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Top Female Climber Silvia Fitzpatrick Climbs Hard Routes in Chilam Balam Cave

Betws-y-Coed, United Kingdom, November 13, 2009 --( Silvia Fitzpatrick is one of the best female climbers in Britain and she has just climbed her second route graded with a difficulty rating of 8b. This makes her only the second British female to have climbed more than one route of this difficulty. In addition Silvia has climbed over 50 routes graded 8a. This is all the more impressive in light of Silvia being a full time climbing instructor who has only taken 10 days off since the beginning of the year.

She reports on her climbing blog - that she climbed the route a couple of days ago on a trip to the Spanish region of Andalucia. The route is located close to the town of Villanueva del Rosario on the massively overhanging walls of the Chilam Balam cave.

Talking to one of her sponsors, DMM Climbing, Silvia said: "I had been trying Golpe de Calor - Heat Wave in Spanish - in the Chilam Balam Cave for six days, spread out over the last two weeks of October and could mostly only make one attempt each time as the route was so physically and psychologically draining. This is only the fifth ascent of the route overall and the first female ascent. The first half of the route uses tufas and crimps on a twenty degree overhanging wall, followed by a desperate roof that is climbed on undercut tufas and slopey footholds and a very technical top wall with a minimum of footholds."

Silvia explained: "I found the route quite hard because I could not get a crucial kneebar rest below the overhang - I wasted a day trying to get my foot and knee to stick before deciding that I was wasting more energy than I was saving. On the day I finally succeeded on climbing the route I initially fell off very close to the top when a small hold broke; I did not think I would have enough power left to give it another go, but managed to fight my way to the top" This is Silvia Fitzpatrick's second 8b after climbing El Oraculo at El Chorro in 2007.

Silvia Fitzpatrick was South American climbing champion and made the first female ascent of Cerro Fitzroy in Patagonia before being invited to Europe to climb the North Face of the Eiger for a television program; shortly after this a climbing fall left her in hospital and a wheelchair for a year before the start of a long struggle to climb again. Silvia had to learn how to climb in a completely new way because of the severe damage to her feet and legs, but trained relentlessly to eventually win the British climbing championships and compete all over the world with the British Climbing Team.

Silvia's time is divided between her North Wales home in Snowdonia and a base in Andalucia, not far from the Chilam Balam Cave. She had been worried that, after a busy summer working in Wales as a climbing coach and instructor for the Rock Climbing Company , she might have lost too much fitness. During this hectic period she was only able to manage after-work evening sessions on her fingerboard. However, this clearly helped when she was able to climb regularly through October, after arriving in Spain for the winter. Silvia's take on it is: "It has not rained for months in southern Spain and the beauty of lthe long days and dry weather is that allows you to fit a lot of climbing in even if you have work to do during most of the day.

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Rock Climbing Company
Simon Marsh

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