Here it is finally, filmed during 10 days last summer on the west coast of Sweden. A movie by Jesper Östlund & Martin Arvidson
moussem in Morocco -a taste of the old world February 25, 2011
It's been some time since a I posted something here. Not much has been happening since last. I spent x-mas in Finland and since then it's been the 10 training sessions/week+music routine thats been dominating. And then I went to Morocco.
the l'ada, start of the ritual
in the middle of the trance ritual with m'allem Abdellkebir Merchane.
with m'allem Abdellatif, his small troup and my friend Said from TREQ -gnawa during our recording.
a short clip from my recording of m'allem Abdellatif. It will be part of short documentary I'm doing about different maestros.
Now Im back in Sweden after a week spent in Morocco. It's obviously TOO short but I still managed to do what I came for. First up was the moussem (which is kind of a festival) around Marrakech. I entered some lilas (gnawa rituals) and also recorded the great master Abdellatif "Sidi Amara". After I had a few days relaxing with my family in Rabat.
trying to get some training done in the family house in Rabat -it's not vacation times yet, for a year...
The sun was out, around 20 degrees... Now I'm wrapped in a snowstorm in northern Sweden, in Umeå, for gig with my old band Giddabros/Giddabush. I guess you could call this travelling between extremes...
I know, this is in a way, a pretty boring performance post... December 13, 2010
The year, as we on the so called earth (and in the s.c. "west") call it, is coming to it's end. For me it means the end of a cycle and soon the beginning of a new one. The climbing cycle. I usually take 2-4 weeks of, in the end of the year, from climbing to recover 100% and then start the training for the new season. But after climbing just so much this year I still felt I wanted more. As I already started to feel tired from all the climbing this year I put in a last effort to try to do one more route. I had tried this route "Esclatamasters" in Perles (Catalunya, Spain) in october and felt I didn't want to save it for next year, but give it one last try. It wasn't too hard to leave a cold and snowy Sweden for some climbing in the south. But it turned out to be really warm (for being december in the pyrenees) and humid, and the route quite wet in many places. I desperately went to Andorra and bought a blowtorch (which I'm an expert with after trying this wet route in Sweden this past summer) to try to do some miracles. And it worked well. Also, the last day the weather was perfect and the route was 99% dry. Just before the sun set entirely I set of on my last try. And you know how that last try always end up being -desperate. And somehow I managed to fight my way up this amazing line of 40 meters with all styles (exept maybe off width), doing all the trix I've ever learned. This is what matters. But as climbing has turned into as much of a controlled society (I guess thats what climbers "back then" tried to escape from) as modern western civilzation it also has the fictive grade of 9a. I'm NOT going to take up the grade debate here but let's just say I rather climb than discuss these kinds of subjects... we then finished the day at the club Jazzsi in Barcelona (always live flamenco on fridays). This place would be reason enough to come to Catalunya.
getting ready. note the blowtorch that has turnend to be a part of my basic climbing equipment. I guess I will need it this winter in Sweden if I have any desires to touch rock before april...
only 35 meters to go... venga bicho!
I also got some scratches on my rental car and need to camouflage it before returning it tomorrow, so the struggle is not over yet. and by the way: never fly Ryan Air. and if you would -never take their Hertz rental car offer. just a little hint...
an early winter... December 1, 2010
ohhh metteo! November 17, 2010
About one year after visiting Mexico I was back again. This time because of the Petzl Roctrip festival held at the crags of El Chonta (near the city of Taxco) and Jilotepec. The agenda was climbing, sightseeing and party as always. It was really great to see the old team+some new faces and all the hyper psyched mexican climbers that had attended.
visiting the pyramids of Teutihuacan and then the mescal ,shamanic sauna, on one of our rare restdays.
the Petzl-team in a new shape...
my man Ste Mac on the, to say the least, spectacular "8a" in the El Chonta cave.
