The Pou Brothers and Neus Colom Free Climb Marejada Fuerza 6, 8a+, 500m

After months of hard work they managed to free the A4 route, opened in 1985 by José Manuel de la Fuente and Manolo González on Urriellu peak, in Asturias.

Photography and video: Jordi Canyi,

Iker and Eneko Pou, together with Neus Colom have finally managed to free the “Marejada Fuerza 6”, in one day, after months of hard work. The 500m, A4 rated route was first opened by José Manuel de la Fuente and Manolo González, in 1985 after 9 days climbing the west face of Urriellu peak.

Iker, on the 8a+ pitch, previously rated as A2
The climb took just 12 hours and the route is rated as 8a+, with few fixed anchors, most of which are in poor condition, having been there for so long. This puts climbers at greater risk in the event of a long fall.

Due to the danger involved (long, potential falls with uncertain consequences and a real risk of a serious accident), the exposure of the climb (few safe anchors on the route and many in poor condition) and the difficulty (previously rated as A4 and A3 as an aid route and now up to 8a+ as a free climb), this ascent has become a challenge at the highest level, both physically and psychologically.

Iker, on the 8a+ pitch
The following pitches were particularly difficult and challenging:

  • 2nd: free rated as 7c with decomposed rock and just one single fixed anchor.
  • 3rd: 8a+ (free) or A3 (aid). Just two fixed anchors.
  • 5th: The most dangerous pitch with 7b+ (free) or A4 (aid). Just two fixed anchors. This is the most dangerous section of the route, since in the event of a fall near the belay point, the climber would hit the large shelf which could be fatal. Bearing in mind the exposure of this section, the Pou considered that the aid rating could have been higher.
  • 6th: 7c (free) or A3 (aid). Three fixed anchors
The Pou and Urriellu; a long and fruitful relationship

This is the sixth route for the Pou brothers on the Naranjo de Bulnes. The other routes climbed are as follows:

“El Pilar del Cantábrico” 8a+/500m free climb ascent in a day in 1997 (A3)
“Zunbeltz” 8b+/500m freed in 2003 (A4),
“Quinto Imperio”, 8b/500m free climb ascent in a day in 2006
“Lurgorri” 8c+/500m, first free ascent in a day, 2006
“Orbayu” 8c+/500m first free ascent in a day, 2006

Neus Colom, Iker and Eneko Pou on the summit of Urriellu

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