French climber Alizée Dufraisse has ticked Estado Critico (9a/5.14d) at the El Pati sector of Siurana,
Spain for its first female ascent. It’s the 29-year-old’s second 5.14d ascent after La Reina Mora in 2012.
“[Estado Critico]is a very cool route, with long moves on small holds,” Dufraisse tells Rock and Ice. “From the ground, Estado is
a very beautiful line in the middle of El Pati. The beauty of the place and of this route inspired me. I feel free when I am climbing on this wall.”
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Spanish strongman Ramon Julian Puigblanque established the route in 2004, and it has since become a classic for the grade. Estado Critico has
been repeated by the likes of Nicolas Favresse, Dani Andrada, Adam Ondra, Sonnie Trotter, and Jonathan Siegrist, among others. In 2013, a 19-year-old
Alex Megos onsighted Estado Critico for
the world’s first 5.14d onsight.
Dufraisse came close to sending the climb last year, but left her project unfinished to compete in the bouldering world cup circuit. “I had to leave without
[an] ascent and I was very sad,” she writes on her blog,
“but choices are like that. We can’t have everything all the time.”
This February, after a change of heart about competition climbing—she made outdoor climbing her priority—she went back to Siurana to put Estado Critico “dans
la poche.” She thought that the climb would be quick to finish based on her progress last year, but Dufraisse admits that her ego got the best of her.
With no luck, she returned to France and the forest of Fontainebleau for resistance training—linking traverses and boulder problems. Along with the
endurance nature of the climb, she had also struggled with the crux of Estado Critico, which comes in the middle of the route and requires
big moves off small crimps.
“I spent a lot of tries on it,” she says. “I don’t know how much.” On April 12, the stars aligned and Dufraisse took it to the top. Estado Critico enfin dans la poche.
What’s next? “So I’ll climb close to my parents home in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val [France], and then I hope Céüse and Flatanger [Norway] this summer,” she
says. “And for the projects, I’ll feel it out. I’ve no decisions made now.”
Dufraisse was the fourth woman to send 5.14d, after Josune Bereziartu, Charlotte Durif and Sasha DiGiulian (DiGiulian climbed Pure Imagination at the Red River Gorge, Kentucky in October 2011 when it was considered to be 5.14d.
Grade consensus for Pure Imagination has since settled on 5.14c), with her ascent of La Reina Mora in January 2012.
Watch Alizée Dufraisse on Estado Critico:
Watch Alizée Dufraisse on La Reina Mora: