Nacho Sanchez goes against the grain. Hailing from Spain, best known for its sport climbing, Sanchez prefers his country’s boulders to its in-vogue sport crags. He is not only leading the charge to explore the overlooked blocks of Spain, but he is also pioneering his country’s first and only V15s, first with Entropia in 2011, and most recently, Insomnio.
“When I first started, there was no bouldering tradition in my area,” writes Sanchez, who is from Murcia, Spain. “But now there are many people bouldering in my country.”
The 28-year-old Sanchez took a year and a half to piece together the steep and acrobatic Entropia (V15), located at the granite boulders of Castilla de Bayuela. He has since added the cobbled Insomnio (V15) to Crevillente, and has recently made headlines with the aesthetic first ascent of Zarzafar (V14) at Zarzalejo. Though climbing at the world standard, Sanchez is not a full-time climber, and currently divides his time between climbing and finishing a Masters degree for Industrial Engineering in Madrid.
Rock and Ice contacted Sanchez to learn more about Spain’s strongest boulderer.
Where did you grow up? Were your parents climbers?
I am from Murcia, a small city in southeast Spain. I lived there until I was 18 years old. It is not the best place for bouldering, but there are some small areas around. My parents are not climbers, but they supported me when I decided to climb (after convincing them it was not dangerous). This is something I always wanted to do since I saw it on TV when I was very young. I have been climbing for 15 or 16 years.
Why do you prefer bouldering to sport climbing?
There are many very good sport-climbing crags near Murcia, but I started bouldering because I prefer its style. I like to solve very complicated sequences and try to climb moves near my limit. I do not really enjoy getting pumped while linking many easy moves.
Tell us about the process of doing a V15 first ascent?
Having done some V14s, I started trying a hard project (Entropia) for a long time and trained hard to be able to do it. When I succeeded, I thought it was much harder than any other problem I had done, so I proposed it V15. This year I managed to do a harder project, Insomnio, with the same process; a lot of patience and training very hard.
Have you traveled to try any of the already established V15s in Europe?
I have done quite a few short trips through Europe and I have been to Rocklands. I have tried briefly some V15s, but I have never had enough time to work seriously any hard problem far from home. Hopefully, it will, yes, change soon…
Can you tell us about Zarzafar (V14)?
I was shown the project by Ivan Luengo a long time ago, and I was psyched to try it, but I was not strong enough. Recently, I started trying it again, solved all the moves and finally linked them. It is a very aesthetic line, with some athletic moves at the beginning and a very hard mantle.
Are you sponsored?
I would like to be a professional climber, but it is hard in Spain. I get some money from sponsors but not enough to live. Meanwhile, I am finishing a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering in Madrid. I decided to live in Madrid mainly because of the great amount of rock around. There are many granite areas within 50 minutes’ drive. If I want to climb on sandstone, Albarracin or Santa Gadea are not too far, so I can go for the weekend.
I have too many projects in Spain. I am going to Varazze (Italy) in a couple of weeks. I want to start working on Gioia (V16), which is an amazing problem!
All photos by Rebeca Morillo.
Check out this video of Sanchez sending Entropia (V15).
Here is another cool video of Sanchez climbing Insomnio (V15).
Also, here is some footage of Sanchez on his latest FA, Zarzafar (V14).