“¿Dónde está la discoteca ?”, “Aquí!”

Lets be real here lads, you all knew I was going to write a trip report for this.  I’m unemployed, segregated from modern society (I live in Bryansford), and secretly (openly) enjoy destroying the club’s standing within society as a whole.  You knew I would be watching like a hawk, remembering every lewd detail of the trip, though my unimpressed demeanor throughout the trip did well to create the impression of an invalid.

HOWEVER, I am not ignorant of the fact that we all pretend to care about our jobs and/or prospects of attaining one, so I will implement similar rules to the report of the fresher’s trip.  I will leave out the more incriminating events of the trip, such as Prebble and Siobhan being on a secret mission to over-through the Spanish government in 1936.  I will also refer to debaucherous people as “certain club members” and allow word of mouth to spread the names, keeping the offending parties identified only in a verbal form and not a written one that can be seen by the general public.  I will also have asked people if I can include the events if they were party to them.

LASTLY, before I delve into the real meat of the tale (or as the spanish say “divagaciones locas”) I would say that I wholeheartedly encourage other people on the trip to write reports in the appropriate section.  I can only give my thoughts and perspective on the trip, and that misses out far too much of the banter for my liking.  Despite my zealous group of fans (my mum and my imaginary pet rock, Lucas), I am not in fact a Deity and so cannot be everywhere at once and see all events that transpire.

Also If you weren’t on the trip, I had a cold and that is what all the Italics is about.

Now that all that bollocks is out of the way, I gave you a joyous melody to listen to as you hear the thoughts of a man devoid of all reason.

 

 

Day One…sort of

I say day one, but it does indeed encompass the travel and such, so I don’t really know if it counts as one day, but I never have been one for conventional thoughts on time and date.  Actually, here is an interesting paper on human circadian rhythms left to their own devices.  For non-biology folk, it reads as “without a natural day-night cycle to regulate us, our bodies like to operate in a 25hr day”.  So I suppose it was day one.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/198/4315/421.short

Anyhow, all the offending parties of our little travel group accumulated in Ireton House, ready to begin our mighty quest to the central continent of Africa (pronounced Aaa-fruhh-chaa, as I learned on my gop yaaa), which we planned to reclaim as the Golan Colonies.  Sadly the travel plans changed due to a heavy dust storm in the flight path, so we rearranged to fly to Spain on a mission trip, after hearing there was a sport climbing epidemic in the area.  Good luck beverages were had by most, though I refrained, as I had a secret companion to keep safe, and would need my strength to carry with me.  A surprise birthday cake was reviled for Louise and I (I won’t be caught on grammar that easily English students), but it was pointless.  While it was the date of Louise’s birth a lady never tells her age, and so celebrated her *18th* year.  I am ageless and refuse to divulge my birth date, but I will say that the guess of the group was wrong.

We did make it to Spain in the end, the details of which are unimportant as they are a burden known by all in the form of hours of travel.  However highlights included; a certain club member daring security to detain him by crushing a caffeine pill and snorting it in the airport terminal, Clare became the anointed Queen of Burger, I informed the party of the survival statistics for people in an isle seat in the last 3 rows of the plane being higher than average (you guessed it, that is where I was sitting), and I also informed Chris McKavanagh of the differences in propulsion methods of the major airlines (Aer Lingus: lawnmower engines, Easy-Jet: passengers peddling, and Ryanair: a wound-up rubber band).

Once we landed it became apparent, this was a land abandoned by God, allowed to fester and burn in the broiling heat of the direct sun.  Even in winter, this was a place of unrelenting sunlight and 17 degrees as and average temperature.  We found some refuge in a cafe, and attempted to order sustenance though when Conall made a completely reasonable request for “20 Mayfair and a curry-half-n’-half”, we found that they did not speak God’s own language, nor his accent.  We managed to order food and gain supplies for the week without causing too much insult however, and were soon at La Finca La Campana.  After the merryment of the first evening was done and all were sleeping in the bunk house, dreaming of sport climbing and sunshine.

