James Pearson: Esclatamasters (5.14d)

posted by dpm on 03/15/2012


UK climber James Pearson has sent his first 5.14d with Esclatamasters at the crag Perles near Oliana, Spain. Coming from the UK, James made a name for himself on the gritstone having headpointed some dangerous and infamous routes. You might remember James from the recent video of him onsighting Charlotte's Dream Direct (E7 6b..whatever that means).

James is currently living in Innsbruck, Austria, home to some of the world's strongest climbers and an excellent launching point for the famous areas of Europe. Recently, he's been in Spain with his girlfriend Caroline Ciavaldini, who just claimed the third female ascent of that route at Oliana we've been hearing a lot about, Mind Control (5.14c).  James also sent Mind Control and then set his sights a bit higher, gunning for his first 5.14d.

Approaching the rest on Esclatamasters (5.14d) Photo: Francisco Taranto Jr/FotoVertical

The route Esclatamasters is located at the small cliff Perles, near Oliana. It opens with a steep and powerful 5.14a called Sin perdón which was sent by Caroline as well. After the initial steepness, the angle kicks back and the holds get wickedly small and abrasive on the skin. James wrote on his blog, "Slow and steady progress was being made, and on my 5th redpoint I found myself holding the last of the really small holds, eyeing up the first good (3/4 pad incut) edge marking the end of the crux. Don't get me wrong, the route is far from over! There are still 6 tricky moves to go before the giant jug, but latch this hold and I feel there is a good chance to go to the top. Perhaps from nerves, or just plain old fatigue, I hesitated a little on the move, coming up perhaps 2 or 3 mm short. The hold was almost in my hand, I felt the edge bite into my skin, but it was not quite enough."

The kind of flapper that makes climbing crimpy 5.14d impossible. Photo: James' blog

It takes a while for a flapper like that to heal up so James headed home for a bit to recover. Upon his return he was able to send the route on March 14. We've been posting some great photos of these ascents that come courtesy of Francisco Taranto Jr. who's been traveling around Spain, shooting the stars. James wrote of Francisco on his blog, "Francisco is a freelance photographer who is living a lot “on the road” with his girlfriend Sandra, 2 beautiful children, and his cheeky dog Filipo! Home for them is wherever some interesting action might be, so if you happen to see them at the cliff, or their giant 80′s Mercedes Westfalia, make sure you say hi! You can check out his website and blog at FotoVertical.org"

Thanks to Francisco for the heads up on the ascent and the great photos. 

The steep lower secion of Esclatamasters. Photo: Francisco Taranto Jr. 

The upper crux in the techy rock. Photo: Francisco Taranto Jr.