Basque climber Saioa starts up Penny Lane
I headed to the Penny Lane cliff with Niko from Germany, the Basque climbers Joaquin and Saioa, and Quebec native Lucie, amidst a mish-mash of languages - some of us spoke German, others Spanish and Basque , some French - but we had no one language in common.
Saioa near the crux of Penny Lane
I’d lead the eponymous climb, Penny Lane, a few days earlier and chose to act as team photographer while Joaquin and Saioa climbed the route.
The climb starts with a few delicate face moves off the ground - on small, smooth holds. Getting off the ground here has always gotten my attention. Right after the tiny face holds come a few layback moves on tiny edges and smooth friction for the feet. One more layback move gets you around the corner and onto a good foot hold.
From here, I’ve seen some climbers try to layback the following corner, or like Saioa above, use fingerlocks and toe jams. I generally stem the corner while trying to get my fingers into the crack when I can.
After the crux start, the remaining climb consists of great hand jams that easily make up for any struggles lower down.
Penny Lane’s a great warm up for the harder climbs on both sides, such as Crime of the Century, to the left, or Climb and Punishment further to the right.
Crime of the Century (5.11c), with Penny Lane visible at right