On Monday 25th of May, 21 year old British climber Tom Bolger redpointed Cadena Perpetua F8c, at sector 'Disblia' of Sant Llorenç de Montgai, near Lleida in Catalunya.
Although the grade of F8c may seem rather modest by current stratospheric levels, the route, which features extremely powerful climbing out through a 20 metre cave roof, has very probably seen only two repeats (before Tom's) since it was first climbed in 1996 by Dani Andrada, and that's not for want of people trying! “Old school 8c”, Dani calls it.
Tom and girlfriend Lynne Malcolm came over to Catalunya last summer, ostensibly on an extended climbing trip, but almost immediately fell in love with the place and decided to settle. Their work schedule, as English teachers at a private language school in Lleida, consists mainly of afternoon/evening hours, thus letting them climb at least 4 days a week, but only if they get up early — the pair must pack up and leave the crags before most of the local hotshots have barely finished their second espresso!
Tom's previous achievements here include Ingravid Extension and La Nueva Ola, a pair of F8c+'s at Santa Linya, both featuring similarly appallingly steep rock to his latest Sant Llorenç ascent.
Given his age, motivation and exceptional talent, it surely won't be too long before Tom enters that most select of clubs — Brits who've done F9a.
UKClimbing.com would like to thank Pete O'Donovan for this report and superb photographs.