Tom Bolger, who grew up near Keighley has joined a very small club of UK climbers to have climbed sport 9a, not once but twice last week.
Tom (22) lives with his partner Lynne Malcom at the epicentre of hard Spanish sport climbing, ten minutes from the cave of Santa Linya, developed mainly by Dani Andrada and home to Chris Sharma's super route, Neanderthal 9b (UKC News report).
Tom Bolger: significant ascents
- 10/02/26: Fuck the System 9a, Santa Linya
- 10/02/24: Direct Fabelita 9a, Santa Linya FA
- 09/10/04: Guilty perpetua 8c+, Disblia
- 09/10/17: Digital System 8c, Santa linya
- 09/10/06: L´espiadimonis 8c, Margalef
- 09/09/25: Arresto perpetua 8c, Disblia
- 09/05/25: Cadena perpetua 8c,Dsblia
- 09/04/27: Cadena a Muerte 8c,Disblia
Tom is sponsored by Five Ten, Edelweiss and Arc'teryx
Direct Fabelita, proposed 9a
No one had linked a direct into Fabelita an 8c, but most thought it would be 9a.
Tom had been working this for a while and had fallen off several times from the last move.
He reports on his blog,
"Soo psyched, after falling on the last move the other weekend and then a week of crappy weather i thought it was going to be another 9a which i have fallen off the last move and not done!!!
Well, it didn´t start all that amazing today, we went down to the crag not expecting much after a storm yesterday and torrential downpour , to find the crag more or less dry. The sun was out and a strong wind was whipping round the cave making it feel crisp and cool. After 3 miserable attempts falling at the same spot, a really bouldery sequence, in the lower part and time to go to work approaching, i was ready to call it a day.
However a japanese friend of mine whose name i cannot begin to spell gave an amazing display managing to do his first 8c+, today is his last day in spain after a long trip and he was super psyched, this Psyched me up to give it that one last "TRAINING GO" and that was it, somehow even though i felt tired before i started it was just one of those attempts when everything feels right !!!!"
Direct Fabelita has a proposed grade of 9a
Fuck The System, 9a
Three days later Tom succeeded on Fuck the System also at Santa Linya, a long 9a that is the extension to the classic 8c Digital System.
Fuck The System first climbed by Patxi Usobiaga and repeated by Dani Andrada, Adam Ondra, Eduard Marin, Ramón Julian Puigblanque and possibly others, its status as a 9a has been confirmed. Adam Ondra said, "normal for grade I think".
A big congratulations to Tom.
Daila Ojeda's Fish Eye 8c
Other significant news is Daila Ojeda's realisation of her first 8c, Fish Eye at Oliana. The route was bolted by her partner Chris Sharma and given to her as a present.
Daila said this at her blog:
"I´m very satisfied because when I tried it first time I thought ¨I couldn´t do this route in my life, too long (50 mtrs!), very physical and with a surprise in the slab final..uff I don´t know man..¨ but well, trying and trying I loved the route and just I was psyched to progress and that was fun! thanks to Chris and my friends of course! :-)"
Fish Eye has been repeated by Geoffray De Flaugergues.
The Cataluña report (updated): Sharma climbs First Ley, 9a+
And news just in is that Chris Sharma climbed First Ley, 9a+ at Margalef.
"It starts in the First round, First Minute project, but finishes on the left". As it turned out, it was an FA, now called First ley, weighing in around, 9a+. The route climbs the first part, ~8B/+, of the FRFM project, up to the small rest, and then goes left into the last part of the "Ley innata" project, which you follow to the top."
You can read more about the Spanish sport climbing scene at Bjorn Pohl's blog, The Low Down.
Peter O'Donovan comments:
Must have been something in the air last Friday, what with Daila's redpoint of 'Fish Eye' and Tom's second 9a in a couple of days.
UKC: It's all going down over there. Dave Graham having any success?
Yes, it seems that after a bit of a lull in activity over the winter (which has been pretty poor in general) things are kicking off again. Dave Graham is still going strong, and has his heart set on 'Papichullo' (9a+) at Oliana. I've been up there a few times lately and it's almost like a scene from 'Groundhog Day' — Dave on Papi, Daila on Fish. At least on my next visit Daila will have moved on to something else.
Amidst all this activity it's almost gone unnoticed that Dani Andrada sneaked a couple of notable ascents in at Santa Linya recently — 'Ciudad de Dios' (9a/9a+), and 'Open your Mind-direct' (9a+). They share the same start before going separate ways after about 15m.