This was a long time coming for Jan Hojer: he had dreamed of the route for years, projected it for a month in 2016, and now, finally, in 2018, has become the third person to climb Es Pontas, perhaps the quintessential deep water solo. “Climbing the last easy part with nothing underneath me but the sea and 20 meters of air, was the most free I ever felt on a route…” Hojer wrote earlier today on Instagram in announcing his success. First climbed by Chris Sharma in 2006 and repeated only once, by Jernej Kruder in 2016, Es Pontas ascends the underside of its namesake arch off the coast of Mallorca, and features an all-points-off, seven-foot dyno 30 feet above the ocean.
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The story of Sharma’s first ascent is chronicled in the film King Lines. In the film, Sharma describes the point in the climb when the holds peter out and the only option is to jump: “The wall is absolutely blank for seven feet. You have to actually just kind of leap through the air and stick another hold. A lot of coordination is involved. Your feet are really high, and you kind of have to rock up onto your feet and explode off of them.”
Coming back to the project this year, Hojer was stronger and fitter than he was in 2016 when he came up empty-handed after a month of attempts. Just a week ago he announced on Instagram, “I stuck the dyno!! …
On my only second day of this season I got through this super low percentage move and set a new high point, falling only one move away from the victory jug! Of course I would have loved to send it, but right now my satisfaction about how quickly I got to a point I never got to in 2016 prevails!”
After Kruder’s send in 2016, the magnanimous Hojer was ecstatic about his Slovenian friend’s accomplishment despite not being able to finish it off himself: “After almost a month of trying Es Pontas together, Jernej made the second ascent!!! Watching him climb was one of the best goes I ever saw! He cruised through all the hard sequences until he started screaming at the victory jug! I watched from the other side of the arch and almost died, hustling up to the top while he did the last easy moves, to give him a man hug on top.”
In the two years since, Hojer has just been biding his time until he could finally be the one screaming at the victory jug. “I want to thank everybody who supported me during the process! Without my sponsors, friends and family it would have been so much harder to keep coming back, dealing with the countless falls,” he wrote.
Sharma, the man himself, congratulated Hojer in the comments on Instagram: “Nice Jan! So stoked for you ! … What a epic route!”
Watch Chris Sharma and Jernej Kruder in the videos below making the first and second ascents, respectively, of Es Pontas