Fight or Flight (9b), Move by Move

If there is one thing climbers could (and do) listen to for hours and hours, it’s beta spray. The blow by blow, whether it’s of a project you’re actively working on, a route you’ve never been on (or ever will get on), or even done in an entirely different language, is a melodious recapitulation that climbers find helplessly hypnotic. “Repetitive Sounds are Music to the Brain,” reports Scientific American. Such is the transfixing drone of a good beta recital, a chant heard at crags around the world.

One must be creative with their beta recitals, with plenty of abstract Dadaistic descriptions of hold shapes (“Kneebar in the ‘Toilet bowl'”). Bonus points for giving a blow-by-blow that incorporates different grading systems/scales. To wit: “The first two bolts are Font 8c, but the next three bolts are French 8a, and the final headwall is UIAA XI M5+ TD.”

This video of Lucien Martinez provides a symphonic blow-by-blow of Fight or Flight (9b), in Oliana, Spain. A Chris Sharma signature climb, Fight or Flight has seen a few repeats by some of the best climbers in the world. But the real reason to watch this video is it shows just how damn hard and damn dope this route is. Got me stoked, at least.



  • James Madelin

    Fantastic! Great find! Thanks! I’ve wanted to watch a film like this for a long time. It not only shows how hard these are, but the work required to be able to memorise, internalise and then execute the climb. Awesome stuff.