As always we would get out first and finish last. As it's the end of the year/season for me I really had to push hard to try to keep up with the pase. My batteries are running low and are hard to recover... Our spartan home in Jilotepec was also a test for someone who needed to rest and who already travelled 8 months this year. But it was a really unique experience, especially when the team was still together and had not yet looked for a more comfortable bivaque. And the final party in Jilo was as crazy as ever, with a local Mariachi band warming up the crowd. We entered the scene with the Sagagnass Sound System at around midnight with mexican wrestling masks on -the crowd went bananas!
crankin' during our days in Jilotepec. photo: Marcos Ferro
After the festival a pretty big group stayed in Mexico. But I felt like I wanted to see more than just rocks as I had travelled so far. So I jumped on a night bus to Chiapas to see the beautiful city of San Cristobal and experience the magic of the rainforest, waterfalls etc around Palenque. On my way back I also took a day in Ouaxaca -now this i REAL Mexico!
To finish the trip I stayed with some new friends in Mexico City to experience the local climbing+traffic jams...
Miguel Hernandez at his home turf, a 30 meter pump 8b.
and me trying to follow his example
But as with everything, it has to come to an end. It was time to leave the desert for the nordic winter. And of course I got harassed once again at the George Bush airport in Texas on the way back home -but it was worth it!
re: think October 20, 2010
Going to Spain in october and finding your usual climbing friends should be routine by now. But things rarely turn out the way you might have thought. I finally didn't get in touch with any of the usual bunch (or they where out of town). So what do you do? -Like I used to in the old days when I would hitch alone around France and Spain: you just turn up at the crag and make new friends. Exept the comfort of a rental car makes things a bit less stressful. And it worked instantly! I teamed up with the french team of Eric and Greg and of we went. I was supposed to go to Spain to climb routes but one day also found myself bouldering in France. Just go with the flow as someone once said...
sending a "short" and resistante 8c in Margalef. youve got to love those 2-finger pockets! and merci Greg for saving the day!
after Eric's wild 30th birthday party I suddenly found myself bouldering in Targassone in France -world class!
one route thats been on my mind for a while: "Esclatamaster", 9a, in Perles. I finally got to try it and I'll soon be back for you sucker! It's THE line: 40 meters of all styles: tufas, pockets and the crimpy final (crux) headwall -the state of the art.
with my partners in crime at the hotspring near Targassone: Eric, Nina (guest star) and Greg. Mind its about freezing temps and snow in the air...
in need of a so called vacation September 26, 2010
The perfect place to relax and vacation is a place where you can't do anything. For me it has always been at my grandparents in Kauhava, Finland. It's been like a second home since I was a kid and the endless fields, forests and lakes always always gives me a peace of mind. Although I had booked 2 weeks this time it seemed as if it was not long enough due to too many activities to call it a true vacation...
only one hour from our house is the city of Vaasa with endless bouldering potential. here on a classic 7C at Runsor, close to the airport.
since I come here at least once a year I built this little wall a few years ago. It's not big but enough to keep the power going...
trying to collect a few working class points by shoveling bullshit on a restday at my cousin Annikas farm.
leaving the coutryside for 24 hours: I had a dj gig at my sponsor C2´s (distributor for Petzl, La Sportiva, Beal etc in Sweden) 10th anniversary party in Uppsala outside Stockholm. But I also had time to climb and did a few last routes on the list in the area -a benchmark 8b+ etc.
back in Kauhava playing some good old tango and waltz tunes with my grandfather Eero.
with my grandfather and best friend Eero at the heart of Finland and what we call "lakeus". I hope this master will stay with us for at least a few years more.
marathon times September 7, 2010
with Dani and Andrea enjoying some real Gothenburgish food at my place in Gothenburg.
Oh boy -it's been some hectic times lately: just too much of everything. I'm now in Finland on somekind of vacation at my grandparents, trying to recover from all the rush in the past. But all the crazy rush has also been crazy fun!
