Niall Bags a Hat-trick in Spain

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Reported by Dave Redpath on 05-11-2004

Niall McNair has just returned from El-Chorro, Spain where he has achieved his lifetime climbing goal three times over, that of on-sighting F8a. Lourdes at the ultra-steep Makindromo sector was the first F8a to fall. Lourdes, probably the most famous F8a in Spain, takes a stamina fest along tufas up a 30 metre consistent 1-in-3 overhang. The following and last day of climbing, Ma Ortigas and La Connexion Perrijola, both also F8a, at the neighbouring Desplomlandia crags were also onsighted despite a slight hangover from the previous day's celebration!

"Since the Easyjet fiasco earlier this year I've really only thought about one thing: getting to El-Chorro and getting on that route. Lourdes was as fantastic as everyone said it would be, no hard moves but it just keeps coming at you. The last metre, on jugs was probably the most emotional of my climbing career- not knowing whether to sing or cry. It's a really significant grade within this approach despite everyone and their dog being able to redpoint this grade, it felt like the culmination of all my climbing."

"The following day totally threw me as I thought it would be a wee while before I did another 8a onsight. The routes in question really suited me being sustained technical affairs on crimps and small pockets. Probably my best day's climbing ever and I felt as though I had broken through a psychological barrier feeling totally relaxed and confident on the day. Thanks to Sam Clarke for belaying and to Emma for all her support."

Niall now joins the elite group who can dispatch the magic grade for breakfast. A group which numbers under 5! in Scotland. This is made all the more special by the fact that Niall holds down a full time job on top of round the week training regime and involvement with the British Team.

Niall hopes to improving on his BICC position this season by giving Steve McClure a run for his money as the British Team tour the coutry and Europe.

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