Jorge Diaz-Rullo Joins Tiny Cadre of Climbers Who’ve Sent 9b+

It’s a minimal coterie in the 9b+ club.

Since Adam Ondra teamed up with Chris Sharma to establish the grade a decade ago, only Stefano Ghisolfi, Seb Bouin, and a few others have cracked the membrane of the world’s second-hardest climbing difficulty.

Now you can add Jorge Diaz-Rullo to that list.

The Spaniard broke through with a first ascent that links up two existing mega-lines in Margalef, in his home country, on Feb. 8. Mejorando la Samfaina links the stoutest moves on Mejorando Imagen, 9b, then quests into a hodgepodge of other burly segments of Margalef’s signature conglomerate stone.

After exiting Imagen, “you continue climbing right, this means you now climb through Víctimas Pérez in reverse. This leads you to unite with the last hard part of Samfaina,” Diaz-Rullo wrote on Instagram. “Up to here you’ve already almost climbed 9b, yet for me the most complex part of the line has only just begun.”

A ‘pretty stressful’ climb

That’s because a minimally productive rest guards a 7C+/8A boulder problem, another sequence of nails-hard “endurance” moves, and one especially low-percentage bid for a small pocket. (Diaz-Rullo noted the pocket spat him off six times.)

“To finish, there’s a spicy slab that’s pretty difficult to enjoy or rest because it’s pretty stressful until you clip the chain,” he wrote.

It’s hard to imagine that adding so much hard, complex movement to a 9b climb doesn’t bump the grade — but it’s also worth noting that Mejorando la Samfaina is conjectural at 9b+ until confirmed by other climbers.

Gracefully, Diaz-Rullo admitted his dearth of experience at the 9b+ threshold and solicited opinions from other climbers to land on the number.

Diaz-Rullo claims the first route of the grade for any Spanish climber, according to Gripped. And it comes a year after he redpointed Mejorando Imagen.

“In the end, the grade is always the least important thing,” he concluded. “I would love for this amazing line to be repeated, if someone is to ever suggest a higher or lower grade, my story will still never change.”

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.