Chris Sharma climbs Gancho Perfecto (9a/5.14d), his new route at Margalef, Spain:
On the eve of the Vail World Cup, Chris Sharma has established a new 9a+ (5.15a) in Spain, his second new 9a or harder of the month. Sharma redpointed Papichulo on the limestone of Oliana on May 31. The route starts with a four-bolt 5.13d to a no-hands rest, followed by continuously difficult climbing to the anchors on brilliant blue stone, for a total of 45 meters. At the beginning of the month, Sharma completed Gancho Perfecto (9a/5.14d) on the conglomerate rock of Margalef, Spain.
Obviously in great form, Sharma is headed to the Bouldering World Cup at this weekend’s Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, along with many of the world’s best climbers. The international field will include Kilian Fischhuber and Anna Stöhr from Austria, this year’s World Cup leaders, as well as David Lama from Austria, Stephane Julien from France, Christian Core and Gabriele Moroni from Italy, Ty Landman and Gareth Parry from Great Britain, Natalija Gros from Slovenia, Sean McColl from Canada, and many others.
The Vail World Cup, a first for the six-year-old Teva Mountain Games, presents a superb opportunity for American boulderers to show their stuff—in 2007, not a single American competed in a Bouldering World Cup. Many of the U.S. favorites live in Colorado and won’t have to travel far to Vail, including Daniel Woods, winner of the last three Teva Mountain Games. Woods spent the winter in Europe and sent many of Switzerland’s best and hardest problems, plus established one of his own in early May: In Search of Time Lost (8C/V15) at Magic Wood. In April, he finished third in a World Cup in Austria. Another local favorite is Paul Robinson, winner of the U.S. bouldering championships in February.
On the women’s side, the top American is Alex Puccio, who won the 2008 women’s bouldering championship and has dominate competition bouldering in the U.S. for several years. Alex Johnson, runner-up at the February championships, and Lisa Rands, the most experienced international competitor among American women, also will be gunning for the podium in Vail.
Date of competition: The qualifiers in Vail are Friday, June 6, and the semifinals and finals are on Saturday, June 7.