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Chris Sharma carrying out the first ascent of "Demencia Senil" 9a+, the first route of its grade at Margalef, Spain.
Photo by Pete O'Donovan

Spain climbing action: Chris Sharma at Margalef, Geoffray De Flaugergues at Alquezar

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Chris Sharma has made the first ascent of Demencia Senil 9a+ at Margalef while 13 year old Geoffray De Flaugergues from France has repeated El templo del cafe 8c+/9a at Alquezar.

After a cold and wet start to 2009, conditions for sport climbing seem nigh perfect in Spain at the moment and a number of top climbers are seizing the day with a series of incredibly impressive ascents. Those which will no doubt leave their mark are young Geoffray De Flaugergues and "veteran" Chris Sharma, the former currently in Alquezar, the latter slightly further south in Margalef.

Geoffray De Flaugergues is making a name for himself with his repeat of "El templo del cafe", an 8c+/9a at Alquezar. According to French kairn.com, De Flaugergues had attempted the line at the end of 2008 and returned during his February school holidays to send the route which had been first ascended by Dani Andrada in 2007. What is astounding is not so much the length of the route (121 moves!) but Geoffray's age... a mere 13!

Chris Sharma has been astounding us for more than a decade and on Friday the 28 year old American carried out the first ascent of "Demencia Senil" at Margalef. This single and two finger pocket trip through the bulging overhang at the Laboratory sector has now been graded 9a+ and is the first route of this grade at this conglomerate crag.

The speed and regularity which which these routes are “produced” might lead people to believe that equipping and freeing them is child's play, but nothing could be further from the truth. It has to be said though that things have accelerated dramatically recently. Let's hope that this "gear change" continues and above all inspires many to exceed themselves.

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