Family man Chris Sharma is first to repeat Joe Mama (9a+/5.15a)—a new power-endurance testpiece in Oliana, Spain. He announced the news on Instagram today: “This
route … gave me my fair share of beat downs last season. At first a route that I underestimated, it turned into an epic battle that got the
best of me.
“So refreshing to come back this season with an open mind and no expectations other than to just enjoy climbing.”
Joe Kinder envisioned and equipped the line three years ago and left it as an open project. He described the route as “pure power endurance with no clipping
anything for the last third of the route. Loco!” This March, Slovenian climber Klemen Bečan bagged the first ascent after three months of work and suggested 9a for the grade.
Bečan began projecting the line with Sharma and Kinder last December. “It … helped to try the route with Chris who gave me all the beta and made
it much easier to understand it,” Bečan told Rock and Ice after his ascent. “It was also fun to try route with him since we were both so close to doing it for
a long time and we helped each other with some small little details of how to get to the final jug.”
In reference to climbing with Sharma, Bečan said: “It’s perfect. He always brings good energy to the climbing area. Always trying to motivate people to
try new projects and sharing the knowledge.”
Sharma stepped from Joe Mama and Oliana during the hot summer months and put his efforts into other projects. Last month, he put up
Alasha, a deep-water solo route on Mallorca, Spain. The climb, which he named after his daughter, Alana Sharma, is one of the hardest deep-water solos in the world. Sharma declined
to grade Alasha definitively, reasoning that DWS is “such a different thing than sport climbing or regular rock climbing,” he said in
a previous interview,
but suggested that the grade would be around 9b (5.15b) based on the effort it took him to redpoint the climb.
Though close to sending Joe Mama last season, Sharma admittedly “underestimated” the route. For his entire climbing life, over 24 years, Sharma
saw climbing itself as a way to train for climbing, but only recently has he started a systematic approach to training. He suggests that this might
have been the missing link on Joe Mama:
“Maybe it was in my head or maybe it was all the training with Patxi Usobiaga last summer, but I finally felt the flow!” Sharma wrote on Instagram. “So nice to finish off
this line! Gotta keep on moving!”
Watch Klemen Bečan on the first ascent of Joe Mama (5.15a):