British climber Ally Smith recently completed the El Delfin climb in Northern Spain – widely considered to be one of the trickiest routes on the planet and only finished by one in every 99 climbers.
Smith from Cheshire spent all day trying to traverse the hugely difficult giant arch shaped like a dolphin – a climb that requires excellent technical ability and upper body strength to complete.
Climbers on this stretch of rock are required to move like spiders, while upside-down, to reach the other side. Smith had a number of attempts before he managed to crack it.
“I had an intense determination to execute the gymnastic moves through the long ceiling,” said Smith.
“I was concentrating so hard that I couldn’t actually appreciate the amazing view until I’d finished the climb and saw the photos of myself.
“It was the last climb of the day and it had taken me three attempts to complete, so I felt tired, but also very content to have completed such an iconic route.”
Now Smith has his eyes on an even more challenging climb, the Kilnsey crag in the Yorkshire Dales. Climbers call this spot the ‘Mandela’, “back in the ’80s, it was thought it would never be ‘freed’ or climbed without resting on bolts,” explained Smith.
El Delfin is located in the Sierra de Guara National Park (ten minutes from Rodellar village) – this limestone gorge is a haven for expert climbers, who come here to tackle hundreds of steep routes ranging between 15 and 40 metres long.
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Image coutesy of Miquelsi