/ NEWS: Leo Houlding - Spanish Speed Climbing

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UKC News - on 25 Mar 2009
[BASE jumping from the Riglos Towers, 2 kb]Leo Houlding and Carlos Suarez recently teamed up on the conglomerate towers of Riglos, Spain. They hoped to climb and BASE jump from both towers in under two hours, and narrowly missed their target due to poor visibility on the second jump, completing an ascent and descent of two of the 300m towers in just over two and a half hours.

The climb was a training trip for Leo's 2009 expedition to Mount Asgard, dubbed 'The Asgard Project'.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=46629

Morgan Woods - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to UKC News:

excellent stuff and the trailer is really good too. hope the Asgard project goes well.
amf37 on 25 Mar 2009 - dyn093042.shef.ac.uk
In reply to UKC News:
Well, I hope he's going to at least ski off the top and use a union flag parachute to equal the 33 year old precedent of Rick Sylvester...
Mark Collins - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to UKC News: What do they do when they get to the top, lob all their gear down onto some unsuspecting belayer; with a firm shout of BELOW!!! No, really where is the rope and iron mongery when they jump off please. I need to know, I'm an engineer.
tobyfk - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Mark Collins:

> What do they do when they get to the top, lob all their gear down onto some unsuspecting belayer; with a firm shout of BELOW!!! No, really where is the rope and iron mongery when they jump off please.

The Riglos video also raises the question of how the parachute gear reaches the top of these cliffs? I am guessing that some fawning acolyte/ groupee was sent to walk around the back to drop off the parachutes in the case of the Zulu Demente cliff, but the other route they do in the video ends up on a detached summit with an F5+ multi-pitch as its easiest way up. They clearly don't wear the chutes themselves whilst climbing.



Morgan Woods - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to tobyfk:

it does mention they had a few warm up days before hand, plenty of time to stash chutes at the top.
In reply to tobyfk:

I don't understand - where was Clarkeson, and how is he going to drive up there?


Chris


;-)
Mark Collins - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Morgan Woods: Interesting, I guess I'm thinking of this as some kind of self-sufficient climbing/mountaineering expedition at its evolutionary leading edge. I had not considered climbing up and stashing some gear as hardcore enough, but thinking about it that sounds pretty sensible and nobody died. Nice one guys.
GrahamD - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Mark Collins:

All just a bit 'Xtreme' to be taken seriously as proper mountaineering, really.
Morgan Woods - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Mark Collins)
>
> All just a bit 'Xtreme' to be taken seriously as proper mountaineering, really.

the article does say fairly clearly it is training....maybe Leo freeing the second step on Everest is more what you would regard as proper mountaineering.
Ian Patterson on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Mark Collins)
>
> All just a bit 'Xtreme' to be taken seriously as proper mountaineering, really.

Possibly but:

'Zulu' 7a+, 260m took 45 minutes, in 2 pitches of simul-climbing with a 20 m rope'

260m of continuously overhanging 7a+ climbed like that still sounds pretty scary and impressive to me despite some 'Xtreme' conotations.



tobyfk - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Ian Patterson:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
rope'
>
> 260m of continuously overhanging 7a+ climbed like that still sounds pretty scary and impressive to me despite some 'Xtreme' conotations.

Agreed. Having been on that wall: it's a pretty mind-bending place to be messing about with simul-climbing. Though objectively quite a safe one (loads of bolts and continuously overhanging).

GrahamD - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Ian Patterson:

I don't know. This sort of thing is not anywhere near cutting edge climbing - it feels uncomfortably gimmicky to me.
Michael Ryan - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Ian Patterson)
>
> I don't know. This sort of thing is not anywhere near cutting edge climbing - it feels uncomfortably gimmicky to me.

Go try it Graham. Then report back and tell us if it, " feels uncomfortably gimmicky".
Etak - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD: gimmicky or not - looks like that had a good time! thats a lot of climbing, non to easy, in not much time
Dangerous Dave - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Ian Patterson)
>
> I don't know. This sort of thing is not anywhere near cutting edge climbing - it feels uncomfortably gimmicky to me.

How can simul climbing 260m of 7a+ in 45mins not be anywhere near cutting edge?
GrahamD - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Dangerous Dave:

I don't know - it all just smacks of being more of a stunt than anything else.
Michael Ryan - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Dangerous Dave)
>
> I don't know - it all just smacks of being more of a stunt than anything else.

Why?