I slithered from my bed like an eel, dropping to the floor silently as a writhing mass of tar and limbs, rolling over each other like waves in the surf from a beach on the damned to Hades.  I lent over my first victim, Conall Gilmore, and breathed out softly over his features, allowing the smokey black wisps of corruption to leak from my lungs and be inhaled by the yet unaware innocent.  Soon they would all know the destruction of my affliction, my dark passenger.  “Just one for now…” it said, for the true thrill is in the subtly of the spread, the artful deflection of suspicion.  

Day Two

They all awoke, somewhat enthusiastically (more out of an monetary investment in a climbing trip to Spain really) to begin the first day of climbing in this strange land.  As a complete novice at this sport climbing lark, and Spain in general (yes, you heard that, I know nothing about sport climbing or hot countries) I bent to the superior knowledge of Andrew, Pete, and Antony and we marched to the place known as the Arab steps (only after applying all the sun-cream I owned though).  After taking many a formal photo along the way, we finally reached it.  I marveled at the sheer scale of the routes, all were at least 3 Hen routes tall (for scale that is about 15m to 30m).  But we began our feeble efforts to surmount them anyway.  Colin and I (can’t catch me, I’m the grammar-bread man) began our day in earnest.  All the while I could not help but notice the worlds, nay, dimensions of difference between Granite and Limestone.

Granite: Sticky, rounded, hard on the skin, if it sounds hollow don’t pull too hard, slightly slabby.

Limestone: Slippy, angular, soft on the skin, even the most resonant flakes are solid, mostly vertical or overhanging.

Things went well for the first while, we even managed to both onsite Bladerunner, a lovely and slightly bold layback (which we found out later in the trip from some Czech people, a sling thread between the last clip and anchor is common practice).  After this, my dreams of becoming a filthy sport climber where completely dashed.  I am not currently in the mood to swear at this particular moment, so I shall make a comparison.  My success on sport climbs before and after Bladerunner, is like Ireland’s population before and after the potato famine.  Let us say that I soon found out that between not being used to the style, and having trained for a sport trip by bouldering lots, I’m not very good at the whole affair.  And to top it all off I found out I am very much afraid of falling onto bolts.  That’s right, scared by taking falls on to bolts, because they are further away from each other than the ones in the PEC.  The irony of having done my best climbing outdoors in the genre of traditional climbing is not lost on me, and taunts me forever more.

We received word that the rest of the ‘official’ club trip group had landed at La Finca (we all went a day early because we could), and after wrapping up just before sunset, we headed back to celebrate the reunion.  We began making of the meals, and drinking of the cheap (but not low quality) Spanish wine and beer.  Certain club members drank copiously, and lived to make others regret it.  This was felt mainly in the form of preventing others from sleeping soundly.  One certain club member was even found outside, sleeping sitting up, while also cuddling a cat.  This person was then guided into a sleeping bag, and eventually fell asleep in a more conventional fashion.  The bother caused was mitigated however, in the form of comedy, as the party in question claimed repeatedly that “I can’t breathe…”, despite Louise, with experience as a nurse, reassuring the person that they could.  When claims of mortality were not voiced, we were subject to listening to the person imitate a small dog in distress.

I awoke in the darkness, a small tugging sensation on the back of my head.  “Wake up…” I heard, “…continue your work…”.  I told the voice I was not strong enough, that I was too tired, to leave me be.  “So be it…”, it said in a non-plus tone, “..you will feel the sickness tomorrow..”, knowing that containing it without passing it on for so long would only add to my agony.  The voice grew silent for the night, though I could feel it there…..observing me.  I slept restlessly for the rest of the night, fearing the morning.  

