My Fortress of Solitude 


Life, love, the universe. So many distractions to pull me around. Sometimes, I need to find a way to channel my focus; I need an incentive to drive me toward. I returned from an amazing two weeks in Austria with Claudia primarily being there for the holidays with her but also having climbed some superb routes. 7b+ onsight, near 7c+ flash. Great fun.

Sharing a day on the ledge at Wilhelmswand

Approach to Wilhelmswand

-5C in the shade, belaying out of the snow. BRILLIANT

Walking around in Salzburg, Claudia saw this. I guess you could say the writing is on the wall (photo by Claudia Ziegler)

My time in South Africa is coming to an end, I’m leaving for Austria on the 13th of March. It left me thinking about what I still want to achieve in the time here. My biggest goal is Shear Force and it will be my first 8c. It’s been the hardest line I’ve worked and been an absolute pleasure to climb. But it is seriously hard. I’ve watched Andrew, my mentor and friend, fall off the crux move repeatedly. I’ve seen him struggle and even get hurt by the line.

How am I supposed to climb a line that Andrew couldn’t?


Andrew setting up for the last move in the crux — Photo by Zele Angelides

Andrew Pedley on Shear Force (8c)

Andrew Pedley on Shear Force (8c) — Photo by Zele Angelides

Well, I guess you could say I have to walk my own path. My time is precious and limited. I work all day and I have 2.5 hours of lectures for German on Mondays and Wednesdays. I also want to have a Skype date with Claudia at least once a week for a few hours in the evening.

So what do I need to do?

I chose to compete in the National Boulder League on a Monday. Normally,  competitors have two hours but I can only arrive at 9 and the gym closes at 10. So, I need to race through the problems, 12 in an hour. Perfect quiet day after two days in rock over the weekend (holds up sarcasm sign).


Focusing on the tricky balance problem during the NBL (Photo by Allister Fenton)

Tuesday became my big day. 30 minutes bouldering to warm up, 30 minutes campus training, about 2 hours on the Beastmaker 2000 then 45 minutes core and legs. This is my definition of a hard training session.

My hangboard sessions include two major exercises at the moment. Beastmaker has an amazing training app, I use the 7B program as a benchmark. I struggled severely to complete the 7A at first. This cycle I was able to start at 7B.

A month later, I’m doing the 7B with 9 repeats of 7 on 3 rest with 4 kg extra weight followed by the 7C+ program shortly after. This focuses on power endurance and fiber strength.

If my fingers aren’t too sore afterwards, I do the Chris Webb Parsons program which one discussed in detail previously. This focuses on lock off strength while building crimp strength.

Wednesday I have class again so I either get in a quick session with 15 minutes bouldering for warmup, then 45 minutes on the hangboard and campus board. This session is normally designed to be a bit easier than the past few days so that I can move freely on the wall or work slightly different muscles than the previous day’s training.

Thursday became either a really light session or a fantastic, long Skype session. I’ve been preferring to take 2 days of rest before the weekend to let the body fully recover before the project.

Friday is rest. Saturday and Sunday of on rock, hitting Shear Force. Every weekend has been a high point. It’s been four weeks of close calls and I think it could go any try. I held the hold for about a second on Sunday before my core crumpled and that was the end of Brian.

Hmm. Reading this makes me think about how crazy this schedule actually is. But this is actually only half of the story.

The other half is how I’ve changed my habits. I haven’t had any alcohol or meat since I’ve been back. I really enjoy my wine and I usually would have a portion of meat at least once a day, so this is really a big deal. This means passing up that burger and beer after training, or the glass of wine I’m offered, and trading it for a bit more rest and some sleep.

Between my training schedule and my diet, I’ve dropped a few kgs and I feel lighter and stronger than I’ve felt in the last two years. I’m finally feeling like I’ve moved away from being injured back to feeling like I’m peaking.

The view I’m going to have from home soon – – thanks for the reminder Claudia

I find myself walking my path, alone. There is no one pushing me, or pulling me forward. I have my goal, I have a time limit and I feel like this route is one of the biggest goals I’ve ever set for myself. I find myself in my own personal Fortress of Solitud where the connections to my past are structuring my goals and my future.
Will I do my first 8c? Time will tell.

