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Sachi Amma climbing Fight or Flight 9b at Oliana, Spain. This is the fourth ascent after Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra and Jakob Schubert.
Photo by Luka Fonda
Yuji Hirayama
Photo by The North Face ® / Damiano Levati
Yuji Hirayama high on The Nose, El Capitan, Yosemite, climbed with Hans Florine in a record 2:43:33.
Photo by Shinta Ozawa
Yuji Hirayama, concentration and focus
Photo by Giulio Malfer

Yuji Hirayama and Sachi Amma at the top of their climbing game

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While Yuji Hirayama has made the first ascent of his 8c+ project in Japan aged 50, in Spain 30-year-old Sachi Amma has redpointed his third 9b, Stoking the fire at Santa Linya.

After Thursday’s news about Keita Kurakami has his ground-up, rope-solo ascent of an 8c+ as Mt. Futago - yes, you read that right, completely on his own and ground-up - here’s some further news about Japanese climbers, namely from Yuji Hirayama and Sachi Amma.

At the age of 50, ever-green Yuji Hirayama has managed to make the first ascent of his Time Machine, a project at the historic Gozeniwa crag he sent after 22 months of projecting and for which he now puts forward the grade 8c+.

Hirayama has been a prime player in rock climbing as of the mid-80s. His climbs are simply too many to list comprehensively, but the following are certainly worth mentioning: his fast repeat of The Phoenix in Yosemite at the age of 17 in 1986, his redpoint of Les Specialistes in the Verdon in 1988 (at the time considered one of the hardest climbs in the world), his astounding on-sight attempt on The Salathé on El Capitan in Yosemite in 1997 (even today considered one of the most important ascents of its kind), four speed records on The Nose up El Capitan, overall victory in the 2000 Lead World Cup as well as two Rock Master victories. And of course the world’s first 8c onsight in 2004, on White Zombi in the Baltzola cave in Spain.

Hirayama’s friend Sachi Amma, after putting up Japan’s first 9b last year, has now redpointd his third route of these difficulties. Amma travelled to Spain at the end of last year and returned this spring to send Stoking the Fire, the immense stamina plod through the steep Santa Linya grotto in Spain freed in 2013 by Chris Sharma and repeated by Adam Ondra (2016) and Jakob Schubert (2018). Winner of the Lead World Cup in both 2012 and 2013, Amma then decided to concentrate in climbing outdoors and after a flurry of 9a+ sent his first 9b in 2015, Fight or Flight at the nearby Spanish limestone outcrop Oliana.

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I just want to announce the name of my new route. The name is “Time Machine 8c+,5.14c There are many of my old routes from 1987 and 1988 here in Gozeniwa and Those routes give to me lots of inspirations just being here and just climbing here. And those routes are express a lot of messages from 80s and even I feel like it’s from young Yuji. And today with my new route “Time Machine” will express a lot what we are doing today and Time Machine will bring you to my generation forever. 1 pic, view from the others side of Time Machine. 2 movie, 2017 June One of my beginning of linking attempt. 3 pic, trying hard but always dealing with my knee. 4 movie, moment of red point after 22 months of effort. さて先日登ったプロジェクトの名前を決めました。 名前はTime Machine, 8c+ 高校生の頃通った御前岩で再び本格的に登り始めたのは2015年の暮頃からでした。30年近い月日が経っていましたが、目の前のボルトやスリングは当時のまま、懐かしいと同時に当時の開拓を思い出し十代の自分や当時の景色を来る度に感じることができました。そこには未成熟なクライミング界ではありましたが、今の自分にはない熱い情熱が存在し、一本一本のルートから放たれるエネルギーがリボルト作業を通してメッセージのように伝わってきました。ラインどり、ボルト位置や間隔、全てがアグレッシブで必要最小限で自然との妥協点を見つけ出しているようでした。手打ちで打ったと言うことや高校生でお金がなかった、とかいろいろあるとしても、僕らのクライミングに対する理想の高さが随所に垣間見れたのは事実です。そんな3年半程の間、そのように過去の自分に出会ったり仲間を思い出し、昔の僕らから沢山のメッセージを頂いているようでした。そんなルート達は2017年暮に御前岩が開放されてから沢山の皆んなにも感じて頂けるようになりました。そしてぜひ、この1年10ヶ月の想いや自分からのメッセージをこのTime Machineを通して感じて頂ければなと思います。 1.キャスリウォールから 2.2017年6月 3.膝との付き合いをしながら核心練習 4.2019年3月22日完成 #new50’s #gozeniwa @thenorthfacejp @blackdiamond @beal.official @climbskinspain @climbparkbasecamp @boulderpark_basecamp @basecamptokyo @thenorthfacecup @basecamp.import

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I sent Stoking the fire yesterday! Since my last trip to this massive cave last December, this route was burning in me. I trained for 3 month because I wasn’t training my physical for long time. It worked pretty well on the route. But after twice heartbreaking fall on the middle part, I noticed I am not prepared for this super long steep wall. I continued to adapt and adjusting in the route. And finally it happened! ついに昨日、Stoking the fire を完登しました!昨年末のサンタリーニャツアーからこのルートはずっと僕の中で燃え続けていました。それから約3ヶ月間ずっと離れていたフィジカルトレーニングにも励み、このツアーを迎えました。その成果あり、最も難しいパートは2度越えるものの、その後のセクションで心折れるフォール。自分の肉体がこの巨大なケイブを登る準備が整っていないことに気づきました。しかしルートへの順応と細かな調整を繰り返し、ついに完登が訪れました! Thanks a lot for find out and all the developing @chris_sharma Thanks a lot for support @climbparkbasecamp @hide9a2019 @kayaowl @ciaoandreacossu Sponsors @petzl_official @adidasterrex @fiveten_official Photo by @jon_cardwell

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