Day Three

When I awoke I felt nothing, but bitter contempt for all living things on Earth.  My cold had hit its hardest and every task, physical and mental, was a chore.  But I paid money damn it, real amounts of money, and I was going to go climbing because if I didn’t I would look shit for it.  So I geared up and we set out for a new crag.  We were on the way to Frontalas Bajas.

Now, what is obvious about Spain is that it is hot.  Really hot.  Temperatures of 16-17 degrees (in winter I might add).  What they don’t tell you is that the sun makes this feel MUCH worse.  And what with years of Irish weather experience, I though to my self “Sure, it’l be sunny, but probably with some clouds, and it won’t be as bad as in summer, so over all it’l be a little toastier but fine.”  Wrong, so so wrong.  And in Frontalas Bajas, there is a cave, which seems to reflect much of the heat like a parabola.  The focus point of this parabola, seemed to be exactly where I chose to stand all day.  It followed me, I swear it.

The heat, the cold, and my ever present and irrational fear of falling on to bolts did not add up to a productive day for me.  Colin on the other hand had a beastly day, charging up the classic Luna, and monstrously long 6a+, 3 stars.  Pete and Andrew also spent the day in a perpetual state of homoerotic tension, listening to ABBA while applying sun-cream topless, all the while trying a 6c overhang, and beasting it to the top.  I gave it a crack, but was found to be greatly lacking, and in the end a very nice German lady got Pete’s draws back for him, perhaps swayed by the fantasy of Andrew and Pete applying sun-cream to each other (or far more likely, she hoped they would stop if she got the draws back for them).

During all of this we met a nice American couple who were also at La Finca, and a Polish man called Tomas (Toe-mass, with the stress on the mass) who was remarkably close to Irish levels of shit-talking.  While Louise made noises of exertion, his natural response was to ask “Did you find the dick hold then?”  This man surely knew himself.  Sadly Louise didn’t hear as she was on route.

Thoroughly defeated by this whole ‘sport’ climbing, I lay around like the whiny shit I am trying not to cry.  Only just succeeding in this, I hung about to be one of the last leaving the crag, partly from shame, but also to escape as much of the heat of the sun as possible.  Thankfully I was able to see Louise power up her first 6a (I believe, I could be wrong) of the trip, fair effort (must have been a dick hold at the top).  So long as the group as a whole was doing well I could still write the trip up as a success, and put it all down to my supervision or something.  Oh well, I would have to figure that out later.  For now was time for wine and the such.

This time when I awoke it was to a stirring sound.  It was time.  Conall was in a trance, the voice didn’t speak to him, only to me though I don’t know why.  We both rose and began our task.  Each passing the dark passenger on to another sleeping innocent.  I paused for a moment, watching Conall as he lent over someone.  He didn’t look malicious, somehow he made it seem perfectly normal, casual infact.  But I knew I looked different, perhaps it was his unwillingness that saved him.  I began to think that it was me who chose to do this, that the voice was just that, a voice.  That it was just my way to justify what I was, to remove myself from the blame.  That thought scared me, more than anything ever had scared me before.  Then the voice giggled, because it knew I could never be so powerful as it was, that it was in control.  Or perhaps it laughed at the denial of  myself……  I slept soundly until morning.  

Day Four

We had made our plan last night, and today was the day.  This was the first planned multi-pitch climb of the trip, Valentines Day, 130m of limestone that was as close to trad climbing as I was going to get on this trip.  3 stars in the guide, this was supposed to be a premium climb and worth the effort.  Sadly this meant that our team of four (Colin and I in one pair, and Andrew and Pete in the other) had to get up early to beat the rush, as the route was likely to be crowded if we waited.  I was no novice, I believed this entirely, I had learned in the Peak district that more than 6 people climb when you go to other countries, unlike Ireland where 6 is an overestimate.

