This route is teaching me a lot about myself. Usually I have a really hard time sticking with things, but I’ve been pushing through this time, learning how to keep struggling and overcome problems. I’m pretty determined. I’m pretty committed right now. I’m full-on battle mode right now.
Chris Sharma on his fights with Realization
Dave Graham repeats Realization 9a+!
Yesterday, July 30, Dave Graham, after several weeks at Ceüse (France) spent together with Chris Sharma and Ethan Pringle, did the 4th ascent of Realization 9a+, one of two confirmed 9a+’s in the world (the second one is La Rambla Extension 9a+ in Siurana, Spain). Already in 2001 Graham worked the route together with Chris Sharma, giving the line about 10 attempts. Next year he was working the route again – once more with no success.
The route was bolted already in 1988 by Jean-Christophe Lafaille, later one of the most accomplished French alpinists. The project, which followed a deep-blue water streak for 120 feet up the middle of an otherwise blank, 30-degree-overhanging wall, was called “the future of rock climbing” by the French climbing press. The upper parts of the climb, offering hard bouldery sections, proved too futuristic for the 90’s and a sub-anchor was put in halfway up. Even to this point climb turned out to be very demanding and it was not until 1996 that the first redpoint ascent was made by French top climber, Arnaud Petit. Completing 30-meter line took him 25 days. Biographie was graded 8c+. Year later 16-year-old Chris Sharma made the second ascent of the route after just three days and seven tries. But he didn’t consider it complete. His goal was to climb the natural line, as it was originally bolted: from the ground to the obvious finish at a big ledge near the top of the wall. “It’s cool to go halfway up, but I always thought the route had to go to the top of the blue streak. It’s such an obvious, natural line”. In 1997 he spent almost entire month trying the extension, only to flame out. In 1998 he said:
That’s the only thing I really want to do on a rope right now. It’s an amazing wall. It’s totally natural. Really interesting moves. Sweeping overhang. Blue limestone. The holds go up this blue streak, all pockets. On the sides of it there are two peach-colored streaks, a really cool contrast of colors. You’ll be looking down and all you can see are a few dots of chalk. The route looks completely blank when you’re on it.
He came back in 2000 but also this time left his business unfinished. During his two first visits he redpointed the first part, Biographie 8c+, about 20 times. Witnesses said that he had 8c+ line so dialed that he was doing it like a stroll. Yet, time and again he fell at the crux of upper part – lunge to a split-fingered pocket. He was finally successful on 18 July of 2001, establishing perhaps the hardest sport climb in the world. In 2004 Realization was repeated for the first time by Frenchmen Sylvain Millet after three years of work. The same year it was also done by Spaniard Patxi Usobiaga.