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The New Levels

Beta freak show.

Colette and I have visited the crag of Santa Linya on and off for years.  One of my favorite things to do as a climber is revisit spots you have tested routes previously.  I have always been in love with the style of this place and its inspired me since the first time I read about it online.  I remember hearing about the activity of Dani Andrada putting up 9b routes, the size of this cave, and all the potential routes.  For me this was a new moment in climbing.  Climbers from all over Europe started making more trips to the Lleida area for the new 8c+ routes and it became the birth of the modern Catalunya craze.

Old photo of Dani on Ingravids Skerps 8c

When we first visited the place it was 2005 and Colette and my first trip anywhere. We were living out of a tent, barely scraping by with money, and seriously slumming it.  We had saved just enough money prior, quit our jobs, moved out of the apartment… and just kinda went for it.  (When I think about it now, that is a perfect metaphor for my life actually.  Taking chances and not looking back.)

Keith Ladzinski photo of our first trip. Colette running through the country-side.

Colette on a route at Terradetes. Keith Ladzinski photo.


That trip consited of climbing time with Dave, Klemen, and Keith Ladzinski and Nelson.  We spent TONS of time at the comfy crag of Terradetes and my projects were in the 8b+ range.  I was so easy to be psyched with all of the new buzz going on and the newest/hardest routes in the world being sent.  Each day we would get news that Dani sent a new one, or a new project was bolted, or news that kept the intrigue high.

When we walked into the cave for the first time I went BONKERS…. running around screaming and almost crying.  I think Colette was looking at me like I was truly crazy.  I was just flipping out from seeing it for the first time after reading about it so much.  In my mind at that point that cave was THE SH*T!!!!!!!!!!!

Dani on Novena Enmienda 9a/+

What’s so cool about the cave is that all the routes are so inviting.  It’s simple to test out anything you want.  Most routes have draws, bolted simply, and just plain accessible.  It really is like a giant gym and it’s RAD!!!!!!!  Up until this year my hardest in the cave was an awkward 8c called Ingravid Skerps, which I did on that first trip.   I worked the piss out of that route and the day I sent (after two weeks of effort) Pablo Barbero walked up and hiked it right in front of me on his second try.  He killed it and campused through sections I had to tech-the-fu** -out, which wasn’t just an impressive display of climbing, but a realization for me and for Colette… The feeling was:  We were far from home and far from what we were used to.  That was a perfect example of the sort of action that you come across while climbing here in Spain.  The standard of what’s difficult here is SO much higher than the USA it’s sad.  Daniel Woods!!!!  Make your plans and come visit man!!!!!!!!!!

Keith photos of me on Ingravids 8c.

So fast forward to now.  I am older and traveled more.  I have a lot more routes under my belt and have learned how to climb better in terms of focus, energy, and prioritizing.  I am able to literally enjoy rock climbing more than I used to.  I can see through the haze of doubt.  Maybe it’s because I am past the youthful-proving-myself-phase?  Maybe it’s just because I have grown and become less impressed with things?  Or possibly it’s just the plain old narcissistic-self-obsessed-climber-approach that is just inevitably present?


This year I have approached the whole endeavor with a new game and it’s actually working.  I have come with a little strength and I am using it.  Sending is actually occuring, my strength for this specific wall has increased, and the harder routes look a LOT more do-able.  Confidence in climbing is so important and being able to see through routes and know you will climb them is a moment in time to relish in.  As climbers we are always up and always down and this is just the natural cypher.  I am at the crag almost every day, I climb all year long (yes I am VERY fortunate) and this is my experience.  The lower you are in your climbing levels the more hungry you are to get stronger/better/faster/whatever.   The higher you are in your levels the more trust you have in yourself and your success.  The big questions is how do you regulate yourself?  How can you determine when you will operate your best?

Me on my latest send of Analogica Natural Left 9a. Manabu photo.

I know that my whole approach to climbing is the most effective when I am excited about the route, area, stigma, whatever.  My friend Dave Graham is the same and surely with Chris Sharma too (two climbers I observe and look up to).  The mode of operating at your peak performance always stems from a love, a sincere drive and a clean and simple motive that involves nothing other than you and the challenge.  If course you have the contrary as well which is training, eating, analyzing, and all of the technical aspects that the competition climbers use, but I would know nothing about this sort of thing.

