Thursday, July 29, 2010
Daydreaming of Sessions Past...
So the heat and my schedule havent allowed me to get out and boulder since the Nowhere boulders, but I can still daydream about bouldering:) I've found myself thinking a lot about last summers Europe trip, my honeymoon, in which I got to visit and boulder at so many great places. Fontainebleau was amazing, but the spots and routes in Portugal seem to flash through my memories more than Font. With such an incredible variety of bouldering locations, from cool shaded mountainous sectors to super sunny sharp yet polished limestone on the rocky cliffs of the Atlantic Ocean, Sintra/Lisbon has within 20-30 minutes of each other, the place is an adventure boulderers paradise. The map above is of Portugal, with the bouldering areas shown in red and roped areas in yellow. I've seen these photos on Climbing.com for a while, but I've been looking at them more and more lately and daydreaming about those incredible sessions I had in such magical locations. Sintra is only a 20-30 minute train ride out from Lisbon, which is where my wife researches the changes associated with modernization and urbanization on the human skeleton, especially the skull, at the National Museum of Natural History. We have visited Lisbon twice before, staying about a month each time, and have plans to go back for more research within the next couple of years...but I'm ready to head over there right now! Lisbon is awesome...the history is incredible, the food is delicious, the night life is a blast, and the people are nice and friendly. The bouldering areas are documented and somewhat travelled, but not overused by masses of folks like most places here in the States.
Here is a shot of me on Bikini V5 at Baia do Mexilhoeira (translates to Mussel (Muscle) Beach...appropriate!) This was one of the sun soaked, seaside limestone areas...and my main local spot while I was in Lisbon.
Another spot that I'll never forget was Pedra do Urso...a higher mountain desert with plenty of great routes and FA's waiting to be had. This place, including the immediate surrounding mountains too, would take several lifetimes to completely climb out...some folks have called it the Hueco of Portugal. The image with me bouldering in front of the carving of "Our Lady of the Holy Star" is one of my all time favorite bouldering pictures, and one of my favorite bouldering memories of our trip.
If you are thinking about heading over to Portugal for some climbing, I highly recommend you get a copy of the Jingo Wobbly guide to Portugal and also check out the Boulder Sintra Website for more up to date info and a more recent bouldering guide. The local bouldering scene has gotten bigger and bigger in the last few years and this website is a good way to connect with the scene...just dont forget to click the "translate" button on the Google taskbar in Explorer to see the site in English. Here are some great intro videos of the area I robbed from Boulder Sintra...daydream with me:)