Mar Álvarez gives us her great story of being the fifth female having done 9a by Era Vella in Margalef. In total it took the firefighter some 30 days.
The story began some months ago thanks to some friends. They encouraged me to train hard because they thought I could do 9a. However, I took their words as a simple joke since I thought the 9a grade was something unreachable for a person like me (I'm not a professional climber and consider that I don't have any special skills to climb).
I did really train hard but only because I enjoy it and like to push my limits. At the end of spring the person who has been helping me with my trainings (Pedro Bergua) told me that I had considerably improved my strength and endurance and aimed me to try hard routes. It was then when I started considering the possibility of trying a Era Vella. If my friends believed I could, why not just try it? I had nothing to lose.
I decided to try this route because I needed a route near home that I could try the days I did not work and a route beautiful enough not to get bored in case I had to give lots of tries. I started trying it at the end of june. At the beginning felt impossible, but this process of feeling something impossible, keep trying with motivation, don't give up despite difficulties, see improvement and finally feel it as possible, is what really motivates me of climbing.
What is the next plan?
As I have been trying only one route since june, now I want to climb easy routes so I can send them fast. Hard projects will have to wait until next year. Since I don't stand cold (my hands and feet get frozen too quickly) I nearly only climb outdoor on summer. Below 15 degrees I can’t climb, my hands and feet get frozen and I can’t get them warm. My optimum temperature is between 22-26 degrees. When October arrives, I hold the rope and start my indoor training, which takes 3 or 4 hours 5 or 6 days a week.