To sum it all up: climbing mostly outdoors and bolting, a climbingfestival in Stockholm (slideshows, clinics, comps) where also Dani (Andrada) was invited and we then continued to Gotheburg to climb and flim a little movie, "Bestcoast Riot", that will be ready for this winter (keep you eyes open on petzl.com), another festival but for music -the yearly Vox Pacis peace festival in Stockholm. Add to all this that it's the month of Ramadan wich for me means no eating when the sun is up!
Dani doing a brutal OS of "Sator", 8a at Örnberget, Stockholm.
Back in comp mode winning the Swedish CCH at "K2" during the Swedish Climbingfestival in Stockholm.
Finally sending the testpiece "Laroy" 8c. The problem with this one is that a few keyholds are almost allways wet. During the send they were at least less wet... photo: Martin Arvidsson/maphoto.se
the crux of the route, it's an extension to an allready existing 8b+ called "Leroy".
one of our 5 gig's with my band TREQ-gnawa during this period, here at "Stallet" in Stockholm.
parts of the Vox Pacis team at Sofiakyrkan in Stockholm after our last performance. artist pictured here from India, Tibet, Sapmi, Morocco, Senegal and Israel (Shipra, Chime, Marie, Said 1, Said 2, Ingrid, Mamadou, Loten and Paul) -a truly unique spectacle!
the right time July 22, 2010
bouldering at Vetteberget, Fjällbacka with a sauna near the ocean and a BBQ waiting
There are some periods of the year when I really prefer to be anywhere but in Sweden. The summer is generally not that time: the weather is perfect, the ocean warm enough for a swim after climbing as you are almost always climbing on walking distance from the ocean or in worst case a lake. The sun sets at around 11 p.m. so you have plenty of time also for the late BBQ. So I've been doing just that and some bolting etc. Hope to get some new stuff done before Dani (Andrada) and Dave (Graham) gets here. We will hopefully make a little movie about this so stay tuned!
putting the last bolt in on a future classic in Evenröd.
trying a project ages ago (as you can see by the looks of it) in Granitgrottan. I finally did it as the route is dryer than ever =climbable.
I took a few days of to go to the tradeshow in Germany and had a thriller dj set at the Peak Performance party, a good warm up for the upcoming dj gig's!
the final July 5, 2010
5th and maybe the last..? June 20, 2010
Relieved that our car was still in the right place (after our 2 weeks in Mallorca, leaving it near the Barcelona airport) and nothing was missing, we soon hit the road again. After picking up my buddy Anders "Vinränk" Lans in Barca we headed towards France. I thought that gorges du Tarn would be good for all of us as it has routes in (allmost) all grades. But it was my 5 trip to the Tarn so I relized, when we arrived, that I had done allmost everything. Fortunately almost everything -there were still a few goodies to have a play on.
cleaning some routes I'd missed OS but never tried to RP. some of the best climbing ever as ususal in the Tarn!
ah, a new one! a great new 8b+ in the l'Osasif sector. I'm quite sure it wasn't a project, but if -don't tell anyone..!
One thing was different though -the conditions and temps! Usually it HOT at this time of the year but we were lucky to have some of the best weather so far this year: cool, windy and not too humid.
I also celebrated my 29th birthday with finally finding a good moroccan restaurant, in Millau and then a slow jam with Anders in our motorhome.
It's also our last week of the 3 1/2 month trip before heading back to Sweden. Not because I'm done but because it's time to visit my family. Before leaving again...
how to go to Mallorca for 2 weeks and avoid psicobloc... June 14, 2010
yet another newly developed crag on the island, somewhere between Pertxas and Lluc.
Mallorca has been on the climbing radar for ages. A few years ago the psicobloc (dws) sceen took of bigtime with Miguel Riera, one of the local climbers, as the main man in developing the islands potential. Even friends of mine who don't climb ask me if I've ever done any "psicobloc"??? I thought -"wow, this genre really seemes to be in fashion right now, as even non-climbers know of it!". I'd done some in France but Mallorca seemed to be top notch for this kind of activity. So on my way here I thought that at least some time would be used to go solo above the ocean. I finally ended up not doing one single psico climb. Why you might ask? Because the sportclimbing is just so damn good aswell+the locals didn't seeme too psyched. I got a date with Miguel but we went to a bar insted of climbing...