So we awoke at sunrise, but lo and behold we were slow as fuck.  Pete and Andrew, who were giving me shit for the last two days about taking my sweet time, who were the ones urging me to get up before first light, held us up until 10am.  But no matter, we were on our way and nothing could stop us now, we could still death-march our way to the crag and probably be the first people on route of the day.  We landed and were the lucky sort, and so we agreed that Pete and Andrew should go first, Colin and I to follow.  Four pitches of glory and a whole day of fun lay ahead, and we began as soon as Pete and Andrew finished the first pitch.

Pitch one, 40m grade 4 and me to lead, glorious and easy going.  We weren’t sure about the number of draws we had so I ran it out wherever I felt comfortable doing so.  All going grand, missed one bolt as it was hanging out of the wall, but I finally made it to the belay ledge while Pete belayed Andrew on the next pitch.  Had a wee chat about our decent strategy, as we realised that if the top anchor was a hanging belay things would be cramped to set up abseils.  As a trad man I also wasn’t sure about the weight of 4 people on one anchor.  Pete went on as Colin came up and all was good.

Pitch two, 40m grade 5+ with Colin to the fore.  As I seconded up I gained respect, as it was a bolted to “build character”, shall we say.  But as I hit the ledge we had made it just fine.  Now I racked up while talking absolute shite.  Like all of it.  For those who have heard me talk shite, its senseless, but on a multipitch its something else.  My regular level has me remember it all, and the other party forget it all, as its useless.  My multipitch level, even I don’t remember any of it.  Colin can attest, it was funny, it lifted spirits, but he won’t remember any of it.

Pitch three, 25m grade 6a me on lead.  This was my gem of the route, what I had won the rock/paper/scissors game at the bottom to get a hold of.  Beautiful and vertical, hidden jugs and crimps everywhere.  Most of the enjoyment came from the knee bar I found, and that this was the first pitch of the trip where I felt as though I could trust the friction and understood the style of the rock.  A lovely climb to end at the hanging belay, this is where my troubles began.  Had another chat with Pete, where we re-discussed our abseil strategy.  Plan A was the top is a big ledge and we all get there and abseil in pairs, this did not happen.  Plan B was top pair drop to our anchor one at a time, then be lowered from it to the next anchor, as there was only space for 3 at our hanging anchor, and that was a tight fit to be sure.

Pitch four, 25m grade 5+ Colin to lead.  Again a bold bolting regime I felt, but never have I been so happy to get to an anchor and begin the abseil.  By this point I had spent a straight 6 weeks (about 1.5 hours) in a hanging belay at the third anchor, maybe more with the faff of abseiling Petes and Andrews (who kept shouting “Allahu Akbar” after each successful abseil).  Our decent was fast enough I felt, and we met some Polish people who were friendly, though they lived in Galway and had a fantastic Galway accent in English (I bet they were confused by Andrew and Pete’s religious zeal).  Never have I been so happy to get off a route that was so fun.  Thankfully Pete and Andrew hadn’t left us to die, and we met a Prebble and Siobhan about to start up the route when we landed to Earth.

After a dander back to La Finca I had a great time slacklining the pool, learning Magic The Gathering from Pete, and doing very little else.  It was the best day of the trip so far.

It was beginning to spread, legions of my thralls were swarming the room, feasting on the healthy bodies of the unafflicted.  The fell in their droves, but it was not enough.  There was resistance, some of them took more than one of the infected to bring them to heal.  I would need to strengthen the horde somehow, I needed to rest for a while…yes…just rest…  And with that I drifted back into an ethereal slumber, as my body was ravaged by the disease further….

Day Five

This was the closest I came to a rest day the whole trip.  I spent the entire morning sleeping or just eating, with Conall and the others accusing me of giving them the cold.  “Ha ha ha, yea I coughed on your when you were asleep!” I said, hoping to hide the truth in plan sight, covered by a thin veil of comedy.  They could never be allowed to know the truth, never.  

