Ramón Julián Puigblanque made up for a frustrating World Cup round with a visit to Rifle, where he onsighted The Crew 5.14c (8c+).
At the first lead climbing round of the IFSC World Cup to be held on US soil in twenty years, in Boulder, Colorado, Puigblanque climbed well early on. However an extended dyno in the first third of the final route stopped the 5”2 Catalan after qualifying very strongly. He finished last in the finals taking eighth place, unusually far down the table for the reigning world champion who is currently ranked second in the world.
From the competition ‘Ramonet’ travelled 200 miles west to the sport climbing mecca of Rifle Mountain Park. The area contains one of the highest concentrations of hard sport routes in the US. Local climbers kept the grade ceiling at 5.13d for many years, creating a tradition of routes that are very hard for the grade.
After warming up on the unfamiliar rock at the Bauhaus Wall and onsighting Der Stihl 5.13b (8a/+), Puigblanque, fellow Spanish team member Eduard Marin Garcia and team coach and manager Toni Roy headed to the Wicked Cave. In full onsight mode Ramonet set off up Zulu 5.14a, falling at a V9 dyno around the fifth bolt but pulling straight back on and finishing the route. No further interest was shown in redpointing the route.
The following day was spent at the Project Wall where rain ended the session, but not before an onsight of Living in Fear 5.13d (8a+/b). The team headed back to the sheltered Wicked Cave and despite the cold and damp conditions Puigblanue suprised himself by onsighting The Crew. No use was made of the obscure kneebars, which are often used on the harder routes at Rifle.
Puigblanque has become the third person to onsight an 8c+, after Adam Ondra and Patxi Usobiaga, and in doing so has made the hardest onsight in the US, and the first 5.14 onsight in Rifle.
Ramon Julian - 8c+ A Vista En Rifle
Mountains and Water - Thoughts on the World Cup (or what happened after)