The author on Shear Force (photo by Claudia Ziegler)

Well, it really doesn't get much closer than that… Final boulder crux of Shear Force (8c)

A post shared by Brian Weaver (@brianmweaver) on

Life… So Unpredictable

It’s been 20 years since I chose to dedicate myself to the pursuit of perfection. I started my sporting career with shooting; won a bronze metal in the Pan Africa games and won the Namibian overall championships at 14. I learned what it meant to be mentally focused and how to visualize my goals through shooting.

Cycling was next. I won the Namibian Downhill Championships and was in the top 3 in Cross Country. My real passion was freestyle. I was always at the cutting edge. When there was a new jump, I was there going first. Life quickly became a game of how fast, how high and how far. I always needed to be the best.

Brian's House Drop 1

Riding off the roof of my house

Roof 2

And again for good measure

Moving to South Africa was no different. Learning how to do back flips,  wanting to be the best. I was one of the best freestyle mountain bikers in the country. When I let that go, it was a tough call. I had just found climbing and I sucked. What I did have was dedication.

Seat Grab

Superman Seatgrab, just another day at the office

Heel Clicker_2

Heel Clicker, in the clouds

Flip Table Top 2

Backflip Pancake


When I was cycling I weighed 84kgs with 10% body fat. After I started climbing, I dropped 15 kgs in a year and trained 6 days a week. Everyone knows that I am a bit of a masochist when it comes to training. I guess that’s why it only took me three years to become a sponsored climber.

It’s been 10 years since I started. Since then, I’ve been through a lot of life changes. I’ve dedicated myself to climbing. I’ve climbed 8a on trad, 8b+ on sport and 7C+ boulder. I’ve adopted some pretty serious routines to allow me to get here. It has taken me down a very different path than I predicted.


Setting up for the crux of Fear and Loathing (7c+ trad) — Photo by Ockert Joubert

I’ve had some major changes in my personal life. I was with Yvette for 8 years. I spent so much time away from home that I was just not in it anymore. Between work, training and travelling, we grew apart. I was so used to being away that I did not really notice. Time apart was the norm and time together was scarce.

Meeting Claudia was completely life changing. I never imagined that I could ever meet someone like her, so when it happened, it threw me for a loop. We are so alike that it felt like magnetism. Sharing the same drive to be outdoors, go climbing and be in nature at every chance is really special.


Claudia is brilliant. She has published an amazing book with some of the most amazing photos you’ll ever see. She spent time with some of the most incredible up-and-coming climbers in the world, including Adam Ondra and Alex Megos. She was there to learn about who they are as people, not what they are climbing. Her book “The Young Savages” sheds light on what the world’s best climbers do when they are not climbing. I was amazed by the work that she put into the book; constantly travelling, living on the road and reaching out to the top climbers. Sounds like a dream come true.

Image result for the young savages claudia ziegler

This was so intriguing to me. I was, and still am completely inspired by her vision and dedication. Her ability to visualize a goal and bring it to life completely stunned me. This really comes out in her photography where she has an innate ability to look at a climb and photograph it in a way that is completely unique and unexpected.

When Claudia came to South Africa, our trip began in Boven. She found ways to capture unique and wonderful moments from a perspective that no one else has seen. Her work is captivating and I was starstruck.


The night sky from Tranquilitas in Boven

While we were in Boven, Claudia managed to capture Chris Cosser climbing one of my routes in the gully by Baboon Buttress, Raptophilia 8a+.  This route was a nemesis of mine. I’ve never been great at short routes. It is an amazing line because it’s a mini route,  not a boulder problem. I’ve seen very strong climbers spit off of it so I was really really impressed with Chris!


Chris doing his thing on Raptophilia (8a+)

Adam was also working the line at the same time and he got painfully close!


Adam Finlday going for the finish jug on Raptophilia (8a+). I fell on this move on red point while placing draws before I opened it. Thought it was in the bag but it took me another couple days to get back to this jug.