We managed to dander up to the crag behind the Olive Branch and have a wonderful half day there.  I don’t remember much specifically , but I do remember doing Toast, Happiness is a warm Pastie and another 6a+ between them with Pete.  All while ABBA played in the background.  The whole crowd of us were generally in a lazy/happy to do very little mood.  Miraculously this contributed to me actually climbing better in general, and not feeling so pressured.

After a while Pete suggested heading round to Las Encantadas to try some harder stuff.  “Why not?” I thought, “I should get better at falling outside”.  Pete had chosen a 6c+ called La Ley del Cateto, 24m supposedly 3 stars.  Pete managed to beast his way up with something like 3 or 4 falls, a stunning effort.  Now it was my turn, balls.

Well I suppose I had to try and get over falls at some point, so I took Pete’s maillion and headed up.  I got to the delicate corner section, looked up and thought to myself, “What the actual fuck guys!” and fell.  And that was it.  I didn’t die, the bolt didn’t fail, I don’t think I even shouted (though Pete may remember differently, but I did shout the falls after that one).  Eventually I got a bit higher, but couldn’t quite work up the balls to make the next clip.  And so I very ashamedly learned how to escape a sport route with a maillion.

I failed you Pete.

Tonight the horde only infected a few in the bunkhouse.  They hit the rest of the Villa hard, flowing though the tents of the Europeans like a flood of ink, washing away the clean souls like twigs.  

Day Six

This day is a complete blank for me.  Like I’m talking MIB style, Neuralized son.

So, this entire day is written up based on my notes in my little notebook.  Now, when YOU think of notes, you think about YOUR lecture notes.  Copies of the slides with useful hints and facts or sources written on them.  Look again, actually get out your lecture notes.  In reality they are lined pages with a few bullet points (not nearly as many as you want to have) which are vague and obscure, but just enough to give you a book to read, a chapter to research or a paper to google.  MY lecture notes look like this.

Lecture notes

By checking the date I see that this was from a 2 hour third year lecture on “Marine Diversity and Taxonomy”.  So when I say I’m working from notes, please excuse the lack of any content.

Tried Poema de Roca first pitch.  Andrew and Pete got to the top with falls.  Me = failure at life.  Steve good photos.  We saw a dog do parkour.  Tomas (Toe-mass) the polish man was there.  And finally, we either saw a man send his project (Poema de Roca) and get his draws back OR get to the top of someone else’s project and proceed to steal the draws because he could.

Day Seven

Today I would climb with the ever handsome Antony.  Up until this point I had only climbed with absolute munters, in an act of charity to make them feel ‘normal’.  I know, it was an unrealistic goal, but I felt I had to try, as I am a totally humble humanitarian at my core.  But today I would climb with someone who was (almost) as good looking as me and we would wow the Europeans at the crag with our stunning features.

We headed to the place known as the Arab Steps, as Anton had his eye on Bladerunner, a prize to be sure.  When we arrived we waited momentarily, as  a Czech pair were on the route, and progress was slowed by the female human staring at our combined attractiveness.  But eventually he made it on to the start and began his upwards journey to fame (the top of a well traveled classic).  Thankfully he made it up without taking a whipper on the run-out section at the top, partly thanks to the new knowledge of a thread (which was already mentions for those paying attention).

Soon we made our way over to my personal goal for the day, Chilona.  A supposedly (we’ll get to that in a bit…) 34m multi-pitch beside the classic Rogelio, though Chilona was given 2 stars in its own right, and boy does it earn them.  I like to believe that it would have been given a star for each pitch, but the first lets it down, and so is only worthy of 2.  Anyhow, we got to the start of the route, and much to the confusion of some Europeans we looked to be going up a multi-pitch rather than a 12m route.  Anton was to lead the first pitch, grade 4 of 12m.  He did so in good fashion and without major incident, this was a good omen.

