Monthly Archives: June 2013

In spanish, “psicobloc” literally translates into “crazy bouldering” which is probably the best way to describe deep-water soloing, a scary but exhilarating form of climbing in which the climber ascends without a rope (aka: soloing), but does so over the ocean so the water serves as protection in the event of a fall. Perhaps the most revered location to practice DWS is Mallorca, one of the four Balearic islands in the Mediterranean sea off of the coast of Spain.  As I explained in my other blog post about the sport climbing on Mallorca, my friend Nat, who just so happens to be a super strong rock-climber, has been living in Palma, the main city in Mallorca. So, when the opportunity presented itself to go to Mallorca and crash on his couch for a few days while sampling the islands climbing, I couldn’t resist. Nat graciously agreed to host me and show me both the sport climbing and DWS.
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View from the road leading to Gorg Blau, a climbing sector in Mallorca located in the mountains

My four day trip to Mallorca, one of the four Balearic islands off of the eastern coast of Spain, started off with me getting lost in my bright blue Fiat Panda rental car on my way to find my friend Nat. Luckily, this rental car experience didn’t start nearly as badly as the one I had in Portugal, where it took me a good five minutes to figure out how to put the car in reverse (I’m a good stick driver, I swear). This time I hopped in and, feeling like a boss, pulled out onto the freeway with major ganas to eat a bocadillo (“sandwich” in Spanish and quite the popular lunch item) meet my friend Nat at his apartment in Palma and leave as soon as possible to go climbing.  I met Nat almost three years ago at UC Davis, my university, at the climbing wall in our school gym, where my love affair with climbing began. Still, we never really climbed or hung out together too much apart from sometimes climbing together at the gym. When I first arrived in Barcelona some casual facebook browsing led me to the discovery that Nat was living in Mallorca teaching English and, more than anything, climbing overhung limestone tufa. Read More

A few days after my surgery. You can see my wheelchair in the background;
I’m so glad to be rid of those space boots. Recovering from the surgery
in the end was the easiest part of the entire experience
Yesterday I finished my final exams here in Spain and now I can look forward to two months of traveling and, above all, climbing. It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago I woke up with excruciating foot pain after what had already been the most challenging six months of my life. I took the quarter off and lived from doctor’s visit to doctor’s visit unable to run, drive, walk my dog, climb or even run basic errands. The pain consumed me and I fell into a depression and became a shell of my former self.  I lived from diagnosis to diagnosis, hearing words that terrified me, words like “neuropathy” , “Lupus” and “permanent nerve damage”; words and vague statements that threatened to change my way of life forever. Four months passed without an answer or relief and I was beginning to doubt that I would be well enough to leave the country in January or even to live a normal life at home. Then, in the middle of November, after countless doctor’s visits and tests, I was finally diagnosed with compartment syndrome, a rare ailment that only requires minimal surgery to cure. Read More