Andrew was there for the weekend trying his project: Return of The Overlord (8c?). It is the plum line starting directly under the Beast going straight up the God No Wall. The psych was contagious and Claudia jumped on a rope to grab a few pics of him too!


The deadpoint crux… A massive launch to a one pad crimp 25m into the route. HARD


The last few hard moves after the crux… Not a giveaway

We caught a few pics on Sheer Force (8c) a little later in the day! Was great to be able to see what I look like on that line!


Fighting my way into the final rest before the upper crux on Sheer Force (8c)

The next day, I fought insanely hard on my onsight attempt of Clinton Marteningo’s Sweet Child O’ Mine (7c). I made it to the second last bolt before I realized that I could not take my hands off the rock to place the draw and I also could not skip it for fear of the ledge.


The very exposed and scary, Sweet Child O’ Mine (7c). Watch out for that ledge! Too bad about the one bolt’s location.

After we were done in Boven, we made our way down to the Cape. It was quite a drive, 17 hours non-stop.


Driving through the Karoo is intense 🙂 Especially when w’re laughing so hard


We needed a break during the 17 hour drive and Claudia stretched out on the N1

When we got there it was pouring with rain but somehow it cleared up the next day.

Cape Town was awesome, we had such an amazing view from the apartment in the city. We needed a few days in the city before feeling like we were ready to go again.


This was the view from the balcony of our place in Cape Town, not bad!

Met up with Rob to have some Mexican food and tequila!


Amazing Mexican food and tequila, right in front of our place!

We even got in some time by the beach.


When we finally made it to Rocklands, Claudia was stunned by the vastness of the place!

We met up with David for a photo shoot during the day up on the plateau


Almost sticking the dyno on Black Velvet (8A). Too bad he dabbed

Jumped on Minki (7B) after David was done. I did it years ago and it was still fun now! Such a gorgeous line.



I almost flashed a highball 7B+ called Zanzibar. So badly overgraded, I thought it was actually 7A/+. But it was so beautiful I did it twice.


It’s pretty high. Great fun.


Getting started the second time


Cruising… Not 7B+

In the evening we met up with Karo Sinnhuber for an evening session. Claudia’s pics of her ended up in the new training manual from Cafe Kraft called Gimme Kraft Air. She climbed The Hatchling (8A) and it was so cool to watch her cruise up to just before the crux and hang there. We would then turn off all the lights, use the flash and then listen for her to fall. Definitely a scary prospect from that height!


I climbed Poison Dwarf (7B) on the plateau later in the evening. Believe it or not, it was freezing!

Overall, the trip was really amazing. Claudia’s pics have been featured across several magazines, books and ads. Above is an awesome pic of Andrew sitting in the Man Trap, getting ready to move into the Return of the Overlord.

Thank you Rob and Outward Ventures for sponsoring the trip and making it all possible! Going around the country in two weeks is not easy without some really good support!


It’s actually been pretty hard to write over the last months, so now I’m really happy to actually type something.


Taking a step back and enjoying the view from the top of Sheer Force — Photo by Claudia Ziegler

I’ve been struggling a bit with motivation recently due to the amount of work I have as well as not really knowing where I was going. The result was a distinct lack of training. When I finally found some motivation, I started hitting the gym 4 days a week again. Hangboard on Monday and Wednesday, bouldering/lead Tuesday and Thursday. I felt strong again.

Ended up at Fernkloof thinking I would try Aqualung again. I could cruise all the moves apart from the undercling match. My leg was a bit to weak. James Barnes suggested some pistol squats, so I did pistol squat box jumps! And guess what, it worked.

Went to Fern, wamed up on Faberge (7c), tried Stormwatch Direct (8b) twice, cruised it to the chains apart from one move at the second bolt. Then went up to Aqualung. It started to rain and I was a little stressed, but it was so nice and cool that when I pulled on it was just perfect. Not a single moment when I felt nervous. I cruised the crux, right to the chains.


