La Rambla (climb)
|Huber's route, not to be confused with La Rambla Original (which is an alternative name used for La Rambla Extension)|
|Climbing Area||El Pati|
|Route Type||Sport climb|
|Vertical Gain||35 metres (115 ft)|
|Rating||9a (5.14d) or 9a+ (5.15a)|
|Bolted by||Alexander Huber|
|First free ascent||Alexander Huber, 1994|
|La Rambla Extension|
|Also known as La Rambla Direct or La Rambla Original|
|Climbing Area||El Pati|
|Route Type||Sport climb|
|Vertical Gain||41 metres (135 ft)|
|Bolted by||Alexander Huber and Dani Andrada|
|First free ascent||Ramón Julián Puigblanque, 2003|
La Rambla, more properly called La Rambla Extension, La Rambla Direct or La Rambla Original is a famously difficult 41 metres (135 ft) long route located at the El Pati crag in Siurana, Catalonia (Spain), bolted by Alexander Huber and Dani Andrada.
A previous version of this route, bolted by Huber, was 6 metres (20 ft) shorter than the current one. Huber first climbed it in 1994 and called it La Rambla. Later, Dani Andrada extended the route to reach a higher anchor. Namely, the anchor of a nearby route called La Reina Mora. Andrada's project, initially referred to as La Rambla Extension, was first climbed in 2003 by Ramón Julián Puigblanque, after more than forty failed attempts. Since then, all repetitions were made on the extended route and Huber's intermediate anchor was eventually removed. That is why the name La Rambla, which initially referred to Huber's shorter route, is nowadays widely used to indicate the extended route as well.
In 1994, Huber graded his route 8c+ (5.14c). However, he actually meant that it was as difficult as Wolfgang Güllich's Action Directe, which at that time was considered to be 8c+ and was later upgraded to 9a (5.14d).
Puigblanque climbed Huber's route four or five times and upgraded it to 9a+ (5.15a), then he managed to redpoint the extended route as well. The additional six meters needed to reach the higher anchor slightly increased the difficulty of the ascent, but not enough to justify a higher rating. It was just a harder 9a+. About half a grade harder, according to Adam Ondra, the fifth climber who repeated the route, in 2008.
Huber's abandoned original project
The final version of Huber's route was 35 metres (115 ft) long. However, he originally wanted to reach a higher anchor. Namely, the anchor of a nearby route called La Reina Mora, also bolted by him. He gave up after breaking a hold, and set an intermediate anchor 6 meters lower.
After Huber's ascent, Dani Andrada linked the route to the last section of La Reina Mora in order to reach Huber's original anchor, 6 meters higher. He achieved his goal by bolting a short traverse to the right, starting from the last hold of Huber's route, a 3-finger pocket just below the intermediate anchor. The extended route is 41 metres (135 ft) long, and is known as La Rambla Extension or La Rambla Direct, as opposed to Huber's La Rambla.
Since Andrada just intended to restore, as much as possible, Huber's original project, his extended route is sometimes also called, quite misleadingly, La Rambla Original. An ambiguous name which should be probably avoided, because Huber's abandoned project is unknown to most people.
Puigblanque rated both La Rambla and La Rambla Extension 9a+ (5.15a). La Rambla Extension was harder, but not hard enough to justify a higher grade. According to Puigblanque, the crux is in Huber's route, then there's a rest (about 5 meters below Huber's intermediate anchor), and "the last 35 feet [up to and past Huber's anchor] could be graded between 5.13c (8a+) and 5.13d (8b)". The extended route was later repeated by many others, who confirmed Puigblanque's rating.
Huber strongly maintained that his 35 meter version of La Rambla was 9a (5.14d). In his opinion, the route "is not harder than" Wolfgang Güllich's Action Directe, the world's first 9a, and many others agree with him. This is the reason why Huber's version of La Rambla is not considered to be world's first 9a+ route, although it was climbed in 1994, two years earlier than Open Air, which is now widely considered the world's first 9a+ route (see Notable first free ascents).
La Rambla Extension
There are two possible ways to climb the additional 6 meters of La Rambla Extension. Immediately after Andrada's traverse, you can either decide to climb directly upwards to the higher anchor, or you can traverse about one meter farther, and grab a very large hold ("jug") which allows you to rest as much as needed to complete the climb. Most repeaters used the jug, but Puigblanque and Adam Ondra decided not to use it, as they wanted to stay as close as possible to the line of Huber's original project. However, they were perfectly aware that their choice was just a matter of preference. Taking that rest is by all means legitimate, as it is close to one of Andrada's bolts.
