Last day, last try—and on Friday the 13th—Ethan Pringle finally put an end to his long, emotional battle with La Reina Mora (5.14d) in Siurana, Spain. Pringle spent weeks working the route, postponing his flight back to the United States twice to give him more time. On the night before his last day in the country, he was ready to call it quits.
“I was beyond burned out,” Pringle told Rock and Ice. “I so badly wanted to throw in the towel and just have a fun, mellow day of cragging.”
La Reina Mora, first climbed by Ramon Julian, is on the famous El Pati sector of Siurana. The route’s name (The Moor Queen) came from a local legend about a queen jumping off the cliff to her death when the Christians invaded Siurana.
The first section of the route follows a powerful, lay-back crack to a kneebar/jug rest. From the rest, it’s an endurance climb on small in-cut crimps and pockets, separated by marginal rests.
“I knew I wanted to climb it someday,” says Pringle. “It’s a really inspiring line and it features some great, flowing movement … I knew I was physically capable of climbing the route but I was holding myself back with all these little issues. [It] turned into a vicious cycle of frustration, insecurity and a little self-loathing mixed in for good measure.”
On his last attempt, with a new relaxed attitude and no expectations, Pringle finally clipped the chains.
“I think when so much of your identity is wrapped up in climbing, how you perform on the wall has a huge impact on your self-esteem and confidence. It was just heady and I was bringing all this up the cliff with me, not feeling like myself on the route and not having very much fun.
“When I got up on Friday the 13th, I decided to go out and try my best to just have a good time on the route, success or failure. It made me feel comfortable again, and I finally climbed the route.”
Photo by Paolo Sartori Photography.