Climbing an 8c has been a big goal since I started sport climbing. It represented a huge challenge for me and always seemed a little unrealistic, however I was excited to try and hoped that one day I could complete this goal. I started sport climbing just over a year ago when I climbed The Cider Soak (8a), as soon as I did this route I was hooked, I wanted to climb on a rope all the time! A month after that I climbed my first 8b- New Power Generation in Gorges du Loup. This is when the goal of 8c really started but I knew it would take a lot of work; I started trying an 8b+ at Anstey’s a little but soon realised that I wasn’t near strong enough so decided to leave it and hopefully come back and do it in the future. Just under a year went by and I still hadn’t managed to do my first 8b+. I had a go on Patpence (8a+) at Anstey’s Cove in April and then set myself the goal of climbing Tuppence Ha’penny (8b+) before my trip to Rodellar. The reason for setting this goal was to bridge the gap between 8b and 8c which would be a main goal on the trip. As the trip got closer I managed to do Tuppence Ha’penny… the following week I did Poppy which is considered to be hard 8b+ and has been given 8c in some places. Shortly after that I did another which again was pretty hard at 8b+ called Chimera. I knew that by putting a bit of effort in an 8c might be possible on the trip!
Upon arriving in Rodellar I wasn’t so keen to put loads of time and effort into trying hard on an 8c, I just wanted to climb, there was so much there and I just wanted to try it all! After spending about a week and a half ticking loads of routes, I wanted to start trying something a little harder. I’d been specifically training to try Pata Negra which is a huge 40 meter route where most of the climbing is in a roof. After having a quick go up it I knew that it wasn’t going to happen due to a big jug breaking off creating an additional and very hard crux. So I had a look at another classic 8c there called Welcome to Tijuana which is very short and very bouldery. Before the trip I wasn’t to keen to try this route after playing on it I actually really enjoyed the moves and was excited to give it some more goes.
As I wanted to try loads of routes in Rodellar I decided to take a different approach to this route instead of my usual way of working something which would be to spend days on it trying the moves over and over again. This time I would only try the route when I was really tired, after having a full day of onsighting and feeling ruined. My theory would be that if I could do the moves when tired I’d have a good shot at doing the route whilst fresh! I also knew that I probably wasn’t quite strong enough yet as my primary training focus prior to the trip was on endurance so I decided to go and do some bouldering in the Ali-baba cave where I did my first V12’s/Font 8A+’s!
After three end of the sessions where I had one go up the route each I decided that a rest day was needed and then I may have a good chance of doing it. The following day, I was very strict and spent the day lying by the river and swimming a couple of times. I tried to completely forget about the route and just completely relax for the day… I took an early night that evening and was super psyched to start giving the route some redpoint attempts the following day. I woke up early, had an appropriate breakfast and headed down to Café Solo. I had a quick warm up on a 7b and went up the route to put my quickdraws in and had my first redpoint… The first redpoint attempt went surprisingly well; I climbed through the first boulder and now all I had to do was the top section which I found much easier. I got through the upper crux and was soon setting up for the very last move which was a big powerful sideways throw to a good finishing hold…I threw for it and couldn’t quite get it! I rested for 30 minutes and had another go. The same thing happened except this time I got the last hold but couldn’t quite hold it and I was soon spat off for a second time. I decided that I was going to have an hour rest and one more redpoint attempt. This time everything felt really good, everything went perfectly, I climbed the route exactly how I wanted to; I got to the last move, chalked up quickly and went all out to latch that last hold! I had done it! I clipped the chains feeling super psyched and over the moon that I had completed this long term goal.
Doing this route was pretty special, it shows that all the hard training has paid off and gives me a huge amount of motivation to continue training even harder. Doing the route as quickly as I did was also very motivating and I’m really excited to start trying something even harder now but for now I’m looking forward to a lot more training and also doing some more competitions. Here is a video of Neil Gresham redpointing the route last year: