Climbing in Croatia
After months spent training at home I finally had the opportunity to travel this summer! As someone who is very used to living out of a suitcase going between comps, the prospect of spending summer at home did not fill me with joy, so when some mates asked if I wanted to join them on a climbing and scuba diving trip to Croatia, I didn’t hesitate to book my ticket. Paklenica may not be as well known as some other European sport climbing destinations, but it certainly has a lot to offer.
I have always focused primarily on indoor climbing, following a busy training schedule which over the years has given me little time to get outdoors. However, with the competition season as good as cancelled this year, I’ve spent lockdown transferring my skills to rock. Before going to Paklenica, all my trips have been performance focussed-not what you’d exactly call a ‘holiday’, but rather an opportunity to show how my training had paid off. For this trip I decided to adopt the mindset of wanting to climb hard, but not letting this get in the way of simply having fun. I love competing, but a break from such a high-pressure environment was definitely needed.
The first couple of days were a shock to the system; in such high temperatures I adjusted my ambitions and mentally prepared myself for not sending anything hard. However, spending a rest day scoping out cool climbs reignited the desire in me to push my limits. Hram, a natural archway hidden away from the main path, immediately caught my eye and I decided to get up at 5am the following day to make the most of slightly cooler conditions.
|Hram in all it's glory|
Admittedly it wasn’t the easiest to get out of bed but once I was at the crag I knew I had made the right decision and within 15 minutes of arriving I had flashed my first 7c+/8a (without a warm up-yes, I got stupidly pumped). With this under my belt I knew I couldn’t leave without trying the hardest route in the arch-Mrakan (8a). To my disappointment, this one didn’t go down as easily and after a couple of attempts I realised it was getting too hot for me to have a good attempt. Luckily, my mate Jack had found his own project and was keen to return the following day at the same time for better conditions.
|Post-flash of Funky Shit (7c+/8a)|
Waking up the next morning was a lot harder. I was sore, tired and doubting my ability, knowing that if I didn’t send that day, I would likely have to wait for another trip to Croatia. A few attempts in I had lost skin and the day was only getting hotter. Despite this, I managed to flip my increasingly negative mindset after watching Jack top his first 7a. The following go I was clipping the chains knowing that I had overcome a mental barrier I had placed on myself.
|Working the moves on Mrakan (8a)|
Unfortunately, with only one more day of climbing, my skin was in no position for trying anything harder, but I was able to leave Paklenica happy and ready for a well-earned rest week scuba diving with the boys. Reflecting on the trip, I feel more confident on rock and ready to project some routes in UK once I’m allowed out of quarantine. Thanks to Wes, Jack and Luke for making it such a fun holiday!
|Full crew after qualifying as Open Water Divers|