Words by Lauren Berry, Photos by Lauren Berry & Simon Reuter
At 7:15am, I wake up to my unnecessarily loud alarm. The only thing dragging me out of bed are the thoughts of perfect Siurana rock. I make myself two fried eggs and breakfast potatoes, and then it’s time for study hall. Unlike ordinary climbing days, at The Climbing Academy, school is a part of every day. I have to focus on my homework assignments, even though I’m dreaming of my project: Buscando a Pepillo. Finally, after an hour of work, we pack lunches for the crag and get to the vans at 9:30. We drive past endless beautiful mountains to the stunning rock at Siurana.
I get out of the van and feel cold immediately. It’s a wonderful feeling because cold means good temps, and good temps mean sending. Before any of that, I need to warm-up. I get on an easy climb to the left of my project. As I climb, I traverse over to my friend Pete and help him find holds on his warm-up. He then challenges me to a race to the top, and of course, I accept. We both climb quickly and I start to pull ahead, but then get to a slightly confusing crux, and slow down. Pete continues going fast and takes the win.
After my one warm up climb, I can’t wait to get on my project, so I give it a warm-up go. I make my way to the top slowly, taking at draws and fine-tuning my sequence. The crux entails using a quarter pad crimp to lock-off to a bad side-pull, then making a big move to a good crimp. The movement and holds feel good this morning, especially with all the friction. I’m incredibly psyched, but definitely need to rest before getting on again. Even warming up on this climb is exhausting.
As I rest, my friend Simon decides to set up a fixed line to take pictures of me on Buscando a Pepillo. After climbing up a 12c to set up a fixed line and jugging up a dynamic rope with an ascender, he is ready to take pictures. With Simon set up, it’s time to send. Excitement and nervousness wash over me simultaneously. I know I can do it, but I have to do every part perfectly. I begin climbing and go through the juggy beginning quickly. I make my way to the crux crimp, set my feet perfectly, and reach up slowly and methodically. As soon as I get a grip on the side-pull I get a bad crimp out left, replace my feet and throw to the good crimp. I stick it. I actually stick it. It’s my first time making it past the crux from the ground, and I refuse to fall now.
Slowly I make my way up the wall, making use of every rest I get since falling off the wall is easy almost anywhere. As I climb the wind keeps blowing my sweater into my face, blocking my vision. Finally when I make it to the ledge, I can fully rest and take off my sweater! Even after 15 minutes of hard climbing, I know it’s not over yet. After a long rest, I begin climbing to the second crux. I grab a slightly downturned edge on a sloper, reach up to a two-finger crimp, then use almost nonexistent feet to throw to a bad crack. I get my feet up even higher and finally make it to the jug. Through a mix of happiness and focus, I finally reach the chains. I excitedly yell out “take” and a giant smile appears on my face!
Soon the day was over and we rush to the vans at 7:30 in an effort to make it to dinner on time. In a hurry, we go directly to the restaurant. I wait for my “especial” vegetarian meal and stuff myself with bread in the mean time. After returning home, we all cram onto the coach and watch episodes of Black Mirror. Soon it’s 11pm and time for lights out. We all fall asleep fast, exhausted after a long day.
Words by Lauren Berry