'Ironman' Adrian Baxter - F8c

Adrian Baxter has redpointed the stunning sport route of Ironman (F8c) in Rodellar in the Huesca province of Aragon, Spain.

Adrian Baxter back on Ironman (F8c) the morning after his successful redpoint
© Rob Gibson

Adrian is one of the UK's top sport climbers, who operates mainly under the radar, but consistently puts in impressive performances time and again.

Commenting on his recent successful redpoint, Adrian said:

"I've been having a total blast over the last two months climbing in Spain and Ironman was really the culmination of the trip for me. Although I am on a nine month sabbatical from work and will be heading to Yosemite and Central and South America for 6 months now - I decided to dedicate the last 2 months to sport climbing in northern Spain and have really surprised myself ticking a load of routes up to 8b+ on quickly red-point and on-sighting up to a few 8's up to 8a+ in a day."

Alberto Nasarre — first ascensionist of Iron Man on the neighbouring F8c of Florida, 159 kb
Alberto Nasarre — first ascensionist of Iron Man on the neighbouring F8c of Florida
© Pete O'Donovan
Ironman was first climbed by local hot shot Alberto Nasarre, pictured right on the neighbouring route of Florida (F8c). Both Ironman and Florida are on the very steep crag of La Surgencia. Ironman has a first pitch of F7b+ to gain a ledge (pictured below) before powering on up some impressive terrain, overhanging by 45 degrees giving the full F8c experience.

Adrian wasn't sure this was his trip for F8c, as he hadn't climbed at that grade before:

"I actually thought I wouldn't get an 8c ticked this trip as it has been dogged by such weird extremes of weather - it snowed twice, we experienced almost tropical thunderstorms, meaning 3 x 8c's I was trying were soaked for up to a week at a time, it reached 38 degrees . . . and I also had to return home for a month but decided to return for a week to get one done, and am so pleased that I made the effort!"

Big moves on big holds follow the midheight ledge, but Adrian found the top headwall to hold the most difficulty:

"Here you find a technical sequence on undercuts which can easily be blown as you have to make 6 foot movements to make 2 hand-movements followed by 4 more moves on slopers for hands and feet to get into a position to clip the chain; which you have level with your face for what seems like an eternity!

It's only here why you appreciate why this route is called Ironman because it really does not give up until you clip the chain - after a knee-bar two moves into the 8c, there's nowhere to get a rest to truly get anything back because it is too steep. It's really a timing game - knowing how to pace your climbing and not letting any individual move take up too much energy that you'll need higher up on the crucial technical section.

I reached the crux - 2 metres from the chain on my first red-point after a day of work and naively thought I'd get it next go . . . but once again, that's why its called Ironman .  . . those last 2 / 3 metres never ever let up and are definitely the hardest part on the route especially after climbing 38 metres to get there.

I red-pointed the route as it was starting to go dark on my last possible red-point on my final evening in Rodellar - it was an emotional experience!

Thanks must go to Harry Pennells for such incredible support belaying over the time I spent on it and to Rob Gibson who offered to take some shots at 6.30 am the next morning before I left Spain helped by Ramon Marin!

Thanks guys!"

Top female Spanish climber Andrea Cartas on the first pitch of Iron Man (7b+)
© Pete O'Donovan

Adrian Baxter is sponsored by Black Diamond , La Sportiva , Peak Performance & Maximuscle .

Big thanks to Adrian, Steve McClure and Pete O'Donovan for their help with this report, and to Rob Gibson for the photograph.

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