Era Vella, 9a, for Tom Bolger

© Said Belhaj

Tom Bolger redpointing Era Vella, 9a, Margalef  © Said Belhaj
Tom Bolger redpointing Era Vella, 9a, Margalef
© Said Belhaj

Tom Bolger, an Ex-pat Brit living in Spain has just climbed the Margalef classic Era Vella, 9a. This heralds a return to form for Tom who herniated a disc in his back in 2012.

In order to climb the route, Tom had to skip the last clip creating a 12m runout to the chains, which until that day Tom had never been able to bring himself to do. Due to perfect conditions Tom decided to go for it, but on his first attempt Tom took the ride. Tom described this attempt:

"It is a super clean and safe fall but it scared the turd out of me, I climbed higher and higher and got to the last cruxy move before the chain, I had never got this far before and the nerves and excitement swelled inside my head, I panicked at the thought of actually doing the route and just peeled off! Looking down at the loop of rope beneath my feet and the void below I let out a warbling noooooo. 

The rope came tight and Lynne caught me softly I had the instant feeling off damn, "why was I so scared of the fall it's not even that bad". I had fallen from the highest possible point and that gave me loads of confidence for the next go."

Normally after just one attempt at Era Vella, Tom would be too tired for another, but with such good conditions and the fall tested Tom got back on for another attempt, this time climbing through the runout to clip the chains: 

"The second go of the day I climbed with less pressure to do the route, I felt like I flowed well and wasn't concerned at all about the run out or falling. Clipping the chains I felt a great sense of achievement, returning to 9a after my injury meant that the personal quest of improving at climbing had begun again."

Tom first tried the route before injuring his back, and once he was able to climb again, Era Vella was the motivation for Tom to return to 9a fitness. Describing Era Vella, Tom said:

"The route is really a competition climber's dream, it's not really my style. I'm Santa Linya conditioned for desperate boulders broken up by rests. Era Vella on the other hand is massively continuous, bolt to bolt you think "alright this doesn't feel too bad", but then you realise that there aren't any rests and you need to skip bolts as you are too pumped to clip and you see mega climbing wads flying off the very top."

Tom Bolger is sponsored by: Core Climbing, Edelrid and Sherpa Adventure Gear

This post has been read 9,252 times

Return to Latest News

Tom Bolger is a British expat who moved to Catalunya to focus on his climbing career. He's redpointed numerous ninth-grade routes up to 9a+ (Gancho Perfecto). He's also a former GB Climbing Team member.

Tom's Athlete Page 22 posts

Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

13 May, 2014
That's quite a comeback!
13 May, 2014
Jolly impressive.
13 May, 2014
Tom's back!
13 May, 2014
Tom's back's back!
13 May, 2014
Era Bella is now officially the most popular 9a on the planet, with 23 ascents, including Tom's!
More Comments
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest