Several climbers are sounding the alarm: Famous routes such as Victimas Perez (9a) or Gancho Perfecto (9a+) have been chipped in the Finestra Wall in the world-famous Spanish climbing area Margalef. Unknowns have increased several holds and filed down aggressive edges.
Modifying holds in climbing routes is not a new phenomenon in Spanish crags. Nonetheless, recent developments are worrying. Several classics in the sector Finestra Wall in Margalef were chipped, including those from Chris Sharma established lines Victimas Perez (9a) and Gancho Perfecto (9a +).
Improved grips and softened edges
got the ball rolling Angie Scarth Johnson, who recently became the first woman to climb Victimas Perez. She noticed a change in a bar during projecting after returning to the route after a pause. "Certain dents in a handle have been removed."
Pointed out by the Australian climber, represents Jorge Dias Rullo determined that the chipped grip also affected the neighboring route Gancho Perfecto. "Hold with the other hand, the groin is now more positive," said the Madrid climber, who was often seen in Margelef this spring.
Angie Scarth-Johnson then checked Victimas Perez in detail for changes. In doing so, she found that the final handle was ground down to a smooth, edgeless bag. "The sharpness that the handle once had was gone." Jorge Días Rullo also climbed the route and confirmed the Australian's discovery.
The Spaniard then checked the other lines as well and thought he had noticed changes in Gancho Perfecto. "But I wasn't sure because I climbed the route over a year ago and couldn't remember it very well." Several local climbers then checked the classics drilled by Chris Sharma and found even more chipped holds in the two routes.
Changes in the Victimas Perez and Gancho Perfecto climbing routes
Various climbing professionals have drawn attention to the situation in Margalef on social media. On the one hand they are venting their anger that classic lines are being irreparably changed, on the other hand many hope to be able to sensitize them to the topic of chipping.
Manipulating holds on established routes is the worst thing there is, says Tom Bolger, a climber with some lines from the Finestra sector in his route book. "We hope that raising public awareness will help ensure that this doesn't happen again in the future."
This conflict is causing tension in the local climbing community Beto Rocasolano. "Nobody knows what's going on, although we all agree that this is a tremendous lack of respect for all climbers who have invested the time and enthusiasm to attempt these routes." Symbolic lines would thus lose their reputation and level.
How far can the human ego go? If we don't succeed, isn't it better to take a different path and come back stronger? The events in Margalef raise many questions, not only among the Brothers Pou, who also comment on the topic in social media.
For example, the comment columns also debate whether chipping is more legitimate in easier routes than in more difficult classics. Or whether top climbers who modify the rock for a certain style don't underestimate their function as role models, since in the end it's all about adapting nature to personal needs.
Video: Tom Bolger climbs Victimas Perez
Bertrand Martenet even suggests rethinking the entire ethical process. "Most of the difficult routes in Spain are modified and the climbing community doesn't give a damn about it." He gives examples La Dura Dura, First Round First Minute, Coup or also the above-mentioned Finestra sector in Margalef. It is a big taboo to talk about it. «Who has the right to chip? No one. Why do we accept that climbers who set up routes can chip, glue or do other things?"
The topic of chipping is a worldwide phenomenon and offers a lot of room for debate. We recently reported that in Ticino systematically chipped climbing routes will. And now it's becoming public that high-end routes are being modified in Margalef.
How do you feel about that? Write us your opinion in the comment column.
That might interest you
Do you like our climbing magazine? When we launched LACRUX, we decided not to introduce a payment barrier. It will stay that way, because we want to provide as many like-minded people with news from the climbing scene.
In order to be more independent of advertising revenue in the future and to provide you with even more and better content, we need your support.
Therefore: Help and support our magazine with a small contribution. Naturally you benefit multiple times. How? You will find out here.
+ + +
Credits: Cover picture Angie Scarth Johnson