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Rodellar – a different experience…

Pop goes the finger
Finger injury caught in action

Finally I had a break from work and managed to time up with a fellow Swede visiting Spain to visit Rodellar. With Monday being a bank holiday in Barcelona and the high season in Rodellar in full swing, Friday night was sure to bring a big crowd. The plan was to climb a lot Thursday and Friday, relax Saturday and then try to finish one or two projects on Sunday and Monday. Well, it all went really bad. First route, first day: my neck locked up and I couldn’t look up or lean my head to the right. I understood that the climbing was over for the day and I went out into the sun to try to relax a little. Managed to find a fellow climber with a couple of pain killers to share and belayed my friend ticking El Delfin, 7c+.

Back in the village I saw some posters for a Pablo and Daina, two physio therapists living in Rodellar. I found Pablo and talked to him about what has happened. It turns out that he has worked in a big climbing gym in Brazil for 10 years and now lives and works in Rodellar. We make an appointment for the following day. Pablo receives me in the bungalow where they do their treatments. One intense hour of stretching and correcting I can all of a sudden turn my head and hope to actually climb during the weekend. Pablo is not very cheap but not extremely expensive either and he gives a big confidence in his advice. I rest a day and then Saturday manage to top-rope some easier climbs just to get the blood flowing. It feels good and I’m happy to again start thinking about the projects I want to try!

Sunday is spent trying routes too hard for me to send this visit. A long lunch break and then over to the Ventanas where Marc on-sights the classic Bis a Bis, 7a. I remember trying this route 2 years ago when first visiting Rodellar. I couldn’t do one move on the crux. Now I try it on top-rope to feel how my neck handles it. The route feels fairly easy and I do all the moves first try. The neck cramps a little but I’m really psyched so I rest a little and then head out for the lead. Clip the third bold and gun for the one small hold on the route. I get it perfectly and start moving my feet to go for a match. A very loud POP is heard and it takes me a couple of seconds to realize that the sounds was from my finger. I stare at my hand in disbelief and then let go. I talk to my friends standing 20 meters away and they ask me: “Was that sound from your finger!?”. I get lowered down and go straight for a Voltaren-tablet. Back in the village I get really sad and, as always, googeling an injury is bad… I straight away understand that the A2 pulley has been more or less ruptured and 45 days or more of rest is what is waiting for me. Gha! A couple of beers later I’m a better mood but the thought of not climbing for a couple of months right now feels… sad.

Pablo - the fysio in Rodellar I spend the night sleeping under the stars and in the morning pack up to head back home. On the way out of the village I swing by the camping to look for Pablo and ask for some advice on my second injury in 4 days. He calmly examines my finger and in 1 minute gives the diagnosis: “Not more than a small rupture, you’ll be climbing in one week!” The POP-sound was most probably from the ligaments getting un-tangled when I went from closed crimp to open hand. The finger is not swelled and does not hurt unless I put load it. He gives me advice on treatment (hot/cold water, massage, train the extension of the fingers) and how to tape when I start climbing. He then gives me acupuncture and slaps my shoulder and say, no problem!, you will come back here to climb in some weeks. Pablos 10 years of experience with climbing injuries is quite a difference compared to a normal medical examination. We will see in some days if the recovery goes as planned but if nothing strange happens I believe I’ll be back in the paradise of steep climbing known as Rodellar very soon, and a lot faster thanks to Pablo!

A few notes for the visiting climber:

  • Bring a pair of flip-flops for the river crossings. As you follow the sun/shade during the day you are bound to cross the river on at least a couple of occasions every day.
  • PLEASE try to avoid taking a shit in the valley. If you need to go, consider walking back into the village or at least dig a hole and make sure to bring the toilet paper back with you. This is a major access as well as a sanitary issue.
  • There is a new guidebook as of 2010. Oddly enough this is only sold in the very cool refugio Kalandraka and not in the camping. The new guidebook is a lot better than the old one so remember to look for the new, black guidebook. Price: 20 €.
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  1. Julia says

    Yes, agreed, the new guidebook is way cooler than the old… the only problem with it is that routes seem to get easier and easier grade-wise there!!!! For instance, whereas old guidebook humbly called Pequeno Pablo, at Egocentrismo, 7a+/7b, the new one goes directly for 7a+…The route is one of the hardest 30-meter jug-fests I have tried so far, not very far behind, in my humble opinion such classics as Magic Festival (7c) at Margaleff’s Tenebras…So go for the new book, but do not underestimate the routes, especially if you are not used to 45-degree overhangs with difficult bouldery cruxes…

  2. pau says

    Par wake up and fight, take a rest for one week and go for new projects !!!

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