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Flor de Papel

Conquering Ecuador's Toughest Climb: Chevy Crespo's Triumph

by tenaya


In 2002, when Chevy Crespo started climbing in Ecuador in his hometown gym, Chorrera de San Juan’s Castillo para Fiona (7b) was the hardest route in the country.

Three years later, Chevy travelled to China for his first youth world championships. Watching the other climbers,  particularly the Spaniards, proved to be a turning point for him. «In Ecuador we had very limited climbing and improving was very difficult,” Chevy recalled.  With little knowledge and less advanced coaching, Chevy realized that spending time with Europeans would rocket his climbing. “In Spain there were the best in the world; Ramón Julián, Patxi Usobiaga, Dani Andrada and many more!»

There’s enormous potential for hard climbing in Ecuador. Photo: Mateo Garcia

As soon as he turned 18, Chevy traveled to Spain to study Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Navarra. In between his studies, he climbed in as many competitions as he could but beyond that, he took the opportunity to climb all over the country.  «After 6 years of competitions, outdoor  rock climbing was a new sport for me,” Chevy said and the standards in Spain opened his eyes.   “Over the years I managed to do my first eight routes and that’s when I thought about, hopefully one day I’ll climb 8cs or even do 9a.»

The Cuenca project took a steep line on angling holds. Photo: Mateo Garcia

Chevy’s climbing expansion in Europe made him want to bring those experiences home.  He sought to open new routes around the country and bolt the first ninth grade route in Ecuador. Untapped crags cover the country with many located at high altitude, between 3800m to 5000m. In San Juan, Felipe Camargo  established and made the first ascent of Young Wild & Free (8c), the hardest route in the country, which Chevy made the second ascent of.  Chevy looked for something harder.

On his last visit to Ecuador, Chevy focused his search joining local climbers from Cojitambo, Davicho and Dani Durán. The team explored a three year old Cuenca project, searching the 17 meter 50º overhanging wall. After a hold broke, they redirected the bolts, looking for a natural and climbable line. After 8 days of intense work, they equipped a line of difficult moves. 

Locals examine the crag for the perfect line. Photo: Mateo Garcia

Chevy quickly deciphered each of the boulders but linking the four crux boulders without resting proved to be difficult. After several days of work, Chevy made the first ascent of Flor de Papel. “It was a great process! It was very fun and exciting to share it with friends I hadn’t seen in years!” Chevy spent more time on the route than on Young Wild & Free and the moves felt harder so he graded the route as 8c/+, making it Ecuador’s hardest route. 

With this climb and more potential, Chevy wants to boost the potential of the local community. «There is a lot of talent of athletes and virgin rock to open, but few people to develop,” said Chevy. “I hope that after sending Flor de Papel there will be more hard routes and hopefully the first 9a route in Ecuador.”  Thanks to the development and commitment of climbers like Chevy and other Ecuadoran first ascensionists, the community has improved significantly since Chevy first climbed on Castillo para Fiona

Chevy Crespo connects the moves on Flor De Papel (8c/+). Photo: Mateo Garcia

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