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Despite a lingering finger injury, David Graham is firing on all cylinders in Spain. Last month, he redpointed two 5.14c routes in a single day at the Spanish crag Terradets, and then, two weeks later, redpointed a 5.14d. Two days after that, he onsighted the first ascent of a 5.13d and then flashed a 5.14a and 5.13d the following day.
Graham returned to Spain from the U.S. in February with a tweaked finger and a resolution to stay off super-hard routes for a time — nothing harder than 5.13c, that is. “I made it through a week and a half of enjoying the easier routes, then couldn’t hold off and started to try the two 14c’s just a couple of times,” Graham said. “I was psyched because I felt better climbing on them, but still had no resistance (endurance), and they felt impossible.” After some more rest and poor weather, Graham got the idea to try completing both routes in a single day: La Leccion 8 and Essencia de la Resistencia, both in the Bruixes Sector of Terradets. Graham takes up the story on the day of his ascents:
“I felt lazy and weak, and what’s crazy is, I climbed the first 8c+, La Leccion 8, first try! I was so psyched because I was pumped stupid, and just battled through it with cold hands, and really surprised myself — it did not feel like the day. I said I would chill for the rest of the day, and then immediately said fuck it all, I’ll try the other 8c+, I feel better. The Essencia de la Resistencia is less bouldery and more pure power endurance, thus the name, and normally it felt way harder then the other route (which is more bouldery). So I tied in and climbed it really well, just climbed like a resistance climber, and crushed. I was so psyched because this is not my style. I get pumped, I get REALLY pumped.”
Dave Graham climbing Esclatamasters (9a/5.14d) at Perles, Spain.Photo by Klemen Becan, courtesy of Dave Graham.
Two weeks later, Graham redpointed Esclatamasters (9a/5.14d) at Perles, a route he first tried last November and attempted eight times over four days before succeeding. “I was only back two times after [the first try], made a couple of tries and fell really high, but since no one ever wants to go there, I just got bitter and gave up on going…. [Also], my injury freaked me out because it was still hurting—not bad, but hurting, and I didn’t want to make it worse.” Finally, Graham’s regular climbing partner, Klemen Becan from Slovenia, convinced him to give it another go. “I was all nervous after I warmed up—typically, I doubted myself and said I would for sure do it the next visit,” Graham said. “Then I went and tried it, and I was psyched because I hiked to the best of my ability, and it was super-satisfying. The coolest thing in climbing is to prove to yourself you were wrong and you can do way more than you think.”
Confidence restored, two days later Graham onsighted the first ascent of Paris Hilton (8b/5.13d) at Santa Ana. The next day, with beta from Becan, Graham flashed El Percal (5.14a/b) and a 5.13d (whose name he doesn’t know) at Tres Ponts; he also onsighted a 5.13c and 5.13b at Tres Ponts that day.
For once understated, Graham said, “Good days!”
Dates of Ascents: February-March, 2007
Sources: Dave Graham, www.8a.nu