Climbing up big walls then BASE jumping, also known as Para-Alpinism is of interest to many and is impressive. I wish I had the balls to do it myself and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Yes, it is being filmed and is part of project to climb and jump Mount Asgard.

Of course there is a commercial aspect, Leo has to fund his adventures and make a living. That starving artist, Al Lee has to fund his, well, his art, his filmmaking and photography.

As long as there is truth, honesty and integrity, I see no problem.

Mick

Diggler - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Dangerous Dave)
>
> I don't know - it all just smacks of being more of a stunt than anything else.

Just looks to me like there out there having fun isn't that what climbing is all about!

Good on them I just wish I had the balls (and the skill) to give something like that a go
GrahamD - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

As I said - I don't know why I'm uneasy with it. Maybe it smacks too much of self publicity. I guess I just get inspired more by the Mick Fowler approach to climbing - cutting edge but just not flashy.

There isn't a *problem* as such although I do think this sort of stunt can skew the general perception of what climbing is generally about.
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GrahamD - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Diggler:


> I just wish I had the balls (and the skill) to give something like that a go

So do I
Michael Ryan - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to GrahamD:

I do sympathise Graham and know where you are coming from.

As someone at the frontline of climbing celebrity promotion and privy to some of the shenanigans that goes on, as well as the misrepresentation of climbing in the media that we all witness BUT .... Para-alpinism is just as much about climbing as bouldering is or a day out at Stanage.

Mick
neilinut on 25 Mar 2009 - 92-234-187-92.cable.ubr21.live.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

its all big ron's fault for taking up parascending in 88 ;)
ianburton - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good point Mick.

I filmed this Riglos project with Al, and found Leo and Carlos climbing in this style as inspiring as I did filming Jack, Pete, Caff and Neil onsighting on hard trad in north Wales for On Sight.

Morgan Woods - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to Ian Patterson:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> Possibly but:
>
> 'Zulu' 7a+, 260m took 45 minutes, in 2 pitches of simul-climbing with a 20 m rope'
>
> 260m of continuously overhanging 7a+ climbed like that still sounds pretty scary and impressive to me despite some 'Xtreme' conotations.

Zulu only has 1 7a+ pitch, the rest is 6a/b.
James Oswald - on 25 Mar 2009
In reply to UKC News:
Awesome.
tobyfk - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Ian Patterson)
> [...]
>
> Zulu only has 1 7a+ pitch, the rest is 6a/b.

An outrageously situated 7a+ pitch though.
http://tinyurl.com/dx859j

The other route they did, La Carnavalada on the Píson, (note the spelling, UKC News ...) is more sustained, presumably the reason it took Leo and his mate a little longer to climb?
Morgan Woods - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to tobyfk:

yeah...according to my topo Carnavalada is 6a+, 6b, 5c, 7a+, 7a+, 6c & 6b.
Morgan Woods - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to tobyfk:

oh and awesome pano shot that as well.
catt on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to tobyfk:
> (In reply to Morgan Woods)
> [...]
>
> An outrageously situated 7a+ pitch though.
> http://tinyurl.com/dx859j

That looks like an outrageously positioned choss fest! (okay I believe it isn't, but it looks it!)
catt on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to tobyfk)
>
> oh and awesome pano shot that as well.

As is the next image on that page...

petestack - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to UKC News:
> narrowly missed their target

It's mighty (+ scarily) impressive and way above my head, but 25% over target isn't 'narrowly'! ;-)
JonRit on 26 Mar 2009 - 82-69-119-226.dsl.in-addr.zen.co.uk
Leo is a neighbour of mine and told me the story first hand, and I will vouch for the fact that what he is doing is truly in the spirit of adventure and pushing the boundaries of mountaineering. The Asgard Project is an inspired project and few posses the skill, judgement and courage that is required. If anyone can pull it off, Leo can. Good luck buddy!
amf37 on 26 Mar 2009 - dyn093042.shef.ac.uk
In reply to UKC News:
Thought I'd try and view the Asgard jump again - found it here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzA5R9aSFCI
Better in fact than I'd remembered - spectacular really.
Not sure if Leo only gets the tick if he's pursued by Russian baddies...
Oliver Hill - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to Morgan Woods: According to the present Riglos guide both routes are only 6b obligatory, equivalent to about E3, if you you pull or rest on the odd bolt. So the only thing exceptional is the speed of the ascents and the jumps.
Perhaps the key thing here is that both these routes are fantastic routes well within the reach of many weekend climbers. If you can climb 10 routes on an overhnaging climbing wall at 6b in 4 hours, then you should be able to do both these routes. If you are a bit stronger then there are 15 other neighbouring routes to do.
But the really impressive challenge is to do the 3 towers: the Rabada Navarro on Fire, Tucan Ausente, say, on El Pison; and Fiesta de Biceps or Pekintown on La Visera. 5 hours would not be a bad time and I assume quite a hard rockclimbing challenge even for the Spanish, and not so much in situ gear.
In reply to Oliver Hill:

The idea that the ability to do 10 x 6b on an indoor wall in one sess will get you up Carnavalda or Fiesta del Biceps is and interesting one indeed!