When I seconded up it seemed we had our first problem.  We were on the wrong route.  This was a minor set back, but not to worry.  It is this sort of challenge we trad climbers thrive on.  We pioneered an extra pitch, a 10m traverse to the correct belay ledge.  Some more faff and I was ready to start up the pitch I longed for, a 6a+ slab.  My favorite pitch of the whole trip.  However it was not the claimed 12m pitch that the guide book totted to me.  But I wasn’t going to be complaining.

Before me stood a fantastically blank and immaculately clean slab of limestone.  No polish to be seen, just a few features hinting at a path to be followed.  I headed up to the crux and figured out a sequence through some blue pockets.  Great moves and a lovely line.

Finally after getting to the anchor, Antony lead the final pitch.  I found it to be a meaty and effort full corner with a crack to get a couple of jugs, and maybe a sharp jam to rest.  But we did ascend unto the glory that is success.  We chortled to ourselves, as this was another pitch that claimed to be 10m but was more the speed of 18-20m.  We began our decent as the rain clouds threatened and regrouped with the others.  And then it rained, oh did it rain.  And while it pissed down like a toilet-goer at the end of a 3hr film, we went to a vegetarian restaurant.  As it turns out vegetables taste good.  And we had wonderful wine and a strange…thingy that I think was mushroom paste with cheese, deep fried.  It was great.

I looked up into the dull light of the room.  I felt calm.  It was so nearly over now.  I had taken the final ones tonight.  All of them were one with me now, all but one.  “Tomorrow night….” it said, “….not long to wait….”.  I felt a gentle breeze brush against my cheek, it swept playfully down my neck and across my shoulder.  Then all was still, only the slightest tingle on my flesh to suggest anything had stirred at all…..

Day Eight

Well all this sun was grand (it was fucking hell) but it had to end sometime (thank goodness).  Today it was to rain, so we decided to go bouldering in the mystical boulder cave.  The vegetable man told us where to go, the shop lady told us where to go, even the English guys that two certain club members wanted to pull told us where to go.  All of it useless.  Anna-Clare, Micheal (sorry I don’t believe in fadas, mainly because I don’t know the shortcut for them), Andrew, Steve and I all headed out.  At first we found some irrigation tunnels, had a look about.  We may have found a dead and headless goat, but that doesn’t really compare to a boulder cave, so we moved on.

We then found some weird hobbit hole style houses, which it turns out belong to the sheep herders in the area, but again that’s no boulder spot.  If you can’t tell this has been shortened because this trip report/thesis has gone on long enough, and well most of the searching was just walking about.  Eventually we spied some people in down coats, with beanies and dogs.  Bingo lads, we had found us some boulderers to follow.  Andrew used his expansive knowledge of the Spanish language to get some directions (“Donde esta el bouldering?”) and soon we were at the cave.

So the whole cave is a massive roof about 5ft off the ground FILLED with holds, mostly juggy, and I mean filled.  Apparently there is a whole cave traverse 7b+, about 12-15m at a guess, though none of use were fit for the whole thing.  There was a nice Spanish man who seemed to be doing laps of this however.  In the end we resorted to playing with their dogs while making up fun problems with specific holds and the like.  All in all great craic, and eventually we headed back to El Chorro to meet up with the group that had been on a lovely dander.  This was partly as we were tired.  This was mainly as it was about to absolutely lash it down.  So we all returned to make what is called Gumbo (everything in one pot, whatever you got) which was heavenly to be sure.

