Kruder Sends Sharma’s Mallorca Deep Water Solo Test Piece Days After Schubert

Climbing
kruder mallorca deep water solo
Jernej Kruder on 'Alasha,' Mallorca, Spain. Photo: vladek zumr

This morning, Jernej Kruder confirmed via Instagram that he had sent Chris Sharma’s 2016 deep water solo route Alasha. The send on the coast of Mallorca, Spain, comes just four days after Jakob Schubert claimed the stout climb’s first repeat.

mallorca deep water solo - Alasha

Schubert on the first repeat. Photo: Sebastian Marko

Sharma was the world’s best rock climber for years but never a grade chaser. Thus, he never graded many of his hard first ascents. Alasha, named after his daughter, belongs in that category. In 2016, he did go so far as to suggest that the route’s crux boulder problem (on the upper headwall) was around 8b.

Chris Sharma on Mallorca deep water solo Alasha

Sharma during the first ascent in 2016. Photo: Adrian Garcia

Determining the difficulty for DWS routes is not straightforward. Sure, it’s possible to evaluate how hard a particular move or section is. But there isn’t an analog for the grading, as the climber does not have a rope. And the route isn’t as short or distilled as boulder problems. Thus, factors like fall consequences and terrain scouting take on a much different complexion.

Acknowledging these difficulties, Schubert tackled the job of grading the Mallorca deep water solo Alasha after making the second ascent earlier this week. He settled on 9a and explained his rationale in an interview on his website.

“Most of all I think sport climbing grades aren’t ideal for deep water solo climbing, especially the difficult and high ones where more factors come into play than just the ability to send hard,” Schubert said. “Even if you check out some sequences on a rope, the whole endeavor is still so different from a sport climbing process, where you have all options to practice or rehearse moves or sequences countless times without the consequence of big falls into the sea. What I can say is that during my send of Alasha I physically felt like climbing in the 8c+ range. Taking also the commitment and fear factor into account, calling it 9a feels about right to me.”

As I write this, Kruder had topped out the Mallorca deep water solo less than an hour ago. ExplorersWeb has reached out to him for comment. He seems, understandably, a little amped. Turn the sound on when you watch his send announcement story post, and you’ll see what I mean.

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About the Author

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents' evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.

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