So the last week or so has been both good and bad, mostly in terms of the weather. As an outdoor trip, we are constantly relying on the weather to show its hand and then we can get on with things or just chill out for the day. As it turns out, since we went diving we have done an equal amount of both. On days off we have chilled in the local library or gone to the cinema, it great that nearly all films in Croatia are subtitled and therefore we are taking advantage of this fact and seeing a few films as this is something we have not been able to do much on this European tour!
On the days on it has been climbing, climbing and more climbing. Part of my plan on this trip was to improve the grade of my sport climbing, where you climb and clip into bolts as you go for protection. I have been ushering my UK Climbing log book to work out my average climbing grade and then making sure that I never climb below this, as well as this I set aims such as as being able to climb cleanly the grade of 6a, as most people can do this naturally, however I have found it hard to continuously climb at this grade and over the last few years my logbook shows that I have been climbing lower.
So when we did climb we went to a small crag near a small town called Brela, here we started on a 100m multipitch graded at 6a and found it all weirdly easy. Every pitch or climb I do I psyche myself up before and at every rest point, work out the moves in my head, think the puzzle through, however this was so easy I just cruised up. Throughout the rest of the day we climbed a couple more 6a and a 6a+, at the end of the day I thought I would push the grade of my climbing further by attempting a 6b+, a big jump in grade and ability. Weirdly I climbed really well and completed the climb with only one rest, had I not had this, it would have been my hardest onsight to date by a whole plus sign! All in all a good day.
The next day looked sketchy, and so we hung around for another day in Brela as the quality of the rock was good. Again we had a really good day, starting at the average grade of 5c, then onsighting a couple of 6a+ routes, which had some really tricky sections to overcome. Finally to end the day I fancied the look of a 6c+, mainly as there were no b grades close by, I got half way up the route before encountering difficulties, I tried and tried and in the end burnt out before calling it a day and aiding what was obviously the crux. I tried to top rope this, however again I struggled, maybe on a good and fresh day, however after two days of staying ahead of my average grade I was obviously pumped out and ready for rest. Jess had a go on the climb next to this, another 6a+, she struggle on the crux and although tired I went up to clear the route, and my god it was a hard one! A bulge section, neighbouring the 6c crux was a nightmare, moving on slopey holds and poorly placed feet, although I eventually overcame this and gained better standing it was not without effort. Maybe it was the end of the day, or just fact but I felt that this was only a little less harder that the c next to it.
We left this area and headed back to split as bad weather was encroaching again, and after this we managed a day at Marjan, just outside the city centre. This was a bad day at the crag for the most part, I struggled up polished routes, even the 5c routes were terrible, a 6a plus route was on sighted and followed by a failiure on a 5c. The highlight was a hugely overhanging (for me at least) 6a called Sara, where lots of jugs did not help overly against the forces of gravity, as my arms pumped all the way to the finish, I felt like my forearms belonged to the hulk afterwards! All in all a bad day at the crag, but ups and downs are bound to happen.
To top all this climbing off is the constant fantastic scenery that we are treated to off the coast line everyday. Some of the sunsets have only been captured in memory, whereas others are encapsulated by photo. Either way they have been amazing these last few weeks and hopefully there are more to come. I believe we will be heading slowly north and away from Croatia, and finding out how much cold we can suffer in our van! I reckon we are in for a few cold weeks when we do!