This was it.  The final task which I had been asked to complete.  All those under my dominion, the swathes of followers I had gathered against the chosen one stood.  As I stood there leering, something in Andrew stirred.  Something over which he had no control, but would be the only thing between me and my ascension, his Sy-stema of Im-mun-aeity.  The last hint that humans had once been more, more than the twisted and malformed creatures we had become, tainted by the Memes of Pepe the Great Destroyer.  He arose, his eyes glowing white as his body had been given totally over to this power.  “You will fall, just like the others”, I told him, “I have taken even your most powerful allies.  Even Micheal, who climbed a 7a once.”  He was not afraid, or if he was it was like totally low key.  Whatever he had become now looked me in the eye, “When this is done, you will need heelies to escape your feelies.” and with that we clashed.  The fight raged on for what seemed like an eternity, though only a few sparse seconds had passed.  He avoided my last attack, but I had left myself unguarded, and in that moment he smiled.  “Bankai….”  A blinding candescence ripped thorough my very being.  All the darkness was torn into tiny shards of velvet which drifted away on the wind.  My body was now gone, leaving my consciousness to slowly ebb away into oblivion.  As it went I felt a total relief, incomparable to all else.  I was at ease.  

And then I wasn’t anything at all.  

Day Nine

This was it, the last day of the trip.  I had one morning to sort out that bloody 6c+.  As silly as it may be, I felt that if I could get that one route clean I could call my Spain trip a success.  For whatever reason it was the most important unimportant thing to do.  Pete and Andrew for similarly impossible to understand reasons were willing to come belay me, while getting a crack at another route beside it before we had to get on the train.

When we got to the spot it was windy as fuck.  Sadly it was not quite windy enough to actually help me upwards, but it was still windy enough to make things a bit more difficult.  After a surprisingly close first try I had high hopes.  After a few more I had less, but got a good nap while Andrew and Pete tried the other route while discussing the digital re-release of Pokemons Red, Blue and Yellow on 3Ds.  After nostalgic shit chatting about which starter pokemon they chose, and finishing the route, I was ready for another go.

I pushed through the start and made it to the bridging rest in the corner.  Making a few easy moves I got the jug, clipped the draw, and shook out all pump for the crux.  High feet, and a big move to a crimp, re-adjustment of feet and I made another move to a 2 finger jam.  A small pop turned this into a 4 finger jam/jug thing, finally past the crux as I clipped the draw I knew all I had to do was survive a couple more pumpy moves.  I grabbed the undercling, moved my feet high, held the small crimp to the left and stood up.  Suddenly I was clipping the chain and was very happy.

Oh and then Prebble came over and did it with one fall quite easily.  Well in the words of the great Bob Scarpelli, “My old man used to tell me, ‘Be careful, as tough as you think you are there’s someone out there gonna kick your ass’.”

Miscellaneous Events, Thoughts and Photos

McCaffery dyed his hair Pink.

Clare and Andrew dyed my hoodie orange.

As per-tradition we did table bouldering and the box game.

We also tried out people bouldering, not sure it caught on.

We met a very nice Norwegian couple who were primary school teachers, and also asked us questions about NI politics and religion, but we didn’t mind.

I strongly suspect Dead Cat had rabies, as it had excessive salivation and aerophobia (it also had hydrophobia, but it is a cat like).

I won my first game of Magic the Gathering in a display of extreme skill (luck is a skill in most RPG games).

I lost lots of games of Magic the Gathering.

Spanish people like Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Doughnuts.

Camera’s can damage the craic when people are drinking (insert rant about how stories should be passed through words not pictures, and precious moments are lost while you tweet about #banter).

It is evident by some of the bolting in El Chorro, that the Spaniards secretly yearn for trad climbing.  I will show them the way.

I slacklined the pool and got no beer.

Liz didn’t swear enough, or if she did I didn’t hear it.

Micheal climbed a 7a, I heard.

Photo Dump

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#SquadGoals

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Table bouldering, Magic and food at La Finca

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Liz, Pete and Conall later went on to become face and body models for Armani, Roxy and Roche respectively.  

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Our mascots for the trip; every dog in El Chorro, and Conall.  Keeping spirits raised from Limerick to the Congo.  

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So I wrote this report, I get to put in one photo of myself.  

Huge thanks to all my climbing partners over the week (Andrew, Antony, Colin and Pete), to everyone who put photos up so I had lots to choose from.  And just in general everyone who was on the trip, everyone made massive contributions to the craic had over the week.