Molly Thompson-Smith has redpointed Via del Quim 8b+ in Margalef, Spain, on her first redpoint go and in a day. This is likely the hardest one-day sport ascent by a British woman to date. Northern Irish climber Lucy Mitchell ticked 8b/+ in a day in Chulilla in 2016.
Belayer/Boyfriend appreciation post🕺🏻 . Thanks for thinking I can climb things even when I'm not sure I can & always encouraging me to have one more go! . Thanks for still smiling, chatting & helping me figure out moves even when it's really cold & you've been belaying for ages (I've not quite mastered this skill yet). . Thanks for responding to serious grump with hugs😜 . Don't forget to say thanks to your supportive belayer!❤️ . 🧗🏽♀️: Via del Quim - for sure wouldn't have done my first 8b+ in a day without @janhojer 's belief🤩
Since November, the finger that Molly had surgery on back in 2018 has been causing her issues. She told UKC:
'I've tried all sorts of things to make the pain go away. To my surprise (and delight!), what I thought was almost an old wives tale of sport climbing on rock being therapeutic for fingers was no joke, and within two days of touching Spanish rock my pain disappeared.'
Molly followed intensive fingerboard rehab plans and controlled training sessions in the last few months while enjoing pain-free trips to Spain. With her partner Jan Hojer, she recently went to Catalunya for a short five-day trip to Siurana and Margalef. 'I still feel like I have no real idea of where my level is at outdoors seeing as it comes as a second priority to competitions for a large proportion of the year, and I've never been away longer than a week!', Molly commented.
Having belayed Jan on 'Aitzol' (8b+) earlier on in their most recent trip, and climbed 'El Fustigador' 8a+ too, Molly decided that she quite liked this section of wall in Finestra, Margalef. Molly told the story of her rapid 8b+ tick:
'After a day on my 'project' in Espadelles, Alizee Dufraisse suggested I try Via Del Quim on our last day. We turned up, Jan figured out his beta and then sent next go. I went up completely unconvinced I could send it that day, but thought I might as well see if it was worth coming back to on another trip. I had a redpoint go straight after, and actually surprised myself with the sections I'd thought were hard feeling quite comfortable with warm fingers! I got down umming and aahing as to whether I should try again or whether we should bail out to somewhere with easy sunny climbing to finish our trip.
'I only got on again because Jan encouraged me to have one more go - it was just a case of getting through two moves that were slightly harder than the others. 10 minutes later I found myself at the top of the route beaming - thanks for the belief Jan!'
The rest of the year is looking relatively relaxed and rock-focused for Molly. She will compete in Combined in Moscow at the European Championships/Olympic qualifier, and then enjoy more rock trips in April. Molly summed up:
'I'd like to find a hard project in the UK to put some work into this year. And then I'll switch my focus back to the IFSC Lead World Cup season. Then back to rocks for the majority of the year! I have some big sport goals, but also want to see if I've got some hard boulders in me later on in the year!'
Molly's hardest redpoint to date is 8c, with ascents of La Fabelita and Rollito Sharma Extension in 2018 (UKC news).