Two weeks ago, Sonnie Trotter sent Estado Critico (9a) on a trip to Spain with his family. With a finger injury before the trip, he was unsure of what the trip would look like in terms of climbing. At the end of their trip, Sonnie and his family returned to Cornudella and he sent a climb he had tried 16 years earlier, named L-ments (8b+). We had a chance to chat with Sonnie just after he sent Estado Critico. Here is what he had to say.
Sonnie and his family en route. Photo: Sonnie Trotter ©
Thanks for chatting with us. First off, how has spain been with the family and the little one?
Traveling has definitely been slightly more challenging with a one year old, but he’s a seriously incredible traveler right now, resilient and adaptable and almost always smiling. I’m not sure if that will last into the next few years of his life, but for now we are super stoked. Sleeping is still a challenge so climbing multiple 5.14’s on this trip has really been a surprise, I wasn’t always feeling 100%. Besides that, Spain is a very friendly place to travel to and the weather is almost always perfect.
You just sent a pretty difficult project. How does it feel?
It feels really, really great. I love trying hard. The climb took me 6 days (maybe 7) I can’t honestly remember, but it was a great process. I think the climb suited me really well and might be a little on the soft side but who knows, I’m not an expert on sport climbing these days. I tried another 9a while I was there and I was pretty confident I could do that route as well, I think the long endurance type routes, combined with a technical style of climbing suite me well.
Sonnie warming up. Photo courtesy of James Lucas ©
Given the finger injury prior to the trip, did you really have to give this one your all?
Ya, I tried really hard on the send, but I honestly had no idea I was actually going to do it. In fact, just the day before I pretty much gave up all hope that I would do it on this trip, and I was perfectly okay with that. I just wanted to climb some awesome rock and get pumped. My goal for the redpoint was to just stick the crux move, so I tried really hard to do that, then the next thing I knew I was fighting my way to the anchor and luckily I beat the pump to the top.
As for the finger injury, again, I gave up thinking that I would be able to climb hard on this trip, but after two weeks of doing only 5.13’s and using a lot of tape, it started to feel great again. So one day I just took the tape off and tried my first 5.14. I sent it in 3 goes, and it felt amazing. I then did another 5.14a in another 3 tries, and realized that maybe it was time to start trying something harder. It was a very lighthearted trip, that just happened to work out.
What is the deal with those red pants? Is everyone wearing them down there?
Well ya, didn’t you get the memo? Red pants are the new thing man, if you’re not wearing them, you’re just not that rad. ha ha. My clothing sponsor (Patagonia) hooked me up with them before we left, I brought them because they seemed Euro and fun, and they are an amazing climbing pant, lightweight stretchy, perfect fit. (Patagonia Venga Pant) I seriously had no idea so many other people would be wearing them. It was hilarious.
Not really, I suppose it might if they were all alone, but I ran into a solid crew from the US and they knew what they were doing, so I felt pretty confident. They could see that I was waiting for my other partner to finish a route (we were a team of 3 that day), but conditions were absolutely perfect, overcast and windy, and so when they offered a catch I said yes. It was the only time I had someone I just met belay me, otherwise I had been climbing with friends, or friends of friends. They were a really amazing crew, and Kiff, my actual belayer gave me just the right amount of slack and good sending vibes. It was perfect.
Whats going on in your head when you are giving it your all?
When I’m trying really, really hard, I’m totally in the moment, just executing the moves I need to do, so nothing is really going on upstairs ha ha ha. I think maybe that’s one of my strengths in climbing, I can really turn off any mental chitter-chatter and just climb like I know how to. I don’t really get wrapped up in fear of falling and getting hurt, or fear of failing, or overly excited that I’m going to send, I’m just really flowing in the moment, hold by hold, clip by clip, and move to move. Sometimes I send, and sometimes I fly. It’s all good either way.
Fantastic send and thanks for letting us ask a few questions. Hope you have a safe flight home!
My pleasure and thanks for the kind words. In fact, I am writing this from home, we just landed in Calgary the day before – and now we’re shaking off the jet lag and making plans to go back in the fall.
For another interview worth checking out, Enormocast did a live interview with him on his last days in Spain. This link currently not working but I am sure it will be up soon