8b Trad Roof Crack Flash in Spain by Pete Whittaker

© Talo Martin

Pete Whittaker has flashed La Fuerza de la Gravedad, an 8b trad roof crack in Vadiello, Spain.

The line was first climbed by Carlos Logroño 'Citro' and given the grade of 8b+. In 2018, Swedish competition climber Hannes Puman made the second ascent (on his second go and as his first ever crack climb) and a few months later Tom Randall made the third ascent in early 2019. 

Tom's ascent inspired Pete to add it to his ticklist. He told UKC:

"I knew Tom had done it a few years back and watched the film that Talo had made of that ascent, so it had been in the back of my mind since then. It was given 8b+ when it was first done, it looked safe, solid and my style, so I was really keen to give it a good flash attempt."

Pete on La Fuerza de la Gravidad, an 8b trad roof crack.  © Talo Martin
Pete on La Fuerza de la Gravidad, an 8b trad roof crack.
© Talo Martin

Pete didn't receive any specific beta from Tom, other than what he could glean through watching a video of Tom's ascent. Mari Augusta Salvesen, Pete's partner, climbed the lower part of the route first and gave him the sequence of finger locks for the crux. Talo Martin, who filmed Tom's ascent, also gave him some beta that he had seen Tom and Hannes using. Pete commented:

"The initial move into the steep terrain was harder than expected, and even though Mari had given me a hand sequence leading into the crux I still managed to wrong-hand myself, so had to do some shuffling. The crux went quite steady, but I did find myself quite pumped at mid-way. The end crack was a battle and I nearly dropped it on one occasion. I was basically just winging it there."

The name of the route translates to 'The Force of Gravity'.  © Talo Martin
The name of the route translates to 'The Force of Gravity'.
© Talo Martin

Comparing the quality of the line to other roof cracks on his long list of inverted ascents, which includes the first ascent of Century Crack (UKC News) and Black Mamba (UKC News)—both 5.14b and the world's hardest of the style—in Utah, La Fuerza ranks high. Pete said:

"It's a fantastic route. I think this is the best Limestone roof crack I've climbed. It felt a bit like the desert routes [in the US] in way, but just with a few more face holds for hands and feet. From having spent many many hours on the Canyonlands roof cracks and more recently on motorway bridges, big roofs like this feel very familiar to me."

In terms of difficulty, Pete noted that the beta has changed since the first ascent. He explained:

"Tom and Hannes found a knee bar and I think this lowers the grade from 8b+ to 8b."

Filmmaker and local climber Talo Martin commented on Pete's ascent:

"On this trip, I witnessed Pete absolutely smashing it looking a step above the other climbers I've seen on this route. What a show."

During their trip, Mari made the first female ascent of Gravedad sin Fuerza 7c+, the direct start of the 8b via a 6c start to the 7b+/c roof crack finish.

Mari Augusta Salvesen makes the first female ascent of Gravidad sin Fuerza 7c+.  © Talo Martin
Mari Augusta Salvesen makes the first female ascent of Gravidad sin Fuerza 7c+.
© Talo Martin

Watch the film of Tom Randall and Hannes Puman's ascents:

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26 Oct, 2022

That's mega! This and Pete's ascent of Ronny Medelsvensson have got to be some of the hardest first go bits of trad climbing ever done (along with Megos' brief foray into trad with his casual flash of The Path).

I think we all hope Alex will return to trad climbing again someday 🤞

26 Oct, 2022

Some nice footage there. Is there really a need for the commentary though since much of the info is in the report anyway?

Some people read the report, others watch the video. Whilst some may do both - the vast majority don't.

26 Oct, 2022

I'm surprised. If it looks like there could be good footage of an important ascent, I'm keen to see it! But I'd also read a news report for information/interest.

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