Words & Photos by Maya Zakreski
Every 15 minutes the church bells go off. After some time you begin to not even notice the rattling ring that is sent through the town every 15 minutes. It blends in with daily life, just like the song that plays twice a day. It goes off once at 10 am and once at 5pm, followed with a message I will never understand, spoken in a deep tone by a man speaking Catalan.
I woke up and looked out my window towards the beautiful sunrise. It is colorful, orange and pink, as the sun peeks around the mountains. It is easy to wake up when you know that in a few hours you will be climbing at some of the best crags out there.
I make a simple breakfast, adding in lots of fruit that we picked up from the local market that takes place twice a week down the road. After I finish my breakfast, I begin to make my lunch. Cutting open a large fresh baked baguette, still warm as it only came out of the oven an hour ago. I spread pesto on one side and perfectly align meat on the other. I top it off with a few slices of cheese and lettuce, fold it, and carefully put it back into the bag the baguette came in.
The windy road feels never ending. Soon enough, I see the small sign that points left towards Siurana. We make a sharp turn left, and soon enough you look up and all there is is tall smooth rock stretching for what looks like miles. On the final curve you look left and see a huge horse shoe shaped half ring of rock.
The vans pulls over and stops. I jump out, grab my crag pack and begin the hike to the climbing. We climb and get in a few warmups, but soon enough the sun starts to peak around the corner. Heating the rock and turning the savage crimps into greasy holds that your hands slip on like attempting to grab butter. The sun is not a bad thing because this means that the beautiful 8a line across the crag is now moving into the shade. I pack up my stuff and head down into the valley and then up towards the ledges. Once I arrive, I am forced to harness up and clip into a rope hung across the side of the rock. I traverse along the small ledges looking over the edge. It soon widens out. From here I decide it is lunch time. I find a flat rock and sit down while reaching into the depths of my back-pack to find my sandwich. I pull apart the bag and look at my beautiful creation, still as beautiful as when I first made it, just a bit more crushed. I bite in and the taste overwhelms me. It’s a delicious masterpiece.
I am put in a food coma after finishing my sandwich. I pull out my rope bag and lie down on it to take a quick nap. I am awoken by the echoes of people cheering for someone who has just sent from across the crag. This encourages me to get up and work on my own project. I begin to work on my own project, making small links here and there, and slowly making enough progress to where I think I can send it soon.
Eventually the day has come to an end and I pack up my bag, repel down from the ledges and hike back to the vans. I feel tired but have made good progress. I look forward to the next climbing day and envision that I can link just a few more moves and send the hardest climb I have ever attempted. With this in thought I am aware I need sleep to be strong, and so I fall asleep feeling full from my masterpiece sandwich and happy with my progress.
Words & Photos by Maya Zakreski