Slovenian climber Jernej Kruder has made the second ascent of Chris Sharma’s famous “King Line” Es Pontas in Mallorca,
Spain. He had projected the deep-water-solo route for almost a month before finally taking it to the top today.
“So I guess I just made a second ascent of [Chris Sharma’s] king line Es Pontas!!!” Kruder reported on Instagram. Sharma made the first ascent
of the line in 2006 and his efforts were captured in the classic climbing film King Lines.
Although Sharma never graded the route, others who have tried the climb, such as Magnus Midtbø, have speculated the grade to be in the 5.15a/b range.
“What makes this climb
so difficult is that you’re upside-down, you’re hanging on your arms and finger tips the whole time,” Sharma says in King Lines. “And on top
of that, 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. It’s just a pure, all-four-points-off
Sharma estimates that he tried the massive dyno, which is over 30 feet above the sea, around 100 times before he climbed the route. Kruder surprised himself
by almost sticking the dyno on his first attempt, and he nailed it on his third go [second day]. Although the dyno came easy to Kruder, he still called
it “unpredictable” and was only able to stick it half the time. During his last four days on the climb, before his ascent, he never missed the dyno
While Es Pontas was his main goal of the trip, Kruder also made the second ascent of Pontax (8c/5.14b), the direct-finish (after the
dyno) variation to Es Pontas, which was opened by Sharma the year before he sent Es Pontas. Pontax went unclimbed for almost
11 years, until Kruder’s ascent two weeks ago. After climbing Pontax, he decided he was ready for the more-difficult Es Pontas.
Jan Hojer arrived in Mallorca and joined Kruder in the action. “It’s good to have [Jan Hojer] here, so we push our limits higher,” Kruder wrote on Instagram.
They worked the climb together and discovered the beta they needed to make it happen.
After Kruder’s ascent, Hojer shared his excitement on Instagram: “Krudi did it!!!!! 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.
“I couldn’t follow his lead today, to make our dream of sending it the same day come true but I feel so close and hope I can send it after a couple rest
Watch Chris Sharma on El Pontas: