3/20/13 - European climbers are tearing it up in Spain right now, with ascents up to 5.15a going down.
Germany's Felix Neumärker has been productive the past several weeks in Siurana, Spain: He redpointed his first 5.15a with La Rambla in the El Pati sector. Spaniard Ramón Julián Puigblanque made the first ascent in 2003, and this 130-foot, 17-bolt beast sat unrepeated for three years until Edu Marín nabbed the second ascent, with Chris Sharma redpointing it just a day later. Patxi Usobiaga, Adam Ondra, and Sachi Amma have since repeated it. (In 1994, Alex Huber made the first ascent of the 5.14c version of La Rambla, which finishes below the chains of the harder version.) On his blog, Neumärker, 24, said climbing La Rambla was "more than I could have dreamed about." Neumärker also climbed Estado Critico (5.14c/d) and many more climbs 5.14c and easier.
In Santa Linya, Norway's Magnus Midtbø, 24, made an ascent of Ciudad de Dios (5.14d/15a). He traveled to the area with the goal of climbing Chris Sharma's Neanderthal (5.15b), done in 2009; this route starts with a 5.13b section, followed by sustained climbing to a dyno, then more desperate moves to the top of the main Santa Linya cave. He's been bucked off Neanderthal due to wet holds (specifically, a tufa that provides the only good rest), so his attention was diverted elsewhere. Midtbø said on 8a.nu that Ciudad de Dios was "just for training, and it felt very easy." (Watch the video below to see him climbing Ciudad de Dios.)
Meanwhile, in Oliana, Swedish climber Matilda Söderlund redpointed Fish Eye (5.14b), her fourth of the grade. Söderlund needed only three attempts to finish the popular 165-foot, overhanging route, whose crux doesn't come until after 90 feet. She has also climbed Pati Noso (5.14b) and Dogma (5.14a) in Siurana, and flashed Batuka (5.13d) in Margalef.
Dates of ascents: March 2013
Sources: magnusmidtboe.com, 8a.nu