Chris
Michael Ryan - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Oliver Hill)
>
> The idea that the ability to do 10 x 6b on an indoor wall in one sess will get you up Carnavalda or Fiesta del Biceps is and interesting one indeed!

You are right Chris, 6b's on indoor walls are way scary and way under-graded.

If you can do 10 x 6b's in one session on one of the UK's big indoor walls, expect to cruise 7a's outdoors all day.

I'll put a smiley after this post

: 0 )

What is the one for tongue-in-cheek?
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:


Having said that, I don't think I have climbed anywhere more like a climbing wall 'red for hands, anything for feet'!


Chris
Oliver Hill - on 26 Mar 2009
In reply to Chris Craggs: I thought I said Carnavalada and Zulu Demente. I read that Fiesta is harder which is why I included it in a more challenging version.

The guide book says 6b obligatory. Climbing walls are usually much more sustained than outdoor and usually undergraded. I bet anyone who can climb 10 different 6b routes on the overhanging wall at Guildford would if properly coached cruise both routes with the odd rest. The problem here is that these routes look difficult and scare people off.

I guess my point really was that these incredible routes do not get many ascents from perfectly capable English weekenders. I hope I encourage them to have a go.
If I could climb the 10 above indoor routes I would do Zulu Demente next month.
In reply to Oliver Hill:
> The problem here is that these routes look difficult and scare people off.
>

That and the fact that they are miles of the ground and the pitches are huge and the bolts are spaced.

Chris
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Oliver Hill - on 27 Mar 2009
In reply to Chris Craggs: The important thing in climbing is not how far you are off the ground but how close you may suddenly get. The routes can be done with 50 metre ropes and need 16 to 20 quick draws. They are popular routes which are known to be safe.
I guess what I am saying is that you cannot compare a redpointed bottom end, weekend climber Grade 7 climb with the bottom end Grade 9 climbs regularly being done down the road in Catalunya, an international level of sport climbing.
As far as speed, I could eat my bowl of porridge in 5 seconds but it is more enjoyable over 5 minutes.
jon on 29 Mar 2009
In reply to Oliver Hill:

Imagine though, if your average 6b resin punter doesn't see through your troll, they'll get themselves in a lot of trouble. I can see them squatting in that enormous vultures nest on Zulu's last pitch saying '...now pull yourself together, this is Guildford...'
Oliver Hill - on 30 Mar 2009
In reply to jon: Back in 1989 when the Spanish were just getting started, Carlos Garcia soloed both Zulu Demente and the more sustained Fiesta de Biceps:
‘I look down into space, I hang from an arm, without distance, alone, free, it is worth absolutely nothing, there is no hope. The past does not return and no move is repeated. If you fall, no-one will pull you in and let you down softly to the ground, you burst open’. One of the most inspiring deeds of the '80s. (Obviously he carried on up).

Maybe some Guildford 6b punters can take up the challenge. I suspect by the time they get to the last pitch they will be quite impressed. They have three choices: go up, go down, or write a letter to the guide book editor complaining about the 6b obligatory grade. As an encouragement the bolts are close on the crux. But you still need power to connect them. For the experienced, retreat is possible but laborious and not a place to learn. Better to have the power.

As a 6a+ punter I have resisted the suggestion to do this route, though I would dearly love to do both ZD and Carnavalada. As Chris Bonnington said in his well written recent Summit article up to 50 you can bounce up routes, after 60 you just creak. Marvellous outings for the able, as Leo and Carlos Suarez demonstrate.
jon on 31 Mar 2009
In reply to Oliver Hill:
> (In reply to jon)
> complaining about the 6b obligatory grade. As an encouragement the bolts are close on the crux. But you still need power to connect them. For the experienced, retreat is possible but laborious and not a place to learn. Better to have the power.
>

When I did Fiesta, only the belays had been replaced... in between were the odd old bolt, threads, pegs, tat etc - it felt fairly solid E5...

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