Seven Walls on Seven Continents
In 2003, Iker and Eneko Pou, two Spanish brothers, began their amazing quest „7 Walls, 7 Continents”. It is a challenge that no other mountain climber has taken before. The mission was to climb seven toughest routes up seven toughest walls on seven continents. In 2007, the brothers completed their mission. Iker and Eneko Pou had an opportunity to test and expand their limits. ClimbAndMore asked Iker Pou some questions about the amazing quest.
ClimbAndMore: First of all, congratulations on the completion of the „Seven walls – Seven Continents” project. Which one of the climbs was the most difficult technically and which one had the most difficult logistics?
Iker Pou: As far as the logistics go, the most complicated and involved was getting to the walls in Antarctica. We had to sail for 10 days from Ushuai to Antarctica and the most difficult task was to find people that would want to sail the boat. Finally we managed to recruit two sailors and alpinists: Greg and Keri. They were the ones that pointed out the walls we could climb. However trying to organize that expedition was one big chaos: where to anchor the boat, climbing possibilities, good place for the base camp – everything virgin, never explored.
So far you were known for sport climbing. Some of your first climbs, El Nino, Zunbeltz, and Bravo les Filles were pure rock routes, but the rest of your projects – especially climbs on Fitz Roy and Antarctica- required ice and mixed climbing skills. Have you had previous experience with those types of climbing?
My introduction to climbing had more to do with alpinism and mountaineering than sport climbing. Since I have been three years old I spent all holidays with my parents in the mountains. When I was a little boy my dad used to take me on easy climbs in Pyrenees. Later on, when I turned 15, I started climbing more seriously, I climbed more mountain routes than rock routes, with my brother Eneko. After that I focused on sport climbing, but I have never abandoned ice and multi-pitch climbing.
When in 2000 I climbed, Action Direct 9a, I went back to climbing in the mountains, which I always preferred, but I never stopped sport climbing, which I always enjoyed. Currently I do more alpine routes than sport , but each year I still spend about four months sport climbing.
Free climbing Eternal Flame IX/IX+ is quite a goal, are you thinking about coming back for another try?
Yeah, that is true, free climbing Eternal Flame is a beautiful project. During our tries we almost made it, free climbing the entire route, which seemed very interesting to us. I don’t think I am going to come back though. There are some many new routes to be discovered in the Himalayas and I get motivated a lot more easily to do a new free route in an unexplored location.
You always climb at a high level sport and alpine, do you have specific goals, in either discipline, for the next few months?
As far as sport climbing, I would like to try to climb a route rated 9a+, as far as the mountains, I would like to put up a new route in the Himalayas or some other equally beautiful place.
Thank you and good luck!!
Translation: Katarzyna Okuszko/Maja Kotarska