Silvi Fitzpatrick Climbs Her First 8b

by Mick Ryan Lourdes, Sector Maquidromo, El Chorro In November we reported that Silvi Fitzpatrick, 42, from North Wales, climbed La Forqueta del Diablo o Romocop 8a+ at the Wild Side Sector, Sella in the Costa Blanca. Since then, in between climbing instruction work, she has been very busy. At El Chorro she climbed Pepe El Boludo 8a then upped the ante with El Oraculo, an 8b at the Sector Maquidromo, home to the famous drainpipe tufa climb Lourdes an 8a which Silvi got the first female ascent of (Jude Spanken also of North Wales just climbed Lourdes too). El Oraculo 8b is a monster of a route. Silvi told,”El Oraculo is 42m of continuously overhanging climbing, which is mostly done to a first lower off at the grade of 7c+. This first section is overhanging tufas and strenuous bulges with a tricky fingery section 2/3 of the way up. As you get to the first lower off, your arms feel like a flan so it is hard to venture to the following 20 metres on which the first section looks blank, but still overhanging!   The only way to complete the 42 metre route was to extend all quick draws with a 60cm sling, so each runner was around a meter long.  Even so I was forced to unclip the runner in the crux of the 7c+ section before completing this crux! (fast beating heart…) The crux is just after the 7c+, then a poor recovery. The crux consists of a bulge with two monos and two other small and spaced pockets from which there is a launch for a sloper where hands are matched. Feet are forced to cut loose and then re-placed well to the side before another launch leads to a better hold. By the last bolt there is another surprise: a thin move on small holds which feel even smaller after 37 metres of climbing. The belay can not be clipped until you are well above it – and throw yourself backwards with relief! I feel tired just remembering it, so I will spend today pottering about.”