Up into the terrible undercling


Deep flat on a bad smear




Finally managed to wrap up a few lines at Fernkloof. Double 8b with with Aqualung and Stormwatch Direct

Ticking the Projects

Sometimes it takes a long time to do something you expect to be easy. I’ve experienced this on a few lines over the years but one that stands out heavily is Stormwatch in Fernkloof. When I climbed the original line, it took me ages! But I did it in a season and was happy.

It took me considerably longer to climb the direct version. There were some other factors that played a role in this, such as psych and injuries, but all in all, it took me a really long time.  I remember the day that everything started to go pear-shaped, it was last March. I warmed up on Stormwatch Direct and fell a move from the chains, above the last hard move. That was the first time I really dorked a project. Grivin sent the original version after that. He and I went up to Aqualung, where I fell above the crux — Griv sent. STRONG!

After that day, my confidence seemed to disappear and life got in the way. I had to watch all my friends tick it Direct before me. First was Ivan

Ivan on Direct.PNG

Photo by Zele Angelides

Then it was Ebert


Photo by Eraine van Schalkwyk


Then Grivin


Grivin on Hoodlum (7b+). Photo by Leslie McNicol

Then James


All these guys started working the route after I did and all of them ticked it before me. It was awesome to see the progression happening around me but a bit hard at the same time. I’d lose my psych and then it would come back, then it would be gone again.

In the end, I just needed a bit of focus and a lot of strength. What finally did it for me was walking away so I could put in a few weekends on Sheer Force in Boven. I was getting to the last move. It motivated me to train hard and eat right, well, maybe eat a little less at least.


Taking a step back and enjoying the view from the top of Sheer Force — Photo by Claudia Ziegler

I had not been on Stormwatch in months and when I wen to Fernkloof for a day trip with James, I did not have any expectations. James sent and it was glorious!! And that was when I dorked it, again. I made it through the pinch moves I struggle with so severely and fell off with my hand wrapped around the jug underneath the first roof. I felt really stupid but was sure it would go next try. But it didn’t.

I came back the next weekend with James and fell in the same spot on the Saturday. I woke up the Sunday morning feeling sick. I trudged into the kloof and felt weak on my first try, didn’t even manage Faberge (7c) — my standard warm up. My second try I slipped. But then, in the midst of the weird euphoria, and slightly dissociative state from being sick, I pulled myself together and made to the rest. I could hear James cheering me on from below! The psych was contagious! I sat in the kneebar for a few moments before cruising up to the chains without a pump.


Setting up for some of the hard moves on Stormwatch Direct (8b) Photo by Michelle van Aswegen

It’s funny sometimes how ticking one route can put you into the right state of mind… I found focus again, trained hard and stayed psyched. Went on an amazing trip around the country (more on that next time). Even dusted off the trad rack for a climb or two.


Alex Bester opening Fear and Loathing (7c+) Photo by Michelle van Aswegen

I’d been psyched to do Fear and Loathing (7c+) in Mhlabatini for a long time. In fact, it was the first route I tried after my knee op! Granted, I tried it on top rope with Andrew and Ebert, but I made me excited. The second time I tried it, I was with Ebert. We got OWNED! Neither of us could make it to the chains. Embarrassingly, we had to cheat out way up, using a long stick and a nut taped to it. Not a proud moment.


Setting up for the crux — Photo by Ockert Joubert


Thankfully, Andrew got a hold of me a few weeks back and was keen to try it with me. We made our way through the icy water and found ourselves at the base of the climb.I went up first and found some simpler gear placements but still couldn’t get to the top. Good thing Andrew was there, he figured it out in no time at all. This got me thinking that I needed to climb the route my own way, rather than relying on Alex and Andrew’s jumping sequence.

So I shook things up, I found the kneebar that I pointed out the second I saw the route for the first time. It took a bit of effort to work it out without a pad, but it went easily enough for sure. Didn’t mean that the route was easy. It took me 4 tries the next weekend before it finally went and the send was pretty desperate. Pretty solid at the grade 7c+, that’s for sure.


Fear and Loathing (7+) It’s pretty steep!

