As with many of the routes in Santa Linya, there are options for different variations, giving different grades. Catxasita, the route that Tom climbed, shares the same start as Catxasa (which is 9a+), but has a slightly 'easier' finish.
Tom, who lives close to the cave and knows all the routes, explains:
"The meat of the route is in the first 6 bolts which are super steep and bouldery with the crux revolving around a low percentage stab to a mono. This part is considered 9a or 9a/+ in its own right, from here there are two possible finishes to the route one is Fabela 8c+ (giving you Catxasa 9a+) and the other Fabelita 8c (giving you Catxasita 9a/+)."
Tom had originally been trying the harder version Catxasa:
"This is the only project that I have tried over two seasons, it became a ball and chain, as I felt that I couldn't try anything else until it was finished but couldn't do the route because I had lost motivation, which was absolutely key in being able to do the scary move to the mono. This move is completely different to any other move on a route I have done before, it requires precision but also determination; you have to silence the little voice in your head that tells you your finger is going to explode when you catch the mono.
To add to the despair I found a new and better sequence for the top part but could no longer do the bottom, the mental games with this route were incredibly frustrating."
Tom had a quick trip down to Margalef to get away from his Santa Linya project. He tried the 9a Era Vella, and got some psyche back:
"That very short break and trying another hard route gave me loads of new motivation. Basically with Catxasa I had given myself a mental block and decided that the best way to break this block would be to try the other finish (Catxasita), to take a fresh approach to the route.
It seemed to really help, as soon as I decided to try the other finish I didn't fall off the mono move, and after a couple more tries I reached the chains. Super psyched to do this route and feel that it is my hardest to date!"
Well done Tom, and good luck on Era Vella in Margalef, and also on the other finish in Santa Linya - Catxasa!
Tom Bolger is sponsored by Edelrid