Fly Boys at Rumney

By Jeff Achey ,

Chris Sharma in the zone on his near-flash of The Fly.

Not to be dissing Dave Graham, but one of his hardest Rumney routes, The Fly (9a or 5.14d), received an embarrassing amount of attention this fall. First, Tony Lamiche of France, traveling with the Petzl Rock Trip tour, made the third ascent of the crimpy testpiece, beaming his Beta to the world via digital video (still viewable on the Petzl website). Next, Chris Sharma made a near flash of the climb, falling from the very last hard move on his first attempt and then sending the route within the hour, the fastest ascent of a “9a” route ever. Both climbers pre-clipped the second bolt (although Sharma’s near-flash was sans the clip), located a mere 12 feet above the ground, which allows the entire crux to be toproped. Finally, on November 7, Jason Kehl made the obvious quantum leap forward and bouldered the route, after a number of sessions working it on a toprope. The Fly undoubtedly would never have been bolted but for the tricky landing zone; a fall might land one on the starting ledge, on the ground five feet below, or on some combination of the two. After some leveling of the landing and the installation of numerous pads, Kehl sent the route, but not before rewarding his spotters with three or four well-executed falls from the last moves. Consensus seems to be placing the climb at hard V13.

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