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"Accordeon Session"5.14?, sector Chabela, Castillo, Aysén, Chile. FOTO/ Javier Cea Valencia

A LITTLE HISTORY

"Leo climbs all day. He sees rock on doors, on the roof, everywhere. It's a lot of fun. If you go to his house, you'd see the wooden beams of the roof of the house marked with chalk. He invents routes everywhere, it's like he's climbing all day long" (his father).

Son of a German mother and Chilean father, Leo was born on November 25, 2012 in Oldenburg, Germany. After a few months in a village in Imbassai, Brazil, he arrived in Chile as a one-year old.

A fundamental pillar of his childhood has been to be permanently surrounded by nature. Favored by a Waldorf education and his life in the ecological neighborhood "Blowing in the Wind" in Viña del Mar, it could be said that he has been molded between the beaches, mountains and forests of Chile. No one who knows him can fail to imagine Leo climbing a tree or a rock with his friends and siblings, almost always barefoot!  Leo climbs because it is part of his essence and he is truly happy doing it.

Leo, Gael, René y Cris, LasChilcas, 2022

La Nueva Yera, Panorámica. Encadene. Fo.

"La Nueva Yera"9a, sector La Muela, Las Chilcas, Chile. FOTO/ Gabriel Contreras. 

The climbing area "Las Chilcas" in the town of Llay-Llay, Chile, has been his learning sanctuary to develop sport climbing. Located one hour away from his home, he began to frequent with his father and his experienced local climber friends Cris Ulriksen and "Japi" Vasquez, the beautiful routes of this conglomerate area when he was 8 years old. Chilcas is one of the most important and hardest climbing schools in the country. Leo feels at home on the rock and quickly learns the handling of the climbing equipment, showing at the same time an outstanding physical, psychological and technical ability for this discipline.  In a few months he cuts the umbilical cord of his veteran referents with his first two routes at the beginning of 2022, both grade 6b (5.10d).

With overflowing energy and enthusiasm, after about a year of his first send, and after forging a solid base with several dozen sixth and seventh grade routes in different climbing areas in Chile, he achieves his first 8a (5.13b) with the emblematic route "Simpatía por el Diablo", sent "with" and also "without" shoes. Yes, an 8a (5.13b) barefoot, and simply because he enjoys doing it so much.

It was at this time that he became a climbing partner with his best friend and neighbor, Gael Detoy (12 years old), with whom he shares an intense passion and love for climbing. Gael is the one who invited him for the first time to a climbing gym that was installed near his house, "Campus Climbing", located in Con-Cón.

 

After his first 8a (5.13b) route, Leo began a more structured training program based on 2 to 3 rock sessions and 2 climbing wall sessions per week, the latter guided by his coach Daniel Serman,  mainly oriented towards a repertoire of climbing moves. A string of routes graded 7c+, 8a and 8a+ (5.13a, 5.13b and 5.13c) confirmed Leo's enthusiasm and skills, and he soon progressed to his first 8b+ (5.14a), "Herejía", when he was just 10 years old. On that day, his father gave him the Margalef climbing guide, with a dedication from Jordi Pou, with which he began to dream of climbing the routes of Sharma and the Pou brothers one day. 

 

Just a few months shy of his 11th birthday, and with several 8b+ (5.14a) routes already sent, he marked another milestone by becoming by far the youngest climber to send the iconic route "Si los Perros Ladran es Porque Cabalgamos" 8c (5.14b), one of the most emblematic and hardest routes in Chile. 

Gael y Leo en "Desplomilandia", las Chilcas, febrero 2023.

Tras un breve viaje familiar de escalada a la patagonia chilena, donde disfruta de la vida al aire libre y de la escalada en los hermosos parajes naturales de la región de Aysén, y donde logra realizar varios encadenes a vista y probar la impresionante línea de "Accordeon Session", un proyecto de 5.14 aún sin ascensiones en sector "Chabela" en Villa Cerro Castillo, vuelve decidido a intentar darle el segundo ascenso al 9a propuesto en la Chilcas por Ronny Escobar en enero de 2023. Es así que, con una actitud siempre sencilla, alegre y apacible, y a la vez con un vigor, determinación y autodisciplina impresionante, nos sorprende el 20 de abril de 2024 con el salto al noveno grado encadenando “Tecnoking” 9a (5.14d) en el sector Tecnobloque, convirtiéndose con esto en el escalador más joven de la historia en encadenar una ruta de esta graduación. 

After a brief family climbing trip to the Chilean Patagonia, where he enjoys the outdoors and climbing in the beautiful natural scenery of the Aysen region, and where he manages to make several on-sight climbs and try the impressive line of "Accordeon Session", a 5.14 project that still unclimbed in the "Chabela" climbing area in Villa Cerro Castillo, he returns determined to attempt the second ascent of the 9a proposed in Las Chilcas by Ronny Escobar in January 2023. Thus, with a simple, cheerful and peaceful attitude, and at the same time with an impressive vigor, determination and self-discipline, he surprises us on April 20th, 2024 with the jump to the ninth grade by sending "Tecnoking" 9a (5.14d) in the Tecnobloque sector, thus becoming the youngest climber in history to send a route of this grade.

After this feat, he sets off with his father and his team, Felipe Bustamante, to the iconic "Valle de los Condores" in the Maule region of Chile, where he puts his skills to the test in this mountainous climbing area located at 2,000 meters above sea level. He is fascinated by the "Huasamacos" sector, a kind of cave with the hardest routes in the area.  His enjoyment in this place is at its maximum. 

Once back to his favorite area, the Andes air makes him return again with the clear idea of attempting another feat: the second ascent of the other 9a ascent proposed in Las Chilcas, "La Nueva Yera". Route sent in 2023 by the Japanese climber and former national team member of that country, Sakae Nakahara, who proposes the grade. On Tuesday, April 30th, 2024, after 5 days of work and a total of 11 climbs, he achieved the send of this beautiful line in La Muela sector, repeating, only one month and ten days after Tecnoking's climbing, the feat of the ninth grade. 

Leo does not stop there, and does not stop thinking about new possibilities of hard and beautiful routes, and on May 14th, 2024 he manages to give the first ascent to "Technología", proposing a 9a grade, a line that he himself invented and baptized and which is a variant of Tecnoking that changes the final portion of the route for a section, as he himself refers, "of harder moves but slightly shorter pitch".

The way of living the rock and the amount of routes of the highest level sent in such a short time are remarkable.  In addition, his South American essence gives a beautiful and special value to his trajectory and achievements. 

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