The next week, I went back to get some footage. Was pretty cool to be there with Alex


Alex and me — checking out my placements and looking at the project that will go up the face right of Fear and Loathing

All in all, I really loved the line… We shot a pretty cool sequence. Hope you like it!

Aches and Pains

When it all comes down to it, the last few months have been really tough. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the last two years with injuries and psych as a result. I’ve had two pretty major injuries in the last few months. The worst part is that I have been climbing at just about my peak before each of the injuries. The first injury happened during the fifth round of the NBLs at CityROCK in Johannesburg.

I was just hitting peak form again and was really psyched. I was at the gym 4 days a week and really focusing on my strength. I really felt like I was unstoppable.


Training at CityROCK

When I hurt my hamstring was really upset. I remember the sound. It reminded me so much of the day I tore my knee! It really scared me, I felt completely faint and the more that I was asked if I was ok, the more I knew I was not. I remember lying on the floor at CityROCK for what felt like hours. Eventually I conceded and called Yvette to come and get me.


Sucks to be hurt. Grade 2 tear hurts a lot!

For the next two weeks I could barely walk. I could really not sit for more than a few minutes without being in terrible pain. The only saving grace was that I could have physio twice a week and start to feel human again. I got quite upset with everything around me and was cursing my luck.

Injuries never come at a good time. At least this one was not so bad, 5 weeks off wasn’t terrible. Got some time to focus on work and to play with some of my photography skills.


I traveled to a few places while I was still sore, including Blyde River and Boven. I had a lot of fun trying out some long exposures on my camera and it was a decent distraction. South Africa keeps reminding me that it is really an amazing place to live, at least in the terms of the natural beauty around us.

Once I could think about climbing again, you would think I took it nice and slow right? Wrong. First thing I tried on rock was Shear Force (8c). At least I took it easy and didn’t push myself too hard. The idea was to be there for Andrew more than anything. He’s hitting the very last hard move on the route before coming off, so I wanted to be there to help with the psych.

Since then I’ve been back in the groove of things. Got in some trad climbing on an amazing project that will be 7c or so, about 50m+ in length. Could maybe do it as a single pitch but will be damn hard. Need so much gear to make it to the top.


Hanging around on the proj! 7c?


We had such an interesting approach to get to the climb but at least it was out of the sun.


Managed to onsight a sketch 6c+(R) the same day. The was fun, I guess. Normally I’m not too happy about a 6c+ onsight, but when you’re scared shitless on the way up and you control it to the top, it’s worth writing home about.

I managed to recover pretty much completely from my hamstring injury. So since then I’ve been getting focused.

From April Choss season wass open again. I’ve been on Shadowfax (8b+) a few times again, already linked to the crux move on my second day on it. Have done the crux to the chains and I think I’m in with a chance in the near future. Going to make sure I get it done this year! Here are some pics from Zele Angelides from a few years back. I fell off last week at the point in the last pic.

The crux move on Shadowfax

The crux move on Shadowfax with the elicit toe hook — Photo by Zele Angelides


I even got some beautiful new clothing from Outward Ventures! Thanks so much guys, I can’t wait to actually get some good photos for you with me in the new stuff from Wild Country and DMM. Big thanks for the helmet and new shoes as well! Been amazing.

The good news is that I’ve really been able to get myself back into a great training regime. Over the last few weeks I’ve been averaging 3 hangboard sessions and 4 climbing sessions during the week and then both days on rock!


My small crimp! 6.2mm sloping. Ouch

As a result, I got a high point on Sheer Force (8c) in Boven. I’m linking up to the last move in the crux at the top. Unfortunately, that move is extremely hard on its own which means I have a lot of work to do before I’m going to tick it! But I’m so excited and motivated I’m sure I’m in with a chance.

After all of this positivity, I was climbing at CityRock JHB and I twisted my knee. I’ll tell you what. After the latest injuries, I’ve become hypersensitive towards injury. When I heard my knee pop (twice) and I my face turn pale and white, I knew something went wrong. I was really worried that I tore my ligaments, now in my other knee!