"Commando Madrid", superclassic 8b i Pertxas.
Since over 10 years back I've read some articles about climbing in Mallorcs or for example Christian Griffith doing some of his best on-sights here. In an old portrait of Yuji (Hirayama) in the french magazine Grimper he has Mallorca as his absolute favourite area. Routenames like "Commando Madrid" and "Football Fan" stuck to my mind (allthought I'm everything but a football fan...) As allways with place you'd thought about going to for along time its something extra to finally arrive there. And then do those, at least in your mind, mythical routes...
tufa fest on "Mr Magoo", 8a+, Gorg Blau.
And as allways, there is more there than you knew of before arriving. Dani, who has spent alot of time here, gave me some tips. But it was finally with the locals, that I got the real treat. Big thanks especially to Pep Sabater who MADE this trip happen for 2 weeks.
Now we are of again. Take the plane back to the mainland, Barcelona -hope the car is still where we left it! Maybe have time for some music in Barca tonight, pic up my friend Anders "Vinränk" Lans and then probably move towards la France once more. The endless voyage continues...
with my boys Juan and Pep in Fragel.
to hit the wall and move on... June 2, 2010
the road to Rodellar -the scenery makes you realize youre on the right way!
As the Bielsa tunnel was closed the drive from Toulouse to Rodellar became an epic! I'm glad we made it alive! Finally in Rodellar I finally felt the calm. I climbed into the night that day and finally felt at peace again. I mean, how can you be stressed in a place like this?
After a few days of climbing my body finally said NO! I realized I had not taken a break for more than a few days since I started climbing again after my injury. All by sudden everything felt hard and every route was a struggle... I knew I needed to take a bigger brake but how is it possible when you are in Rodellar and then going to Mallorca? Anyway, I had to lower my ambitions and just do what I could -just climb anything!
on a long and nice 8a+ in Las Ventanas, Rodellar. fighting for 30 meters...
relaxing with my buddy Aid Baxter in Las Ventanas.
The time in Rodellar was of course great as allways. Climbing, meeting friends, had a little gig at my friend Alex's place Dharma and did some moonlight skateboarding. Finally someone stole my board as I didn't lock it in that night. The skateboard was not a BIG loss but the fact that people steal from you makes me feel sad. I also hear (and it's happened to me aswell) about people loosing draws they left on projects, loosing ropes they stashed at the the bottom of the crag... ad to this all these crazy dogs eveywhere, people using the trails as a toilet. I suppose "freedom" has different defenitions..:(
playing the guinbri at bar "Dharma" in Rodellar. I felt kind of lonely without the rest of the band...
After a big week in Rodellar it was time to move. We are now in Mallorca and had my first day of climbing yesterday. As the heat is rising we might do more psicobloc (dws) than expected. Time and weather will tell...
history repeats itself -the festival era May 21, 2010
10 years separate these 2 photos of me and Francois Legrand. The first one is taken in les Calaques when I was living in Aix En Provence after finishing high school in the year 2000. The second one is taken in Buoux last weekend at the Escala'Buoux festival. Many things have happened since then but some some will allways be the same. When I left Aix after living there for 6 months I remember Francois saying -"if you stay with climbing I'm sure we will meet again". And here we are as if it was yesterday... we've met several times after I left Aix but now it's 10 years later wich makes, at least me, really sentimental!
Anyway, after leaving Spain (and soon to return) there has been some festivals going on. First up was the yearly MelloBlocco bouldering festival in Italy. It attracts over 2000 people so it really feels like a big gathering. I've been there a few times before so I knew what to expect. And the rain didn't seem to stop anyone either. And as usual there was alot of partying and we played with the Sagagnass on the friday eavning. This time we had several guests (well I suppose I'm also a "guest", ey Fouche?) with Nico Favresse on the mandolin, Philippe Ribiere on the mic and Cody Roth finishing the set with style. A great party and the next eavning we were on the dancefloor instead!
