Marieta Akalski of Canada has climbed Florida (5.14b) in Rodellar, Spain, becoming just the third Canadian woman to send a route of this grade.
“Florida is one of the most bad-ass climbs I’ve done,” Akalski wrote in an e-mail to Rock and Ice. “I had seen the line from the beginning of my trip and I knew one day I wanted to climb it. What I didn’t know was that that one day could potentially be on this trip.”
Akalski had a ticket to Kalymnos where she was supposed to spend two weeks before flying back to Canada. She chose to extend her stay in Rodellar after making significant progress on her project.
She battled Florida for another week before she was able to send on October 23. She especially struggled with the crux, which she describes as 14 powerful moves 125 feet up.
“Florida challenged me mentally more than any other route this trip,” Akalski wrote. “I certainly reached a low point when I fell three times in a row on the last move of the crux. It’s not like me to get frustrated, but it’s also not like me to fall continuously on one specific move.”
After a rest day to refocus, Akalski went into her session yesterday with a stronger mindset.
“Following the rest day I was all ready to give it everything I’ve got,” she wrote. “I turned all my previously negative energy into fire. As I stared down the hold I knew I was going to hold it this time.”
Akalski has had a strong few months, sending two 5.14as in a week with Geminis and Ixeia, both in Rodellar in early October. Before Spain, she spent six weeks taking down hard routes in Rifle, Colorado, including the fourth female ascent of Spray-A-Thon (5.13c) and Tomb Raider (5.13d) in just five tries.
She’ll head back to Toronto, Canada, where she says she’s, “not psyched to go home and climb on plastic after being on rock for a few months,” but is also motivated to return to Spain this winter.