I was bleak. IMMEDIATELY. The thought of losing another 9 months when I was just about to do my first 8c was devastating. For a few days, I was struggling to get out of bed. I made an appointment with my surgeon and found out that it was probably a meniscus tear. He was pretty surprised when I was celebrating. But, the timeline for a meniscus is a few weeks versus a few months for a ligament. Big win.

I had an MRI as few days later and within two weeks, I found out that I had a grade 2 sprain of the popliteus tendon. It was such a rare injury that it was barely visible. I asked what the next step was and the surgeon told me, “Don’t do anything that hurts. If you re-injure yourself, I’ll take your photo off the wall.” We had a bit of a laugh, especially after I suggested I could give him a second photo. BUT! The point is, I’m ok. No time off, other than the two weeks between the injury and the diagnosis.

Up next for me is a new level of psych and travel. This weekend I’m in Fernkloof, trying to wrap up some old projects. Next week, is Wow Prow to try to finalize Future Life (8b). Then Boven for a few days and Rocklands, Montagu and Oudtshoorn after that.  A friend of mine from Austria is coming to South Africa to join me on the trip. Her name is Claudia Ziegler, author of The Young Savages. She is a world-class photographer with cover shots from Rock and Ice. Claudia has spent time with some of the best climbers in the world and shared their stories with the world.

I’m excited to have the privilege of showing her around South Africa at the end of June!


It’s been about 6 weeks since I got back from my amazing trip to Spain. I was going through some of my pics and came across a little video that I had shot while I was climbing a really cool 7c+ in the L’Olla sector and I thought I needed to share it. Was the first 7c+ I tried there and I managed it 3rd try. It’s completely my antistyle, short and bouldery and culminates in a big dyno and then a mantle onto a slab at the top, which you can’t quite see.

The Prodigy Lives up to its Name


Trust me! I’m an expert!

IMG_20151213_201237I picked up my DMM Prodigy when I landed in Spain and I was instantly impressed. At 61g/m it is lighter than most of its competition. It is the same weight as the Beal Diablo 9.8, 1g/m lighter than the Edelrid Heron and 3g/m lighter than the Mammut Eternity range of ropes. The thing that impressed me the most was that the rope does not feel heavy when you’re tied in! The finish makes it glide through quick draws like its not even there!

Dmm Prodigy

Brand new! How pretty is that?!?

The majority of the lines I was climbing in Spain were 40m+ and I never battled with the rope. I onsighted several 7cs that were really long and steep. Each of them left me feeling really pumped but when the time came to clip the weight of the rope was never an issue!


The author onsighting Kameleon (7c) in Montsant. A 50m climb on tenuous pockets.

The sheath of the rope is durable! Next level durable! For a month, 4 guys climbed on my rope almost every day on every type of climbing. We thrashed the Prodigy and it put us in our places. I have a lot of respect for the engineering of this beauty!


The crew! We put it to the test…

Brian's Fingers

Trust me, I climbed a lot

Between the 4 of us, we logged over 220 attempts on the rope, varying from really short, harsh falls to 15m+ whippers! We dogged routes. We projected. We fought through endless battles with the Prodigy and at the end of the month, all we had to show for it was a little fluff on the one end. That’s it. A little fluff.

In conclusion, I would like the thank DMM for making it possible for me to climb all the beautiful long routes in Siurana! Without the Prodigy, it just would not have been possible!


Getting ready to try Photo Shot (8b) in Margalef


Photo Shot (8b)



Living the Life…

I’ve been living in a tent for the last 3 weeks in Camping Siurana. The journey up to this point has been a very interesting one. Before the trip began I was in Cape Town with Yvette for a week.

It was really special to be at two of my really good friends’ weddings so close together. I felt very privileged to be able to spend the time with Yvette and witness two unforgettable occasions!


I worked out of the Cape Town office during the week but thanks to the long days was able to get in some bouldering up in Echo Valley.


