Rock climbing veteran Cedric Lachat had a great year, and this late November was absolutely the icing on the cake. The 39-year-old Swiss climber managed to clip the chain on the legendary Chilam Balam (9a+/b) on November 27.
Cedric has been in the world of hard climbs for quite a while, and this last route came with a wonderful bonus because it’s the fiftieth 9-grade climb of his career. Even better, in his Instagram post Lachat expressed his gratitude for achieving this before reaching the milestone of turning 40 years old.
Located in Villanueva del Rosario in Andalusia, Spain, Chilam Balam is an 80-meter overhanging pump fest featuring a massive overhang that takes almost two-thirds of the route and pinchy holds over the course of over 200 moves.
Established by Barnabé Fernandez in 2003, the route has been subject to controversy as Fernandez appreciated the line as being an unprecedented 9b+ grade. The controversy deepened as Fernandez didn’t want to talk with the press about the route or name his belayer.
Eight years later, Adam Ondra managed to second the climb in 2011, after only three days of projecting. He described the route as a soft 9b. After Ondra’s ascent, many other climbers have repeated the route. These include Dani Andrada and Edu Marin in 2015, Seb Bouin in 2017, Sindre Saether in 2019, Jon Flor in 2021 and Yu Okumara in 2023. Many of these climbers appreciated it as a 9a+/b after discovering some kneebars that made the climb a tad more accessible.
It took Cedric almost a month to finish this project, taking it very gradually until he stuck the last move. Before reaching the Chilam Balam megaline, Lachat took the easier and shorter line Chilam Serra (9a), then he advanced to climbing the second 9a route, which is a bit longer, Maldita Envidia. He finished his projecting and training with the crown jewel, Chilam Balam.
He explained that it took him around three attempts for everything to fall into place, and the big challenge was mastering the last boulder section (7C) that features tiny ledges.
Before heading to Andalusia, Cedric repeated At Home Cornus (9a+) and Fantasia (9b) In Vercors, France, hoping that he would get into shape considering this summer was more about caving and canyoning for him.
Featured image: @cedriclachat