|The Spaniard Iker Pou has decided to return home after almost two months of travels in which he has climbed some of the hardest routes in Europe. The most recent icing on the cake is his fast redpoint of the famous Elfe, Fred Nicoles 97 testpiece at the Grimselpass, Switzerland. He needed just seven attempts to send the route, second day, and it seems as if he could even have climbed it on his first day. But as we all know, almost doesnt count
Ikers achievements so far this year have been outstanding. Before travelling to Switzerland the 24 year old paid a visit to Germanys Frankenjura, where he made impressively short work of the boulder problem Maharadscha Fb 8b and the routes Showdown (8c) and Raubritter (8c). Even more outstanding though was his redpoint of Wolfgang Güllichs rarely repeated Wallstreet Original (8c/8c+).
It is interesting to analyse Ikers comment about Elfe which, as some may remember, was originally graded 8c/9a before settling at 8c+ after Klem Loskots 1999 repeat.
Pou states I'm surprised by my performance. I feel really fit at the moment and after a week of bad weather I was also really motivated. The line here is really perfect, one of the best Ive ever climbed. I can't confirm the grade though, as Elfe seemed to me more like an 8c. If I compare it with Action Directe (repeated by Pou in 2000, Editors note) I'll definitely say its a different grade. The starting boulder is more like 7c+ when compared with the grades in Cresciano and after that the route is about 8a+. At the same time though I know about Fred and Klems reputation and I dont want to be polemical.
Pou concludes by saying Its a good period for me, I feel much stronger then ever and it may be that I'm underestimating the route. I must admit it suits my style, really overhanging and powerful. And then it is such a perfect line you just cant not do it."
Click to see Flash movie of Iker Pou on Elfe by Roberto Fioravanti