28 February 2023

Marco Zanone ticks La Rambla (9a+)

Marco Zanone has done La Rambla (9a+) in Siurana. It was bolted by Alex Huber, who stopped at the first 9a (8c+) anchor and then in 2003 Ramon Julian made the FA. Later on an easier sequence was discovered and now the stunning 35m classic test-piece is the most repeated 9a+ with roughly 30 ascents. (c) Andrea Zanone

Can you tell us more about how you approached La Rambla? I tried La Rambla for the first time in February 2022. It was my first time spending 2 months climbing in Spain, and after climbing my first 9a+ (First Ley) and a bunch of 8c+’s and 9a’s in Siurana and Margalef both, I decided that It was the right time to push again. The goal for that trip was not to send it of course, but to link as many moves as possible. During the last few days I was able to fall at the top crux a couple of times, but I must say I wasn’t disappointed to leave without sending it. I already knew back then that I would have needed more time to climb it all the way to the top. End of December 2022 I came back with only one goal, to climb La Rambla!! My approach was slow and steady. I know I needed to gain a lot of endurance because it is something I don’t naturally have in my cards, but this time I was mentally ready to handle the pressure and the effort. The process has been longer than expected, I had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of self doubt and I started wondering if I was able to climb such a monster. For the first time in my life I was trying a route at my grade limit on a style that doesn’t really suit me. At some point I understood that I could have sent it only by being at my 100%. When I was feeling rested, but at my 95%, I was reaching the top crux too pumped. During one and half months of the attempts I felt like I could climb the crux from the bottom only 3 or 4 times, but I was not precise enough to keep myself together and bring the rope to the top. I spent probably around 30 sessions on La Rambla (2022 + 2023) and last Friday, 24th of February, I could fight through the top crux and finally reach the anchor. :)

Did you do any specific training?
Short and powerful routes are the ones that suit me the most. It’s an easier style to train as well (IMO) instead for me the endurance is something very hard to build up. The main reason why I tried La Rambla was because I knew I had enough time (1-2 months) to build the endurance while trying the route. Usually when I’m home in Italy it is because I’m working, and my job often takes me away from home, where it’s very hard to train or to have a routine where you can train regularly. My only chance to climb La Rambla was to stay here in Spain for at least 1 month. Before I left Italy I wasn’t trained at all, I started very slow, climbing 8as, then 8bs, 8cs and once I felt I was strong enough (after 10-12 days) I went on project mode.
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