|It's all happening in Spain at the moment, with the likes of Usobiaga, Marín Garcia, Andrada, Sharma, Hirayama and Graham all on top form.
Patxi Usobiaga continues to to rock-n-roll after his victory of the Lead World Cup 2006 with three 8b+ on-sights ("Andujar power" at Fataga, Canaries, "Proyect de ricar" at El Rio, Tenerife and "Teken" at Etxauri, Navarra) and a 9a repeat of "Begi puntuan" at Etxauri.
Teammate Edu Marín Garcia is making the most off competitions as well: after placing 7th overall in 2006 he has now travelled to Siurana where on 30 November he made the second repeat of La Rambla original 9a+ at Siurana. Prior to this the 21 year old had also made a repat of "Estado Critico" 9a and the first repeat of Rich Simpson's "A Muerte" 8c+/9a.
Chris Sharma (on a visit to Siurana with Dani Andrada, Dave Graham and Yuji Hirayama) underlined his incredible talent once again and quickly dittoed Marín's performace by making the third ascent of this mammoth stamina testpiece. The history of this incredible stamina tespiece is similar to that of another 9a+ which Sharma knows all too well, Realization in Ceuse. La Rambla was first ascended by Alexander Huber in 1994 up to a pocket at 3/4 height, and like Realization was extended (in 2003 by Ramón Julián Puigblanque) to get its 9a+ grade.
A beautiful part of climbing are the true rock jam sessions which have always been popular and which are the distinctive features of a passion which goes well beyond the grade and numbers: travelling together to climb and to get to know different people and races has always been, and still remains, one of the best and most important aspects of this sport.
For more info about the Graham & Andrada & Hirayama in Spain check out Dave Graham's blog.
photo: Patxi Usobiaga on-sighting "Andujar Power" 8b+, Etxauri, Spain. Photo Irati Anda.