Oli Grounsell and Luke Dawson both recently ticked 8c+ in Spain, with ascents of Radar Ez at Fígols for both climbers in addition to Oli ticking Patinoso 8c+ in Siurana.
Patinoso was Oli's second route of the grade after climbing Megalopa at Lower Pen Trwyn in 2015 (UKC news). Oli told UKC:
'I'm on a van trip in Spain for a few months. I wasn't planning on trying Patinoso because I thought it had a dyno, but Emma Twyford told me there were some crimps up there. This tempted me up and I really liked the ratty crimpy sequences, which led into a sustained upper half.'
'It's basically just awesome climbing on El Pati and I'm keen for some of the others in the future!'
On 2nd March, Luke Dawson ticked his 5th 8c+ with an ascent of the less well-known Radar Ez in just two sessions. Coming from a breakthrough autumn season of sport climbing in the UK - when he ticked Brian 8c+ and Kaabah 8c+ - Luke headed to Spain for the winter. He explained:
'Joe Blau 8c+ at Oliana was the main objective of the trip and after a two month epic I finally did it. That was the end of that trip, three weeks later Malham was wet and didn't look like it would dry. The only thing for it was to go back to Spain and not let all of the endurance I'd built up go to waste.'
This time round there were no serious objectives, but Luke had seen Radar Ez in one of Sharma's videos featuring a quote from Dani Andrada saying it was the best 8c+ in all of Catalonia. Luke explained:
'A bold claim, but it seemed if anyone was qualified to make it it would be Dani. After a couple of weeks in Siurana our whole van crew scene moved to Oliana and quickly started complaining that it was too hot. Radar is in an isolated cave on a hill that gets wind and shade all day, so it was a no brainer for me and Oli was keen to go too.'
On first inspection the route suited Luke well, with crimps, tufas and burly moves, breaking down into a pumpy 8a+ up to a good kneebar followed by a bouldery 8b. He commented:
'That session I climbed both sections independently but didn't get enough back at the rest to climb through the crux just after. One day doing mileage at Tres Ponts and two rest days later Oli and I headed back to the cave. On the first redpoint I was feeling strong but anxious and powered out in the crux again; for some reason I thought that was going to be the go I did it. Oli made a good link on the top and then it was my turn again. Confidence a little shaken and not sure how the next go would turn out, I tied in. This more humble approach worked and before I knew it I had passed the crux. There are a lot of committing moves at the top where the slightest hesitation could precipitate a fall, but I knew exactly what I was doing up there and still feeling fresh I was not fazed by any of it.'
After Radar, Luke focused on working Papichulo, an 'entry level' 9a+ at Oliana. He told UKC:
'At first it felt almost impossible. But as with all of these hard routes it's the difficulty that brings out the highest level of performance. Within the 5 days I had on it I had worked out all of the moves and made some reasonable links. I got nowhere close to doing the route by any stretch of the imagination but it's possible, one day.'
Yesterday, Oli returned to Fígols and ticked Radar Ez.