Brit Expat Sends Spanish 5.14d/15a


1/31/11 - On January 20, Brit Tom Bolger climbed Edu Marin's Ciudad de Dios (5.14d/5.15a) in Santa Linya, Spain. Bolger, an English teacher currently living in Santa Linya, worked on the route for about three months. "The thing that attracted me to the route is that it combines really bouldery and endurance climbing broken into sections with a couple of crazy, contorted rests," Bolger said in an email. "I thought it looked amazing."

This is the 23-year-old's fourth 5.14d or harder, according to his scorecard. "The route suited me, as I am really into steep, athletic climbing, but the thing that is really important is that I never got bored of trying it," Bolger said. "It has got it all: crimps, pinches, toe and heel hooks, inverted knee bars, everything."

On his blog, Bolger describes the first section of the line as "a five-bolt 8c+ (5.14c), which is really bouldery, with two main deadpoint moves. The second part is longer and requires you to switch over quickly into endurance mode."

Bolger had to force back a mental struggle with the route before his send. "My biggest struggles were the mental battles," he said. "Getting too nervous had seen me falling numerous times on the lower bouldery section, and those excited nerves of 'I'm going to do it' had seen me plummet agonizingly close from the finish." But he managed to overcome the anxiety, maintaining a calm facade for the send.

Three days later, "riding the high of the send," Bolger ongishted his first 5.14a: L-mens at Montsant in Catalunya. "I'm really psyched to keep trying hard to see what I can do," he says. Next up? He attempted Chris Sharma's Catxasa (5.15a) in the Santa Linya cave. "It's awesome and has a really hard deadpoint move to a mono in near horizontal territory," he says. "Definitely psyched to keep trying this..."

Photos to follow soon.

Dates of ascents: January 2011

Sources: Tom Bolger,