Klemen Bečan’s friends have nicknamed him “SlabMaster” and here’s a good example why. Recently, while climbing in Chulilla, Spain, the 32-year-old Slovenian was encouraged by locals to try an undone, 70-meter project suspected to check in around 5.14c. Bečan liked the looks of the vertical to slightly overhanging route, so he warmed up, and then gave it a solid go. So solid, in fact, that Bečan onsighted the route for its first ascent, and felt that the project, now dubbed Siempre se Puede Hacer Menos, was probably somewhere around 8c+ (5.14c). So that’s why they call him SlabMaster.
There is only one other climber known to have onsighted a 5.14c for a first ascent, and that is Paxti Usobiaga who, in 2007, made the first ascent of Bizi Euskara (5.14c), which was the world’s first 5.14c onsight.
But Bečan told Rock and Ice that he wasn’t specifically trying to onsight the route, he just wanted to try something “harder.”
“I was climbing in another sector where I ran out of routes,” wrote Bečan in an e-mail. “I just wanted to try something at my limit and this route looked the best to me.”
Bečan, who is a successful World Cup competitor, explained that he enjoys figuring out moves on the go rather than projecting routes.
“I would have more problems remembering 70 meters of moves than figuring them out on the way,” wrote Becan.
He also said that the route suited his strengths.
“With onsighting you always need some luck,” he wrote. “But this one was totally my style of climb. I had perfect conditions and I was warmed up perfectly. Everything was just perfect, so I guess I was lucky.”
When Bečan onsighted Siempre se Puede Hacer Menos, he says he was “happy.”
“And like always, when I clipped the chains I just started looking for a new route similar to this.”
Check out this video of Bečan cranking the first ascent of Siempre se Puede Hacer Menos.