Nacho Sanchez repeats El Indomable, the hardest problem in Spain

Spanish climber Nacho Sanchez has pulled off the first repetition of Alberto Rocasolano’s El Indomable, calling it “a very hard 8C” and the hardest problem I’ve ever climbed. The line was opened as an 8C+ | V16 by Rocasolano back in October.

Update: I misread Nacho’s statement, he didn’t say it was the hardest problem in Spain. He said it was one of the hardest problems he’s ever climbed. Sorry about that and thanks to Pedro for pointing it out in the comments.

Nacho Sánchez climbing El Indomable

Great line with a very low percentage last move
Nacho Sanchez about El Indomable

Over at the Spanish edition of Sanchez commented that the line falls within the 8C | V15 range but that it is, still, the hardest problem he’s ever climbed. Rocasolano said that it was “the hardest problem in Spain”.

Sanchez has been at the forefront of Spanish bouldering for many years. He has done several 8C | V15 first ascents in Spain, as well as repeating super hard lines like Monkey Wedding or Catalan Witness the Fitness.

Recently, he put on a harness and opened Esperanza, a short bouldery line graded 9a | 5.14d:


  1. >”Sanchez commented that the line falls within the 8C | V15 range but that it is, still, the hardest problem he’s ever climbed”
    For the FA of Crisis he also said it was his hardest problem:
    and still suggested 8C/+ grade. Now, after he climbed — by his own words — even harder problem he suggested downgrade to 8C. So lower grade for harder problem — strange and inconsistent…

    • AngelPalacio says:

      It’s a bit confusing for me too. He commented that Crisis was not his style. So maybe he gave the /+ for that reason and now, with more experience and perspective, he thinks this one is harder than Crisis while still 8C.

  2. May be. But in that case I’d also expect him do downgrade Crisis. It is his (FA) problem after all…
    But this story brings up my old dilemma: What is a grade?, What it stands for? Is it (a) a reflection of your own feelings of how difficult a problem is for *you* or (b) your guess of the ‘average’ feelings of difficulties *other* climbers will experience in that problem (i.e., your guess what ‘consensus’ grade will be after many repeats)? Or (c) a (un?)weighted average of both. I’m quite sure it depends on the ‘author’ of the grade. E.g. I guess Schubert is using ‘type-a’ grading for Cathalan WtF — he is good at crimping and that problem feels ‘easy’ for him so he (flashed it and) graded it 8B+ soft, while all six other repeaters are suggesting (or confirming) 8C (soft). I like type-a grading as it reflects the true natural variability of the difficulties different people of the same level experience in different problems. But I can also understand why people are (probably more often) using type-b (or c) grading — type-a grading is easy to manipulate, e.g. it would be strange to say “I’m not good at crimping. This problem took a lot of time and effort so I graded it 9A. I know what is 9A, as a climbed several 8C(+)s before. I’m only the second person in history to experience that grade”. It *might be* an honest statement of an honest climber, but the problem is if this is FA we really don’t know until there are several other repeats. E.g. is “Akira is 9b” an honest statement?, On what type of grading scale (a, b or c?). Most probably agree “Chilam Balam is 9b+” is an ‘exaggeration’ but we will probably never know if it is an honest statement or just means to attract public attention and sponsors. Anyhow, I really admire Jakob’s refusing to ‘admit'(!) he is the first person in history to flash a confirmed 8C ;) But, hey, that doesn’t change the ‘fact’ that he really is that kind of person (by common sense any problem with six grades all being the same is assigned this consensus grade). By exactly the same ‘rule’ as Alex Megos is declared the first person in history to onsight 9a — I really don’t see the point why someone (doesn’t) enter history just on the basis of what type of grading he uses ;)

    • AngelPalacio says:

      Wow… that’s getting a bit too deep for me :D
      I guess most climbers aim at a type B grade, but it inevitably ends up being type C or type A.
      In other words, I think most climbers, when giving a grade, try to give the objective grade of the climb. But since there’s no objective standard, we can only compare guesses.
      It’s like trying to measure the weight of a box without a scale. Climber A does the “first lift” of the box and says “this box weights 8C kilos because it felt heavier than most 8B+ boxes I ever lifted”, then climber B does the “second lift” of the box and says “I think it is still 8B+ kilos, doesn’t feel heavy enough for 8C”. And so on. The problem is that we have no standard for the weight of the boxes. We don’t have an objective scale so we compare how it “feels” for this climber with how it “feels” for this other climber. And climbers rarely lift the box more than once. Obviously, the difference between an 8A box and a 7A box is so big that nobody is gonna mistake one for the other. But when you get to the limit, to the 8C boxes, the amount of climbers that can lift them is so tiny that it is harder to get a consensus. And things like the shape of the box or the friction of the material makes a big difference in how it feels.

  3. In the ‘box language’ Nancho first lifted box A and said “This one is 100 kilos”. Later on he lifted box B and commented “This is the heaviest box I have ever lifted in my life (even heavier than A). I think it is 90(!) kilos”.
    ***Latest news: some guy from Scotland has just succeeded to lift a box located in some Spanish cave. He said it’s weight must be 80 kilos as though he is aware of the fact that all other lifters of this box think it’s 90 kilos, except for the last one between them who can lift it with one hand in his first try and commented “This one is easy. 80 kilos at most.” and one American guy, who actually only said “The lower part of the box is around 70, maybe 75 and the upper part must be around 15. I don’t know exactly what is the weight of the whole box. You do the math”.
    Later there was some debate in a local box-lifting club how strange it is all previous lifters of that box think it’s 90 kilos, but now two lifters in a row think it is only 80. One of the youngsters, a math student, commented “indeed, this is strange. The chance for this to happen is less than 0.4%. Of course, if we assume the lifters were independent”. “There’s a catch”, said an old guy sitting in a corner, “they are NOT independent. Remember who was the first to lift the box? It was a famous American … so famous, that everyone who later lifted this box believe gods don’t make mistakes. ‘Who are we, mortals, to judge, if it 90 kilos or not?’ they said. So everyone after him believe this box is 90 kilos. Everyone — until another famous alien from Austrian mountains spend his vocation in Spain and lifted it with one hand. So, what do you expect future lifter will say about the weight? 80 kilos, of course. No one wants to be a sissy.”

    • AngelPalacio says:

      Hahaha as absurd as all that may sound, that’s how I see most debates about grades :D
      I’m not gonna go full Jens on you and say that grades are not important, I think they are in several ways. But sometimes people act as if they were as objective as the pole vaulting records.

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