In which I take a photo every day that I'm 50, and post it here on this blog, with a bit of related blurb.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Day 83 - Day of Defeat


Today's photo perfectly captured the way I was feeling.

The plan was to do this long multi-pitch climb on Pared Negra, the large, blank rock face above me in this photo.

We'd practised various bits of technical ropework, checked all our gear, and thought through everything we'd need to do.  

I'd taken a photo of the relevant page in the guidebook, as I didn't want to have to carry a heavy book up the climb with me...but I realised that in the bright sunlight, I wouldn't  be able to see the screen on my phone, so I'd even sat and hand-drawn the rock face and the route topography, and written the route description on a piece of paper.

However, I'd been up for a couple of hours during the night, feeling quite poorly, and I've been completely unable to shake this virus or whatever it is.   With hindsight, I can see that during this holiday, every time I've climbed, I've felt significantly worse the next day...and I'd just climbed two days on the trot...

Still, I got up just after 8 o'clock, determined to give it my best shot.

However, when we got there at around 10am, and I saw this huge face soaring hundreds of metres above us, and more specifically, realised how far up I'd have to scramble before even starting the climb, my heart sank.  I knew I had neither the energy, nor the mental acuity to take on such a serious challenge today.  Just hauling myself out of the car was an effort.

So I had to accept defeat and acknowledge that this particular mission will have to wait for another day.

To give an idea of scale, as we hung around enjoying the view, some other climbers arrived, made their way up there and started to climb.   We took some photo's and video's, but in none of them can you even make out a human.  They're so tiny in relation to the rock face that they're just a pixel or two high, and indistinguishable from the rock itself.

So rather than use one of those photo's, I used this one, as Anna has really captured my general lethargy, as well as my gloomy sense of failure...yay me...

On a brighter note (literally, although not metaphorically), a flock of coloured birds flew past a few times, and we watched them circle and chase, behaving quite strangely.   At one point they landed near to us, and I caught some video, from which this still is taken.

gang rape, pigeon style

A spot of googling reveals that they're racing pigeons.   The "sport" they're used for in this region of Spain revolves around a group of sex-starved cock pigeons chasing a hen pigeon.  The males are painted in bright colours so that the judges can assess which one makes the best job of what is, essentially, attempting to rape the poor hen!

I like the Spanish, generally, but I have serious issues with their use of animals for sport...

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