October 11, 2007

Bye Bye Grotta...

It's been pretty hot the last few days. Temps well into the 80's with little to no sea breeze. So we've been climbing in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. The funniest/not so funniest thing happened to Heather while out in the water. She was attacked by some sort of flesh eating fish! I'm serious. Like a Parana or something. Do they have those in the Aegean Sea? She had a few scabs on her knees and while wading some sort of fish swam right up and bit her scab right off of her leg. She jumped out of the water and ran for dry ground. After this we witnessed another person get munched too. Crazy. At least the Goats greet you with a smile!

We've really come to know so many great people while here. Climbers. Locals. All have been wonderful and pleasant. The nice Polish climbers we met a few days ago wrote in chalk "You can do it" with a smiley face below the writing at the top of the route I've been working on at the Gotta. He and I shared beta and had hopes of climbing together the other evening. We did not make it back in time and so his note was likely a sign of success before they flew back to Poland the next morning. Needless to say It made all the difference making the final crux moves to the anchor this morning! The local people are wonderful too. We often eat at the same places and are greeted with hugs and kisses every time. Heather even got a little birthday surprise after dessert. It was a lot of fun. We are really going to miss this place when we leave late next week.

Climbing has been good. We do the obligatory 6a+ warm up/scare fest before finding the steep routes. It's so funny. This morning i was crying for help on this slabby 6a and fighting the entire way to the top. I swear it was as hard as the 7c i got on my third go today. I AM NOT A GOOD SLAB CLIMBER. As a matter of fact i really don't like it at all! Today was likely our last day at the Grotta since i finished up on the route i had been wanting to do. The last two times we witnessed to accidents. No fun. Both were practically the same thing. A few days ago another Polish couple had just finished a route on the very steep overhanging Grande Grotta and cleaned the route while lowering down. A feat in its own. After getting the last quickdraw he simply let go. Although high enough off the ground not to hit it, he forgot to unclip his tram biner and as a result pulled his belayer (wife) 40ft across the rocks. She got pretty cut up. Then today almost the same thing happened. While he was smart enough to unclip his tram biner, he was dangerously low to the ground. While swinging out (and everyone shouting NNOOOOOO...) he picked up his feet and barely missed the big boulders while going mach ten. Well, the sad part of this story is the weight and force of his swing pulled the belayer up and as if in total slow motion we all watched in horror as the climber swung back into the sharp boulders. Needless to say it ruined climbing for Heather and i the rest of the day. I offered to help carry gear down but there seemed to be enough people to help out. Scary. I think we'll go swimming this afternoon instead of climbing. Purana's anyone??