The following is a short interview conducted by the PUC series family with Patxi Usobiaga about his recent workshop and experience climbing the Black Diamond Project route in Klättercentret in Stockholm, Sweden.

If you didn’t catch the event aired live on Black Diamond’s Facebook page, watch below

You haven’t competed or climbed in a setting like this in years. How did it feel to climb in front of a crowd again?

“Wow! That was honestly the best thing about this weekend. Climbing in front of people was a reminder of what it used to be like to compete in front of a live audience. It sent chills up my spine to feel that adrenaline like years ago. It truly was such a pleasure to be invited to participate in this event with Adam Ondra and try something I never would have dreamed of doing again.”

Since your competition days you have developed a skin allergy to certain polyurethane/ plastic holds. How did this affect you and how does it normally affect your training?

Unfortunately, while I enjoy training hard (some might think I love it), I can’t really enjoy training indoors in most gyms. Recently I built my own little gym (or woody). I have a mixture of holds, but a large majority are wooden holds – most of which are from my own PUC series line. In wood and on the rock my skin seems to hold up a lot better. On plastic I found I had problems keeping my hands dry – one reason I was excited to produce my own line of chalk – but I have found ways to train despite my skin issues. It definitely affects the way I climb, but after training in Stockholm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, my skin was already bothering me by the time Adam and I attempted to climb the Project. “

Speaking of loving training, for those that know you it seemed so appropriate when you asked to get right back on the project after falling off on your first attempt. What was going on in your head? 

“Honestly I was just excited to be able to give it a second go, something you never get to do when your foot pops off or if you make a silly mistake while climbing “on-sight” in comps. We always say that when you fall you should get back up and try again; it was fun to actually get to do that.”

Do you think The BD Project route will ever be climbed?

“Honestly, I don’t know if anyone will be able to climb it. The route gets progressively harder. While it is true that after just one day of climbing that Adam Ondra was able to reach a new “highpooint,” he confirmed that the route just gets harder and harder. As you can see in the live video, he estimated that up to the roof section that the route was roughly a 9b and that there were still several hard boulder problems above it. Sending would require spending time in the gym working hard on this route. There are very few climbers that can try routes harder than 9b and even fewer that get motivated for such hard routes on plastic, but that doesn’t mean that the next generation of climbers won’t gravitate towards this sort of project. Time will tell. With hard-work and motivation who knows what’s possible.

Would you ever be motivated to have an indoor project?

With my skin issues and the point I am at in my life, this is no longer a goal of mine. I have other goals in mind – all of which require time and focus. So no, I won’t be focusing on this type of project at this time.

Was there any competition between you and Adam? 

Adam and I competed against eachother in the circuit years ago. But we are no longer competing against eachother. I am his biggest supporter and fan! As his coach for over 3 years now, I have been there cheering him along as he won many titles and climbed amazing feats. We are friends and I was excited to see him make the highpoint this weekend. We have very different levels now so no competition…just a ton of psych! 

Black Diamond has recently released a blog post about the eventful weekend at Klättercentret – Adam gave a slideshow and Patxi held 4 workshops and gave a slideshow apart from their attempts on The Project.

Huge thanks to all involved in the event- Black Diamond, Adam Ondra, Liam Lonsdale, Björn Pohl, Klättercentret, and all of the participants and spectators who made for such a fun event. PUC series is already looking forward to the next Black Diamond project workshops with Patxi Usobiaga. Stay tuned for future dates.

EvasionTV with Patxi Usobiaga and Luis Rodriguez
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