Patxi Usobiaga Onsights 5.14b/c

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Patxi Usobiaga on La Novena Enmienda, one of three 5.15a routes he has completed. Irati Anda /

The Basque climber Patxi Usobiaga has onsighted Home Sweet Home (5.14b/c) at Pierrot Beach, France, his second onsight harder than 5.14b. The ascent caps a remarkable week in which Usobiaga onsighted four 5.14 routes.

Following the Chamonix lead-climbing World Cup on the weekend of July 12-13, in which Usobiaga failed to make the final, he climbed in Switzerland for two days. On Tuesday, July 15, he onsighted Omerta (5.14b), followed by a 5.14a climb, both at Umersee. The next day, he onsighted Trummelbach (5.14a) at Gimmenwald.

After returning to France, Usobiaga warmed up with a 5.12c and 5.13a on July 20 at Pierrot Beach, and then attempted to onsight a 5.14b and an uncompleted project thought to be 5.14a, falling on the latter only when a foothold broke as he stood at the chains. “Channeling his anger,” as his website put it, Usobiaga tried an even harder route—Home Sweet Home, a climb first redpointed last April by Mickaël Fuselier—and this time he nailed the onsight. Still hungry, Usobiaga attempted another 5.14a onsight but misjudged the final hold and fell.

Last December, Usobiaga, 27, onsighted Bizi Euskaraz (5.14c), the first onsight of this grade. He has redpointed three 5.15a routes, La Rambla, La Novena Enmienda, and Realization.

Strangely, given his obvious onsighting strength this year, Usobiaga is not faring as well in competitions as he did in 2006 and 2007, when he won the World Cup lead-climbing titles. After two competitions, he is ranked eighth in the World Cup standings.

Dates of Ascents: July 15–20, 2008,,,

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