Dj Lafouche and Cody behind the decks in Melloblocco.
After Italy I spent some time in Toulouse climbing at the nearby crags and climbing some amazing routes! I was so happy as the rain had stopped and I finally found some climbingpartners who were free! Then we were of again for the festival in Buoux. I was great to meet some friends and also see some real legends such as the Menstrel brothers, JB Tribout, Legrand, Yann Ghesquier etc. They had also reopened and rebolted the ouest sector so there were some real classic to do. And that is appart from all the other routes that were on the list! I was happy to finally do Chouca, Tabou, No Mans Land etc -real benchmarks of their time.
Francois Ze Big on Chouca, 8a+.
flashing a nice and probably classic 8a at the reopened ouest fase in Buoux. photo: Fred Labreveux/Grimper
On the way back west we climbed at Cantobre and La Verriére to get a last taste of France before going back to Spain. Next up will be Rodellar (if it is dry) and then Mallorca. I hope the water will be warm enough for some psicobloc..! And as usual there has been alot of things going on appart from climbing. I was lucky to run (yes -I was out jogging!) into the dosso n'goni (Mande harp lute) maestro Zaky Diarra in Toulouse. So tonight we will have a final jam before checking out of Toulouse -namo!
trying out some fine harps with Zaky before bying a new one. damn, how will all these things fit in my allready PACKED home in Gothenburg..?
movie from Joshua Tree -Peak Performance 2010 May 4, 2010
the simple life April 29, 2010
So, what is really the simple life? Climbing in itself is sometimes really hard but to able to focus only on that it becomes sort of simple. The climb-eat-sleep life at least sounds pretty simple? Simple and hard doesn't need to be the same thing either... enough of this for now. I'm currently staying with my friends Dani and Andrea who just got a new house and land outside of LLeida (Catalunya, Spain). With so much land you will have to become a farmer -like it or not. But I guess there is a reason why ou choose the country life and leave the city behind. Anyway, the place is still in the centre of all the good climbing and the past time we've spent mostly in Margalef. I was a bit anxious before coming here, wondering if my finger would work in all the hard pocket climbs. But now I'm reliefed as I've done all the little projects I had here; 8b+, 8c, 8c+. As allways these are all just numbers, but its great for your self confidense to know you can pull hard again after a big injury as mine.
the farmer Dani himself making shure he will have food on the table also tomorrow
I know I've posted a photo of this route before but the line and rock is just so beautiful. 8c, 8c+?
a few 8's a day keeps the doctor away... photo: Laurent Lafouchardiere/Petzl
photo: Adam Lincoln
I also used the restdays to finally find a teacher in the Chineese violin the Er-Hu in Barcelona. We aslo run into some friends, other good music and too much good food: the asian buffé with all you can eat sushi, candy, ice-cream etc... I've also met all kinds of nice people out here in the mountains who came and went. It's also time for me to move on soon (but to return in a near future). Next stop: Toulouse and then the Melloblocco festival in Val Di Mello in Italy for a music gig with the Sagagnass Sound System and climbing (not like last year when I played and just watched peolpe climb)!
After searching in Paris I finally found him here at the metrostop "Espanya" in Barcelona, the Er-Hu teacher that I have a hard time talking to. He only speaks chineese...
The easygoing beachlife of Barca with an unusually interesting and good street flamencogroup with a blond! flamenco singer. Olé!
beautiful landscapes (and peolpe) April 12, 2010
the fine region just south of the Pyrenées and the home of worldclass climbing: Oliana, Tres Ponts etc
Arriving in Toulouse was great with some real spring feelings in the air. I checked out the local crag of Saint Antonin a relized, once again, how many great crags there are outside the mainsteam climbing radar. Yes! But it was hard to find partners during the weekdays so I had only one option: hit the road again... I headed for the up and coming crag of Oliana, some 3+ hours from Toulouse. I was there a few years ago with Chris with only a few routes and no peolpe there. This time I went alone and found that everybody (ok, not everybody but loads of people) were there includig loads of new routes. Team America/the Island, team Lleida with captain Andrada´s voice echoing all the way down in the village, team Basque, team Sweden but also legendary french hardmen Serge (l'Idole) and Bruno (Graou), both friends from before. Suddenly finding a climbingparner seemed to be the least problem... and good routes? Anywhere I turned my head..!
