Patxi Usobiaga is nothing less than a sport climbing icon. The former World Cup Champion has climbed some 20 routes of 9a or harder, runs a successful climbing training business and is climbing the same grades now as he was over a decade ago. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Basque Country climber, who suffered lasting injuries in a car accident in 2010 that changed the course of his climbing for several years.
Patxi, who is originally from Eibar in the Basque Country, Spain, started climbing at the age of 10 and has been consumed by the sport for as long as he can remember. He was only 14 when he climbed his first 8a, Conan Dax Librarian, in Araotz, and by the time he finished school he had climbed an 8b, Parva Naturalia, in Araotz. He also started competing internationally at a young age and was European Youth Champion in 1997. These early years of competition set the scene for his performance on the adult circuit.
In total, Patxi earned himself no fewer than 25 World Cup medals on the adult lead circuit. After winning his first World Cup gold medal in Edinburgh in 2003 he went on win the Lead World Cup in 2006 and 2007, become European champion in 2008, and Lead World Champion in 2009, earning himself the reputation as one of the very best lead climbers in the world.