Because of that rest, climbing the last 6 meters of La Rambla Extension becomes significantly easier. So much easier that Huber maintains this section of the route is "irrelevant", compared to the rest of the route, which implies that La Rambla Extension is just another 9a (5.14d), the same grade as La Rambla.
However, Huber did not climb La Rambla Extension, and those who did it believe that it is 9a+, somewhat harder than La Rambla. According to Adam Ondra, it is about half a grade harder, "if you use the jug for rest". This implies that either La Rambla is a 9a and Rambla Extension is a low end 9a+, or La Rambla is a low end 9a+, and La Rambla extension is just a harder 9a+.
The repeat ascents were by:
- Edu Marín Garcia in 2006 - Video
- Chris Sharma in 2006 - a day after Edu Marín, after about 20 tries - Video
- Andreas Bindhammer in 2007
- Patxi Usobiaga in 2007 - after nine tries
- Adam Ondra in 2008 - after five tries - Video
- Enzo Oddo in 2011
- Sachi Amma in 2012
- Felix Neumärker in 2013 - Video
- Alexander Megos in 2013 - on his second attempt
- Sangwon Son in 2013.
- Daniel Jung in 2014
- Jonathan Siegrist in 2015
- David Firnenburg in 2017
- Matty Hong in 2017
- Margo Hayes in 2017 - making her the first woman to climb a confirmed 9a+ (5.15a) - Video
- Stefano Ghisolfi in 2017
- Jacopo Larcher in 2017 - a day after Stefano Ghisolfi
- Klemen Becan in 2017
- Sébastien Bouin in 2017
- Tomás Ravanal in 2018
- Gerard Rull in 2018
- Jon Cardwell in 2018
- Dave Graham in 2019
- Piotr Schab in 2019
- Gonzalo Larrocha in 2019
- Cédric Lachat in 2019
- "Video showing Puigblanque climbing La Rambla Extension". Youtube.
- Third ascent of La Rambla (original) by Chris Sharma - News - FreakClimbing.com
- "Alexander Huber interview". Planet Mountain.
- "Statement of Youth (interview with Puigblanque)". Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2017-08-10.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "La Rambla, El Pati - Adam Ondra Interview". NoveBi.
- "La Rambla is 9a+ by today standards". 8a.nu.
- "Video in which the resting position avoided by Puigblanque and Ondra is shown". Youtube.
- "Third ascent of La Rambla (original) by Chris Sharma". Freak Climbing.
- Name(required) (2011-12-27). "Enzo Oddo Repeats La Rambla Original (5.15a) | Climbing Narcissist". Climbingnarc.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- "Felix Neumärker klettert "La Rambla" (9a+) in Siurana (und weitere harte Nummern) bei". Klettern.de. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- Alexander Megos strolls La Rambla 9a+ second go
- "Interview: Jonathan Siegrist Climbs La Rambla, his 2nd 5.15a". dpmclimbing.com. 23 March 2015. Archived from the original on 25 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- "Q&A: Matty Hong Sends La Rambla (5.15a) in Spain". rockandice.com/. 2017-03-02. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
- "Margo Hayes Sends La Rambla (5.15a)!". Rockandice.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- "Stefano Ghisolfi climb la rambla at siurana In the fourth attempt". planetmountain.com. 2017-03-21. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
- "Jacopo Larcher climb la rambla at siurana". planetmountain.com. 2017-03-22. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
- "Klemen Bečan Jumps Aboard the La Rambla Send Train". rockandice.com/. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
- "La Rambla 9a+ Tomás Ravanal". Tomás Ravanal. 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- "Tomás Ravanal encadena La Rambla 9a+/15a". escalando.org. 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- "Piotr Schab Sends La Rambla 5.15a in Spain". Gripped. 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- "Gonzalo Larrocha gets third La Rambla send of 2019". Gripped. 2019-03-18. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- Description of the route (in Spanish)
- Forum about Alex Huber's interview
- Ramon Julian, 2nd ascent 2003, plus 7m of extension via Reina Mora. The linked up routes are called La Rambla Direct.
- Adam Ondra on revised grading in recent years
- Alex Huber on recent revised grading