In three weeks, Jonathan Siegrist ticked off Chaxi (9a+/5.15a), Joe Mama (9a+/5.15a) and Pachamama (9a+/5.15a) in Spain. He called the sending spree his “best three weeks of climbing ever,” and attributes his success to a different approach leading up to the
Rock and Ice caught up with J-Star to learn more about his new approach to sending hard. Was it new training techniques? Diet? Secret sauce? Turns
out, it wasn’t what we expected.
Interview with Jonathan Siegrist
How did you manage to send three 5.15s in three weeks?
Finishing Pachamama was such an enormous relief for me. I recognized that the confidence and excitement from that send could propel me through
another one—a momentum has always been a huge asset in my climbing.
I didn’t expect to do Chaxi though, that honestly came as a surprise. Especially because of how hard it felt the first couple days I tried it.
How do the routes compare? Do you have a favorite? Which one was the most difficult for you?
Pachamama was considerably harder than the other two for me. Jo Mama is a total hustle route. It’s shorter but there’s really no resting,
and the main crappy rest actually broke just before I sent, making it even less of a rest. It’s just a go-go-go route and is so fun in this way. I
climbed a little higher each try, which is always so motivating and kept it really fun. Chaxi is very bouldery, with great rests. The boulder
problems are snappy and crimpy, unique for Oliana.
Pachamama is for sure my favorite, along with Biographie [9a+/5.15a] I think it’s the best hard route I’ve ever climbed.
On Instagram, you wrote, “I took a completely different approach than usual leading up to this trip and it's wild to see it actually work.” What do you mean by that?
I over trained last year and in turn compromised my days outside and just compromised enjoying my climbing days in general. I reached a breaking point
this winter and I could just tell that I had pressured myself too much and kind of lost the plot.
I let go of my hard training ambitions this spring in the name of just climbing. It felt risky to come back to such a hard route without preparing like
I had in the past but mentally I was just so much more level and content.
For the last three years I’ve been training and trying my hardest projects nonstop and it was nice to just trust the work I’ve done and give myself the
chance to relax and enjoy the climbing. I am still trying to figure out exactly what the balance is for me—as we all are—but this has been
an awesome learning experience.
How did this change in approach translate to the rock?
It wasn’t so much on the rock as it was before and after, the moments in-between. I just felt less pressure.
Back to this spring, what have been some of your favorite climbs?
I mostly climbed at an area outside of Las Vegas called Mt. Potosi. None of the routes really stand out to me as being outstanding climbs necessarily but
it was more just the good, long days in the sun with good people.
I climbed a new pitch every day and just found the simple joy in climbing again. The pitches up there were so hard too, freaking 90s routes are so hard!
It ended up being great training for Spain in a weird way.
Overall, what are some lessons that you have learned this year?
I’m still wrapping my head around it all, but mainly that there are many paths to the same result, and as I grow up and continue to develop as a climber
I can take a different road to success from time to time.
Do you think you’ll be able to carry your momentum into the rest of the year?
I hope so! But of course, I’m sure that there will be some bumps along the way. I am really looking forward to this year altogether.
What’s next? What comes after Spain?
Mostly now I want to focus on some onsights and a few easier projects. I am moving to Rodellar on Monday. It will be my first time there and I’ve heard
so much about it for years! I am in Spain until late May and then I am going to Portugal to check out the climbing there.
Along with Chaxi, Joe Mama and Pachamama, J-Star’s 5.15 ticklist includes Power Inverter and Papichulo, Oliana,
Spain; La Rambla, Siurana, Spain;
Watch Jonathan Siegrist and The Art Of Projecting: Pachamama 9a+:
Follow Jonathan Siegrist on his blog jstarinorbit.com and on Instagram @jonathansiegrist.