As he winds up a short trip to Spain, Sachi Amma of Japan can look back on one of the greatest stretches of redpointing in sport climbing history. In less than three weeks, Amma, 25, has done six routes 5.14d or harder, including two 9a+ (5.15a) routes and his first 9b (5.15b).
Amma, who won the World Cup lead climbing series in 2012 and 2013 but finished seventh overall in 2014, has turned his attention more to outdoor climbing with spectacular results. The 5-foot-8-inch, 117-pound climber redpointed Fight or Flight (9b) at Oliana just a few days after arriving in Spain—his fourth trip to attempt this Chris Sharma testpiece. Ten days later Amma redpointed Catxasa at Santa Linya on just his third try this year (after one attempt last year)—“my best performance ever on 9a+,” he exulted at 8a.nu. But Amma wasn’t done yet: On Monday, February 16, he finished Power Inverter at Oliana, which he called hard 9a+, for his third 5.15 of a three-week trip.
Update: On February 18, Amma redpointed his fourth 5.15 of this trip, sending Seleccio Anal (9a+/5.15a), a linkup of Selecccio Natural and Analogica at Santa Linya, on his second try!
Amma has previously done several 9a+ routes, most recently Biographie, at Ceüse, France, last August. Climbing asked Amma to reflect on his latest trip to Spain and his goals for the coming year.
Climbing: You obviously are in incredible form right now. What are your next goals?
Amma: My goal for 2015 was sending ten routes 9a or harder, but I already climbed six routes of this grade. So I am thinking about new goal of this year now.
Climbing: Are you focusing on outdoor climbing more now after a somewhat disappointing World Cup season in 2014?
Amma: My competition season of 2014 was great. I started competing in the World Cup when I was 16. I enjoyed competition a lot, and now I want to try hard in outdoor climbing. I am planning to participate in one or two World Cups in 2015.
Climbing: What climb has made you happiest in the last 12 months?
Amma: Of course sending Fight or Flight is the one. I made four trips from Japan for this route. It was really deep days until I sent this route. This route taught me that climbing always gives you awareness if you try with passion.
Climbing: Do you get more pleasure or satisfaction from a hard redpoint or hard onsight?
Amma: I cannot chose it. Pleasure or satisfaction comes to me when I make my imagination real. It can happen from both styles.