Jorge Diaz Rullo on hard first ascents, harder projects, and climbing (almost) all of Finestra

© Adri Martínez

At just 24 years old, Jorge Díaz-Rullo is quickly cementing his status as one of the most capable climbers in the world.

In February of this year, we reported on his first ascent of Mejorando la Samfaina (9b+), a route in Margalef that was - unbelievable as it may be - second-fiddle to his main project, Café Colombia.

At the time, Díaz-Rullo had already put more than 100 days of projecting into Café Colombia, with much progress, but no ascent. At the end of March, after '120 days in total, 3 seasons', Díaz-Rullo called time on his most recent season in Margalef, having come 'closer than ever', but still ultimately failing to make that crucial first ascent. He promised to 'come back stronger in a few months and try to finally finish off this project'.

That's not to say that his time in the Finestra region was unsuccessful, however. Upon leaving Margalef, Díaz-Rullo shared the following ticklist:

Jorge Díaz-Rullo Finestra Ticklist  © Jorge Díaz-Rullo
Jorge Díaz-Rullo Finestra Ticklist
© Jorge Díaz-Rullo

He accompanied the ticklest with the ominous sign-off:

'Perfecto Mundo and Cafe Colombia, I will come back for you'.

Shortly after, he went to Santa Linya, where he onsighted Fabelita, 8c, and then climbed four 9a's in four days of climbing, with, Ingrávids shers R3, Joe Dan, Fabelita R2 (9a), and La Fabela Por La Enmienda (9a).

In between climbing (almost) all of Finestra, putting in the hours on what may well be the world's third 9c route, and heading to Céüse to take on Bibliographie, Jorge found some time to answer a few questions for us.

Congratulations on an incredible Finestra ticklist! Was it a deliberate choice to try to climb all the routes in the sector, or did it happen accidentally?

Thank you very much! The truth is that it has been quite a surprise, I never thought I would get to do all this volume of routes that I have done on this wall.

Now, it seems crazy seeing the past, I came here to stay a couple of years ago because some friends were climbing here and at that time it was very difficult for me to climb any route on the wall, but at the same time, that motivated me to stay longer and train very hard.

It's amazing that there is so much world class climbing, and the potential for so many new routes, in a single sector. What is it about Racó de la Finestra that makes such great routes?

I love the crag, all the routes are very high quality and all really hard. It really appeals to me to aim for routes of this style, because for me they are very hard, very physical, it requires me to be in my best physical shape and they are all a real challenge.

Besides being good training, after climbing here for a season, going to other sectors to climb in other styles feels easier.

You mentioned that the Margalef style of climbing was difficult for you when you first started climbing there, was there any specific training that you did to help you adapt, or was it just through climbing there more that it became easier?

It's true, in my training seasons I aimed to improve my finger strength in extension but my main training has been climbing there. I have now spent four seasons at Margalef and in particular, having projects on this wall.

You recently established your first 9b+ route, Mejorando la Samfaina, in Finestra. How did it feel to finish the route, and to propose 9b+?

It was a very exciting moment because it was very clear to me that it was the most difficult route I've ever done, and raising the level is always a great motivation, not for the route itself, but for the fact of seeing myself at this point and seeing all my progression, all my effort and all my work done over many years.

I recognize that at the time it was very intimidating to propose this difficulty, but after hearing the opinion of great climbers who had climbed the separate routes of this combination, it gave me even more confidence to launch this 9b+ proposal.

You have another project, Café Colombia, into which you've already invested 120 days of climbing - you're clearly very committed to the route! What are the latest developments with Café Colombia?

This last season I came very close, I fell on the last crux four times. Although that last boulder problem is hard, I had a very good feeling [when I got there], in fact, I felt much fitter than previous seasons and than I have ever been before.

However, there are many conditions that have to come together and chaining such a hard route is always a difficult moment to find.

In a recent post you mentioned the psychological challenges of Café Colombia, can you tell us a little more about the mental challenges that you've experienced whilst attempting the route?

Of course, the physical is not everything, and I definitely felt that I lacked a lot of self-confidence and in general [needed] to improve [my approach to] this more mental part of the route.

A route this far out on the edge and this long term is very hard in every way, and Café Colombia is a route that keeps pushing me to the limit, intimidating me, and making me nervous - but I'll be back, and I hope I'm up to it next time!

Does Café Colombia feel like a step up in difficulty compared to Mejorando la Samfaina?

Yes, for me Café Colombia is the next step up, it is definitely more difficult than Mejorando la Samfaina.

Many days I tried Café colombia, and after giving a good attempt I was able to try tired Mejorando la Samfaina. Even the day of the send, before [climbing Mejorando la Samfaina] I tried two times Café Colombia.

The reverse of this was impossible, for Café Colombia I need to be very rested, in my best physical shape, and with very good conditions. I never felt something similar in any other route.

Has anyone else tried/is anyone else trying Mejorando la Samfaina or Café Colombia?

As far as I know no one has climbed Mejorando la Samfaina, but it is a combination and some have climbed the lines separately.

Café Colombia has been tried by several climbers, some of them very strong like Alex Megos who climbed all the other lines on this wall, but unfortunately no one has been motivated to try it with me.

You've climbed at a high level in so many different climbing disciplines, with a 9b+ FA, multiple 9b routes, an 8C boulder, 8c onsights, and even a couple of solos at 8b+/c. What would you say your biggest goal in climbing is at the moment?

I wouldn't choose just one discipline, for me all of these goals have been equally important in my career.

Many ascents have left a mark on me and are moments that I will never forget, especially those that have cost me the most. In this sense, the level has not been important.

Where are you heading to next? Are there any specfic routes there that you are excited to try?

The truth is that I want to try everything, and I'm always very motivated to try to raise my level in all styles.

After my current projects, I would like to travel, and do it in sectors where I am more comfortable with the style of climbing, with more 'tricks' and longer routes. In particular I have in mind to visit El Verdón and Flatanger in the near future.

If there is one route that you would love to repeat more than any other in the world, which route is it and why?

There are many routes that I would like to repeat all over the world, I am motivated by all the routes and all the boulders but I don't think I will have enough time for everything I would like to do haha!

Right now, the lines that I have in my head, and that I would most like to climb, are the two projects I have: Bibliographie and Café Colombia.

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