21 year-old Molly Thompson-Smith has climbed her first 8c with an ascent of La Fabelita 8c in Santa Linya, Catalonia, Spain, marking a rapid return to fitness following her finger injury and subsequent surgery earlier this year. She adds La Fabelita to a growing list of hard sport routes, including Mecca 8b+ at Raven Tor (Miller's Dale) in 2017 and more recently Kalea Borroka 8b+ in Siurana.
Molly had visited Santa Linya the week after fully rupturing a pulley in her finger last December. She told UKC:
"I spent two weeks watching my friends climb there. It's funny but after all that time watching these routes being climbed, it almost felt like I'd climbed them too! So when we came this year I knew I definitely wanted to try La Fabelita - a fairly long route with good rests and some little tricky parts in it."
Following a trip to Siurana this November - where she ticked the classic Kalea Borroka 8b+ - Molly returned to the Santa Linya cave and spent her first session on the line. Despite some wet holds, Molly managed to do all the moves and make some links in just one day of effort. She explained:
"We were only there for one day as we'd climbed in Siurana for a few days beforehand, where I climbed Kalea Borroka - my goal for the trip. This time I came back and wanted to do La Fabelita fairly quickly. After another few days in Siurana where we slept in our rental car the first night, lost a lot of skin and just generally got a bit tired, I was worried I would struggle on La Fabelita. On my first session I felt tired and found the route pretty tough, but I managed it in three parts."
Molly decided to take a rest day before the final day of the trip in the hope of ticking the route. She told UKC:
"Our last day was a perfect day, sunny but cold, and I climbed it first try!"
She added: "I'm so happy that I can climb outside and not feel too worried about my finger."
These ascents follow a short but successful competition season for Molly, despite the training and events missed due to injury. In August, Molly placed 11th - one place out of finals - in the lead semi-finals of the Innsbruck 2018 IFSC World Climbing Championships. In 2017, she finished her year on a high with her first podium place in a senior IFSC Lead World Cup, a 3rd place in Kranj, Slovenia (UKC news report).