With the route To Su Pu ** Madre A Caballo in Los Cahorros, Granada (Spain), blind paraclimber Javier Aguilar climbs the first 7c route of his career.

A contribution by Franziska Helfer

The 37-year-old was born blind. However, that never stopped him from going beyond his limits. Javier was a Paralympic swimmer and took part in the World Championships in Sydney in 2000. When he finished his swimmer career, he was looking for a new sport and started climbing at the age of 30. In 2019 he won the silver medal at the Paraclimbing World Championship in Briançon, and now he is climbing a 7c route rotpunkt for the first time.

I was very impressed by the world of paraclimbing: I met people with only one arm or one leg who still couldn't be stopped from climbing. Now I want to encourage people like me to be able to climb as a blind person.

By climbing he met Urko carmona, a one-legged paraclimber who climbs 8a + himself. He became Aguilar's coach and close friend. Together with Urko, Javier started to develop his climbing techniques.

Javier Aguilar during indoor training

This is how Javier Aguilar works when planning routes

For new projects, Aguilar climbs first in the top rope and with the verbal help of his belayer, who draws his attention to handles and kicks. Then he scans the rock and memorizes the climbing sequence. Only when he has memorized the route and feels well prepared does he start attempting the lead.

I have chosen To Su Pu ** Madre A Caballo when I chose my first 7c because it is 15m long, slightly overhanging and physically demanding. I can memorize short routes more easily and you can train strength better.

Javier Aguilar (left) after walking his first 7c route. (Image Migue Sancho from Rock & Joy)

After ten toprope attempts, Javier felt ready to try the red dot: “The clipping messed up my sequence a bit. I extended a few exes, but could not cliff and fell once. ”The fall does not scare the native of Madrid, and on his second attempt on June 16, 2020, he succeeds in redpointing the route To Su Pu ** Madre A Caballo.

I like to challenge myself, but modesty is very important. My goal is to have fun climbing. Even if it is very difficult for me, I will try to climb an 8a route one day.

For the Spanish speakers among you, you can find one here detailed interview of the Spanish podcast Rock & Joy with Aguilar.

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Credits: Text by Franziska Helfer, images by Migue Sancho from Rock & Joy