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Iker Pou, 44, continues to climb at the the highest level, just recently making the first ascent of Guggenhell in Mallorca, for which he proposed a difficulty of 9a+/b (5.15a/b).
Surpassing Big Men 9a+ (5.15a), another route Pou opened on the island in 2015—and which still awaits a repetition—Guggenhell is now the most difficult sport route in the Balearic Islands (of which Mallorca is the largest).
Iker Pou and his brother Eneko originally planned to launch straight into a year full of expeditions at the beginning of 2021, but the pandemic made that impossible. Instead they committed themselves to training and pushing their limits on sport climbs. While Iker made the first ascent of Guggenhell, Eneko scored a handful of his proudest onsights to date.
Guggenhell is over 50 meters long. The first part is a severely steep roof with powerful sequences, the most difficult revolving around two mono pockets—a style in which Iker is among the best in the world. The second part of the climb is more resistance based, with large moves between bigger holds, and occasional rests. All this leads up to the “final fireworks” as Iker calls it: A long problem that is more difficult the more tired one is.
Once the pandemic allows, the Pou Brothers intend to resume their expedition plans. “It is a decision that is still out of our hands,” they said. “We will continue trying important climbs close to home as long as traveling is not an option, but the truth is that we would love to be able to go out to the Andes or the Himalayas in the summer.”
Watch Iker Pou climb Guggenhell (5.15a/b)