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Paxti Usobiaga on-sighting "Bizi euskaraz" 8c+ at Etxauri
Photo by Zigor Arteaga
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Paxti Usobiaga show: Bizi euskara first 8c+ on-sight

13.12.2007 by Planetmountain

Patxi Usobiaga, on tour and on firing form, proposes the world's first 8c+ on-sight, Bizi euskara at Etxauri, Spain.

Is there a limit to what can be climbed on rock? This must be the question after hearing the most recent news: Paxti Usobiaga from Spain has become the first person in the world to climb an 8c+ on-sight. The route in question is called "Bizi euskaraz" at Etxauri and, for the record, was an Ekaitz Maiz open project, much attempted over these last four years but never freed until Paxti's ascent. If confirmed as "a serious 8c+" then this truly is a performance of a completely different level.

But after having used this obligatory conditional (i.e. whilst waiting for the grade to be confirmed) this exceptional feat would be incomplete if we didn’t mention that this firework ascent came about after an exceptional couple of weeks during which the Basque climber sent a disarming number of top-end routes.

To get a feel for what we're talking about, this is a brief summary of his amazing rock tour: in less than a month since his Lead World Cup victory, Patxi has climbed two 9a+ (La Rambla at Siurana and La Novena Enmienda at Santa Linya), two 9a (Fuck the System at Santa Linya, Esclatamaster at Perles), one 8c+ (Mercenaris del Pasat at Santa Linya), one 8c a Montsant and numerous 8th grade "warm-ups".

This is undoubtedly the demonstration of an opening at the top-end, a region practically completely unexplored but, in the light of these results, absolutely within climber's grasp. This is what we attempted to discover in our interview with Paxti a few days ago after the first of his super ascents, La Rambla 9a+ at Siurana.

And what Paxti is currently achieving (we believe he is not the only athlete capable of such ascents) is also proof of what Yuji Hirayama pointed to in 2004 when he first overcame the legendary 8c on-sight barrier with his lightening ascent of "White Zombie" in the Baltzola Cave.

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