity, success and winning comes at a price. That price is mass idiocy. An opinion, is an opinion is an opinion and we get Trump and Brexit.
Let’s build a bridge across the Atlantic, a wall to divide America from Mexico, let China suffocate, all the animals are dead, the world is too hot, burnt toast is bad for you…
It’s been a period of change, flux and transition. I’ve sold my house in Marazion and moved to France, with a fair bit of drifting and driving in between. It’s very strange to have moved, it’s not something I have done much of, now I find myself in the Pyrennes and questioning a little as to why?
There is of course no answer. First thing I have observed and which doesn’t come as a surprise is that it’s so quiet here. This means little distraction, which means you are left pretty much with yourself.
So I have filmed a couple of cool problems at Laramade, which is a better bouldering spot than I thought it would be, these two problems are a minute from the car park! I’ve also put up a fingerboard, drunk some wine, done some writing and been for a walk…