Serge "l'Idole" Casteran and Bruno "Graou" Clement with the crag of Oliana in the background
team Sweden member Erik Grandelius smoking an imported Cuban cigarr after his send of yet another 8c.
after last years big break from climbing I feel like a ticking bomb, finally back in my right element. here in Margalef on yet another route (hopefully) ready to go down.
So, Oliana is great but we also revisited Tres Ponts, took a day in Montgrony and are now in Margalef wich also seemes to have more peolpe and routes than before. Now wonder though, this place is truly magic! And to cultivate ourselves we placed a visit to the party capital of Barcelona and my favoutite club JazzSi with liveflamenco on fridays. The Best!
team Sweden member Björn "Hawaii-Böna" Strömber remembering the good old days, getting ready for a night out in Barca
eveybody should experienece this place sometime. or at least I'm happy to have had the possibilty to do so. OLÉ!
(on) the road March 29, 2010
After 1,5 month in Gothenburg it was time to hit the road once again. The massive amounts of snow finally started to melt away and it was possible to top out routes and boulders without the help of iceaxes... First up was a 3 week tour with my teacher Christer Bothen in the Stockholm area. I was glad to drive a rental car so digging out my own could wait a bit more. We did 26 gigs+1 recording during this period. Ad training myself+others, some slideshows in Stockholm+Odense (Denmark) and socializing the 3 weeks ended up being a true marathon.
finally touching some stone. my friend Petter Restorp trying a beautiful line just 3 minutes walking from his house in Bohuslan, Sweden.
the on-the-road-office, here at the Stat hotell in Katrineholm during the tour.
Maestro getting ready for one more show
in the studio
an of the set tour gig at Multi Kulti, Stockholm feat. Ismail Essakali
saying goodbye to some friends/musicians and the Restaurant Bazar, the venue where we have been jamming in past. the place is closing down so this was our final jam there...
After the tour I barely had time to stop over in Gothenburg and say goodbye for this time. A final jam at Bazar was the highlight of the weekend. Then dig out and pack the car to go south. First stop was Paris and Fontainebleau. Climbing and music, as usual... last time I was in Font was 10 years ago so it was great to be back. The final night we also went to see my friend Nuru Kane on his releasgig for his new album (www.myspace.com/nurukane). Now we have reached Toulouse wich will be the base for the months to come. Le Tarn/Dourbie/Boffi+Catalunya being just around the corner. The future looks very bright indeed!
my buddy Tonde cleaning up yet another classic in the forest.
Nuru Kane and the Bayefall Gnawa performing at Les 3 Baudets near Pigalle in Paris. !!!
how to survive a REAL scandinavian winter? February 21, 2010
going off piste with my boys from back in the day in the scandinavian alps: Hemsedal, Norway.
So this is what a real winter should be like? I can't eaven remember when we had this much snow in Gothenburg (and Sweden in general for that matter) last time. Maybe when I was a kid, but only maybe... a new record! Man, I have to start almost every by day shoveling snow in front of my door just to get out of the house. When did that happen last time? -never! I love this though, this is the snow that lights up the otherwise dark wintermonths in the north. And you can finally do the things you always dream of otherwise. Most of it has been the basic stuff: training (but more that usual!), music (gigs, recordings, jams) and the good life. But ad skiing and we are really talking!
nordic ski with coach Jens ner my home in GBG.