I got back to Joburg after the time in the Cape feeling a bit stressed. Things weren’t quite where I needed them to be before going off for a month. With some sort of a miracle, I managed to fix everything that needed to be fixed before saying good bye to Yvette and starting the journey to Spain.

Grivin and I flew to Abu Dhabi, where we had one of the longest layovers in history. This was my fault, but I couldn’t do anything about it. 19 hours in the airport really was unpleasant. By the time we finally arrived in Barcelona, I’d been up from Thursday morning till Saturday afternoon. I was starting to fall asleep on the drive and I was driving.


Hmmm, I’m in the airport and this is all I can think about!

It really was a full on epic to arrive but we are finally here. We found the ultimate campsite and poached as many chairs as we could find so that we could be awesome. Besides, no one else was here.

Grivin and I started our climbing bright and early on the Sunday morning, neither of us were capable of climbing on the day we arrived. We started off climbing some easy stuff, up to 7a+. Then we got to check out this awesome sunset!


It was fun to be able to onsight a whole bunch of new stuff. I quickly found my rhythm and was onsighting 7b+ and 7c in no time at all. There have been a bunch of close calls on 7c+ onsights but nothing just yet.

I have met a bunch of cool guys in Spain, one of which is an 18 year old Scotsman on a gap year. Callum, is onsighting 8a and 8a+ on the pocketed rock at Montsant and is quite a beast.


Expert belay skills coming through


He was there when Grivin gave us the fright of a lifetime. I think he took a few years off my life when he reached up to that first draw and came tumbling down to the ledge and then rolled off it. I thought he was simply dead, but then he started screaming violently. By the time Callum and I reached him, I feared the worst. He was laying in a very contorted position with his arms and legs twisted behind his back. I rushed off to get my phone and call for a rescue. He had just fallen 12m and done a backflip off the ledge in the process, the madness!!!


Some of the locals came around and were amazing in the assist. The Catalonia Fire Department came in a blazing and very dexterously dealt with Grivin, who was now sitting upright and joking with us. He was carried out in a basket and rushed to the hospital for x-rays. 



After a ride in the ambulance and a scintillating time at the St Joan Hospital in Reus, I drove Grivin back to the campsite where we drank beer and celebrated life with no major injuries for the Grasshopper, now known only as FIRST DRAW. The legend of first draw has spread far and everyone now thinks of the young blond guy before removing their draw from anything they climb. The legend even reached South Africa where people are now saying, “Don’t do a Grivin, be careful at that first draw.” I’m just glad he’s ok. The only thing that is still bothering him is his heel, but it’s ok, we’ve got an Ausie to help with that!

20151231_132151Enter Les McNicol, a very cool climber who’s spent the last two years working in the UK. Never have my sides been so sore from the hysterics in the campsite. He’s the stuff that legends are made of, and he brings the psych with him! Talented photographer and all-around good guy. Fantastic to keep the psych high on a trip like this. 12486103_10153847575416613_4843680125270005195_o

It’s been fantastic to be based in one area, we have spent a few days in Montsant as well and I find it very challenging. A sea of pockets on 60m walls on which one can drown in waves of pump before sinking on to your ropes, screaming. I tried to onsight an 8a and 8a+ there and found myself way out of my element. The technical 50m 7c on the other hand was right up my alley and Les was there with the lens to capture the moment and the sunset.


Kamaleon (7c) — 50m of technical pockets and slab at sunset



Falconetti (8a+) – Burly!

This brings us to the New Year, it was strange indeed for us foreigners — not a single bar or restaurant opened till after midnight. Fortunately for us Camping Siurana was open and leading the way for the celebration. At midnight we ate 12 grapes and shared in sparkling wine to toast in 2016. I started to feel absolutely rotten that night, I think I caught the plague from our Ausie friend! Fortunately, the beer and huge shot of warm tequila killed the plague and brought me back from the brink!


This is how we prepared for the new year!

I met a few awesome people at the party! Great contacts that I really hope to host in South Africa someday! Got to love Facebook! Well, now I’m about to wrap up my post and go try one of Toni’s new projects with him — So much for resting. Psych is just too high to handle the down time.