On the 5th of March, just one day before her birthday, Caroline managed to fight her way to the top of Mind Control (8c+/35) at the Spanish super cliff of Oliana.
Having climbed the route a few days before, I had a pretty good idea of the difficulties involved, and decided to devote my rest day to being the perfect little Gri-Gri girl (boy) to give her the best chance of success.
My brand new 9.1mm Beal Joker was pulled out to help with the rope drag. We also worked out a nice method of climbing the first section with 2 ropes, clipping the first 5 or 6 Quick draw’s on one line then dropping it at the rest to allow the other line to run freely through the remainder of the route.
This is also the first time I have used a 100m rope! I remember back to my early days on the grit where a 50m would seem excessive – now, 80m seem short and on cliffs like Oliana, often leaving the climber dangling in space whilst the belayer works out how to get them down!
She clipped the belay on her second try of the day, 3rd red-point in total, with another inspirational display of grit and determination – there was no way she was letting go of the final tricky tufa.
With another project in the bag, there is nothing else to do today but lay happily in the sun, watch the beautiful view, and enjoy the company of good friends – what more could you wish for on your birthday.
Caroline Ciavaldini is sponsored by: Edelrid, The North Face, La Sportiva, Adidas Eyewear, Waxx underwear and Powerbar.