Iker Pou celebrates 20 years of climbing 9a
42-year-old Basque climber Iker Pou has made the first ascent of La Nave de los Locos on the island of Mallorca in Spain. With this ascent he celebrates 20 years of 9a climbing, after sending his first in 2000, Action Directe freed by Wolfgang Güllich in the Frankenjura, Germany.
The youngest of the Pou brothers, Iker Pou, is currently celebrating 20 years of climbing 9a thanks to his recent first ascent of La Nave de los Locos on the island of Majorca in Spain.
The 42-year-old Basque climber impressively entered into the realm of the upper extreme at the start of the new millennium, with his repeat of the 9a par excellence, Action Directe in Germany’s Frankenjura. At the time the route freed by Wolfgang Güllich was still considered one of the most difficult in the world and only Alexander Adler - taking advantage of the fall of the Berlin Wall a few years earlier - had managed to repeat it in 1995.
Pou’s repeat came about after his first 8c in 1996 and his first 8c+ in 1998, and in the ensuing two decades he has continued to plough his way through the grades, excelling above all on explosive routes where fingers of steel are required to power past impossible single finger and two-finger pockets.
In the last twenty years routes that stick out in particular are Bain de Sang (9a) at Saint Loup in Switzerland in 2003, Demencia Senil (9a+) at Margalef in Spain in 2010, Nit de Bruixes (9a+/9b) at Margalef in 2012, Big Men (9a+) on Mallorca in 2015 and Artaburu in 2018. The latter is located at Margalef and according to Pou it is his hardest sport climb to date, checking in at around 9b/+ and still awaiting confirmation.
These are important names and numbers, but only represent one side of the Iker’s coin as with his elder brother Eneko he has established and repeated routes in many of the world’s most famous and inhospitable mountains. The duo have traveled from Patagonia to Peru, from Siberia to Baffin Island, from Mont Blanc to Naranjo de Bulnes and Tre Cime di Lavaredo, from El Capitan in Yosemite to the Trango Towers in the Karakorum. Noteworthy ascents? Silbergeier, Eternal Flame and Supercanaleta to name just three. Listing them all after 20 years of continuous climbing at the highest level would be almost impossible.
Link: FB Hermanos Pou, La Sportiva, Petzl, The North Face