On January 9, Spanish climber Iziar Martinez sent La Bongada 5.14c/d (8c+/9a) while on a trip to Margalef. She ended up redpointing the route just in the nick of time, on her final attempt of the final day of her trip. “Last day last try!” she exclaimed via Instagram. “Didn’t expect that, I’m so proud of myself. It was really hard to be motivated [throughout] the journey, some days were really hard because I couldn’t move [through] the first boulder and sometimes I just didn’t know what to do (rest, give another attempt, wait for the conditions…).”
La Bongada begins with a section of extremely overhanging, burly climbing. Many climbers start the climb off a pile of stacked stones to reach the starting holds. The moves in this opening section are big and the footholds and desperate. The next section consists of decent jugs where climbers can get some energy back after the brutal opening sequence. The juggy climbing slowly turns to pumpier and pumpier climbing before a technical kneebar rest. After this rest, the wall becomes near-horizontal and climbers are faced with two distinct cruxes before reaching the chains.
The grade of La Bongada has been subject to some controversy. Originally graded 5.14b by first ascensionist Ramon Julian in 2012, others have given the route 5.14c or 5.14d. Alex Megos climbed the route in 2014, believing the route could be a 5.14d. In 2019, it received its first female ascent by Italian climber Laura Ragora. Adam Ondra climbed the route in 2020, assigning it a grade of 5.14c/d. He noted that if the route was 5.14b, it would be the hardest 5.14b he’s ever tried. You can watch Ondra on his redpoint of La Bongada in a video below.
Martinez’s 2022 season was full of comps. She competed in several IFSC Europe – Continental Youth Championships and Youth Cups, often placing in the top 10. She also competed in open IFSC Europe – Continental Cups. In Fall 2022, she sent Taladrina 5.14a and Nuria 5.14b in Cuenca, Spain. In late 2022, earlier in her Margalef trip, she sent Bongadita 5.14b.
Adam Ondra on La Bongada