This early November rock climbing genius, Chris Sharma, sent one of his hardest Deep Water Solo Black Pearl (9a+) in Soller, Mallorca.
Aged 42, Sharma who is one of the founding fathers of modern sport climbing, is now one of the foremost developers of hard DWS lines. Up to this moment, he had established three FAs at 9a and above routes.
Chris has worked at this line since 2019 and has been on his bucket list ever since. Situated next to his 2017 project Big Fish (8c+), Sharma noticed Black Pearl in 2018 but it took him a while to start working on it. Along with his friend and mentor Miguel Riera, Sharma started projecting, but unfortunately, Riera passed away in 2020 and left Chris to finish this line, which he dedicated to Miguel’s memory.
Featuring different features from most Mallorcan DWS climbs, Black Pearl is riddled with slopey crimps across steep sections, and according to Chris, it could be broken into three different sections.
The first section is a 7c+/8a climb which leads to a rest, followed by a 15-move crux that ends with a dyno move to a solid pocket. This crux section was graded by Sharma as an 8c/+. The final part is an 8a/+ climb that leads to the top of the cliff. This line is particularly tricky as it has no chalking spots on the crux section, so you have to push for your life and, of course, to stay dry.
Starting in September, Chris dedicated his weekends to sending this route. Being based in Barcelona, it’s been quite accessible for him to make even day trips to Mallorca and give the route another shot.
When talking about the route, he described Black Pearl as one of the most beautiful routes he’s ever climbed and said that it’s “basically right up there with Es Pontas (9a+) and Alasha (9a).” As for what the future holds for him, Sharma mentioned in an interview for Climbing Magazine his 2021 project, Le Blond in Oliana, which he’s been working on for the last ten years. Maybe 2024 will be the year he’s going to send this possible 9c route.
Featured image: @chris_sharma/@honngy