Margalef is a crag I have a difficult relationship with. Multiple times, I was leaving this crag empty-handed, with a painful and swollen finger from notoriously sharp pockets. And not really willing to return. Climbing on pockets is what defines climbing in Margalef. There are thousands of routes and literally millions of pockets in them. And pockets are my least favorite kinds of holds. Not only because they are painful, but most importantly, because I SUCK in pocket climbing. Multiple times I told myself I would finally improve and give Margalef a go, but multiple times I got my ass kicked yet again.
Then, Alex Megos made the first ascent of the infamous Chris Sharma’s project Perfecto Mundo, calling it 9b+. This line looks absolutely stellar. Perfect and impossible-looking bulge of blue and yellow rock, resistant from the ground to the top. A line that cannot be missed. More importantly, if it is one of the few 9b+’s in the world! But to be honest, I was intimidated. I knew this route won’t be easy for me. That is why I decided I want to go only when I feel ready for it.
In my long-term preparation for the Olympics, it is all about getting rid of my weaknesses. I thought this would be the right time to try to get rid of my weakness in pockets. And the ultimate challenge to prove it would be this route - Perfecto Mundo. I am pretty sure that the route setters won't set a route in Tokyo 2021 that would be full of pockets, but one can encounter pockets even on the competitions. It is better to be ready for it.
I spent a few weeks training specifically for this route. Letting my fingers adapt to one- or two-finger pockets, and working on the endurance that this route requires in high amount. I arrived in Margalef feeling motivated, determined and with the feeling “I can’t wait to finally climb on it!”. Yet at the same, climbing in Margalef is a lot about “skin management”. Success or failure depends on minuscule parts of skin on your fingertips, you have to be tactical, and sometimes deciding to call it a day even though your mind wants to keep climbing.
The first two days were successful. Obviously, I didn't send it, but I didn't split my fingertips, I worked out the sequences really well, and the route feels possible. I haven’t broken the mental barrier of Margalef yet, but I feel I am on the right track.