9-10 training sessions a week. got to try to get back in shape before moving south in march. here: systemwall -check. weightbelt -check. lock off or die (blocar o morir, ey Dani?) -check!
doing some new Giddabush (that turned into a duo) recordings in "Studio Shaman" with Fredrik.
at the opening of the Gothenburg International Film Festival with Deniz and the "Balkan Beat Party" crew at Trägårn. photo: Sussi Bergren
Snow is fun and all but you can't f+++ing freeclimb in these conditions. And I'm not a fan of the ice axe... so after I finish a 3 week tour with Maestro Bothén and some more training its time to move south for real. Next stop: Toulouse and beyond.
the Caribbean Cruise tour -moving between extremes January 25, 2010
La Habana -love at first sight...
This years "exotic" trip went to Cuba and Mexico with Cuba being the first stop. First up was, of course, the mythical city of La Habana. This city and all the other places we visited in Cuba was unlike any other place I've been to so far: no comercials, nothing fancy, nothing new -no bullshit! Just old buildings, old cars, music and dance everywhere, you eat whatever there is still left on the meny. For someone like me, who is all about old school, this was The place. You could write several books about this place or read the ones that are allready written. But this place has to bee exerienced if you get the chance. So. We didn't spend our time slacking. We walked the streets, went out for salsa music and dance (I just happend to be travelling with two salsa experts!), ate whatever was available and also went climbing at the "el Morro" fort in the Habana habour.
the spirit of "el Che" lives on...
doing some wicked routes on the "el Morro" fort with La Habana and the sunset in the background. Magic.
taking a "batido" (milkshake) by the end of the day near China Town i La Habana. the guy to the left is Pellin, my timbale drum teacher who just climbed for the first time a few hours earlier.
El Morro was great fun but I didn't travell all the way here only to climb on historical buildings... Next stop was the center of Cuban climbing -the Vinales valley. Home of a couple of hundreds of routes, and hundreds of mosquitoes! I had a great time, despite the mosquitoes though. There was a small but great small community of local climbers and also a bunch of travellers so finding climbingpartners was no biggie. The ocean was not too far away to cool you down on restdays. And the nightclub with live music on the main plaza rocked every night. For more info, check out: www.cubaclimbing.com.
the beauty of the Vinales valley. it reminded me a bit of Yangshuo in China. photo: Yarobis Garcia
climbing at the Palenque sector with parts of team Vinales/Cuba, Canada and Sweden below. photo: Olivier Ouellette
finally feeling it a bit. here sending Cubas testpiece, the "One Inch Punch" 8b+. maybe a bit in the soft end of the scale but who cares? The perfect route! photo: Yarobis Garcia
After Vinales it was time to celebrate x-mas so we headed to the city of Matanzas to meet some good friends. I also found a bit music going on, the roots of afrocuban batá drumming. Then it was time to leave Cuba for this time. Next stop was climbing in northern Mexico: El Potrero Chico and el Salto. But in between some quality time in the Mexican caribbean on the Yucatan peninsula.
jamming with the sacred batá drummers in Matanzas. this is a big part of the afrocuban Santeria cult and the roots of rumba music.
taking a break in Tulum near Cancún in the Mexican caribbean. great freediving/reefs just 5 minutes swimming from the beach. and the great drinks and food wasn't too far either!
Arriving in Monterrey, the closest big city to all the climbing, we started asking our selves what the hell we were doing there? The temps had dropped about 20-30 degrees from the caribbeans. I know I hoped for cooler temps in Vinales but this was a bit too much. The worst morning was when I woke up with -something in the air and snow on the tent... but the time we had in the Monterrey area (Potrero and el Salto) was a blast nevertheless.
Potrero Chico by night. photo: Sean Leader
on another great 8b, on the las Animas wall in el Salto. photo: Sean Leader
trying to stay warm in our little cave that we used as a livingroom in el Salto. coming up on the laptop is the 80's classic "American Ninja" starring Michael Dudikoff. but don't worry, you can also rent cabins in el Salto, but with no heating. photo: Dirk Smith
On our way home we had some final days in the Cancún area, just to melt a bit before heading for a snowcovered and icy cold Sweden. The journey continues...
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