It feels great when your climbing levels are up and right now I am eager to take advantage of it.  Usually when we come here for climbing it’s an act of bouncing around and hitting up this crag or that spot and working like 8 different routes.  I love that style for a shorter trip, but to invest and actually climb your hardest routes you need to hone in and that is why 9a look so much easier than normal.  Or even lining up two other 9a+ rigs that I just might climb…. this is an exciting moment in my climbing life and I am happy I can share it with you all…

Thanks for reading everyone.  Much love.

Idiotic looking photo, but dang… I had just sent!!!!!!!!


  • Rodrigo Genja - Excellent post Joey… I’ve been reading your blog since you arrived there in the cave and I have to thank you for the inspiration. Despite grades, I’ve been sending some proj’s lately and it’s been nice, all due to a change in the way of facing climbing… more fun, less demands (but it turns out that the acomplishments are raising).
    It looks like you are having a lot of fun there, and that’s how things are suposed to be, right!?
    Keep up the good work;

    Cheers from Brazil man!

  • Emily Harrington - Hell Yeah!!! Really enjoyed this Joe. I’m super psyched for you! Cool to see your pure passion and psyche showing through in your performance. NEW LEVELS!!!!! Hope to see you guys soon! AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAH

  • Pinti - you are one psyched dude, man… i love your blog, always inspiring to read :)

  • Brian Kimball - Most peoples favorite thing about Joe and his climbing is his psyche (he is SO STOKED it’s infectious) but I have been noticing something much deeper that seems to shines though his climbing and blogs. Joe is one of the coolest guys your going to meet right? A totally kind, OG, peaceful warrior type but where is all of this supernatural psyche coming from? Like Emily said he has Passion and Psyche but where do those all come from? How is he sending so hard? I will tell you what I think…I think this guy has a TON of Awesome Heart and Soul. Some people might think that is kinda corny or dorky but obviously its just NOT!! And IT WORKS like watch other more purely motivated Soul Climbers like Chris Sharma. I don’t think anybody would call Chris or Joe dorks and even if somebody did they would obviously be highly confused or jealous.

    I don’t know much and my motives can sometimes be tainted and impure but I am learning a few things. You can have all the perfect beta, you can train your ass off, you can be psyched and passionate BUT if your not climbing with Pure Heart and Soul your highly decreasing your chances of sending. Sometimes we send anyways but maybe we are missing out on experiencing the full joy of climbing or life in general? I know I have certainly missed out many times buy over obsessing about “the send” instead of enjoying the process and taking the pressure off the day, Hummmmm anyways…

    Awesome post Joe Santa Lynia has always been my first choice of places to visit in Europe it looks SO SICK!! Thanks for all the inspiration and pics. Your sponsors ought to give you a nice raise so you guys can keep the videos, pics and blogs rolling…I’m just sayin’ :o)

  • Joey Kinder - You are TOO dang kind Brian… you just made my day. Thank you.

  • ktmt - @Brian Kimball — well put!

    Great post. Inspiring, and shows that the climbing experience is the same for anyone who wants to get better, whether you’re at the top of the heap like Joe here, or well down in the masses of recreational climbers.

    Much can be said, as has been in the other comments, about this post. But I especially appreciated Joe’s reaction to when, “Pablo Barbero walked up and hiked [my just-sent project] right in front of me on his second try.” Instead of feeling discouraged or threatened or ready to give up, he allowed his eyes to be opened to a new world of what’s possible. He took it as inspiration, as motivation.

    Can’t wait to read of your sending a 9a+ Joe. I’m sure it’s in the cards.


  • Javier - Just curious, is the cave warmer there than terradets at the moment?


  • Joey Kinder - The cave is warmer.

  • Jimmie Redo - Great post Joe. Very inspirational on many levels.

  • GOCLIMB.IN - This is an incredible post, very inspiring! And the pics are just too good, thanks for sharing!

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