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Chris Sharma
Chris Sharma - 1.jpg
Sharma in 2008
Personal information
Born April 23, 1981 (1981-04-23) (age 40)
Santa Cruz, California
Occupation Professional rock climber
Height 6 ft 0 in
Weight 165 lb
Climbing career
Type of climber Lead climbing, Bouldering, Deep-water solo
Highest grade
  • Redpoint: 5.15c (9b+)
  • On-sight: 5.14b (8c)
  • Bouldering: V15 (8C)
Known for Second 9a+ (5.15a), first 9b (5.15b), second 9b+ (5.15c) ascent in lead climbing history.
Updated on January 31, 2019.
Chris Sharma Climbing in Yangshuo, China
Chris Sharma climbing in Yangshuo, China

Chris Omprakash Sharma (born April 23, 1981) is an American rock climber. In 2007, NPR wrote that Sharma was considered the world's best rock climber. He is known for being the world's first climber to redpoint a 9b (5.15b) route (Jumbo love, 2008) and the second to climb a 9a+ (5.15a) and a 9b+ (5.15c) route (respectively, Realization in 2001 and La Dura Dura in 2013). He is also known for climbing the world's first 9a+ (5.15a) and 9b (5.15b) deep-water solo routes (Es Pontàs in 2007 and Alasha in 2017). He bolted and first ascended many of the hardest lines of the Catalonia region in Spain. In 2015, he opened the gym Sharma Climbing BCN in Barcelona. In 2019, he plans to open Europe's largest climbing gym in Madrid, Spain.


Sharma was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, the son of Gita Jahn and Bob Sharma. Contrary to some reports, Chris Sharma is not of Indian origin. His parents were devotees of the yogi Baba Hari Dass, and adopted the surname Sharma when they got married. He started rock climbing when he was 12 at the Pacific Edge climbing gym. Sharma went to Mount Madonna school and attended Soquel High School for one year.

At age 14, Sharma won the Bouldering Nationals. A year later, he completed the first ascent of Necessary Evil 5.14c (8c+) in the Virgin River Gorge, the highest-rated climb in North America at the time.

Sharma then moved to Bishop, California, where he climbed The Mandala, a boulder problem graded V12.

In July 2001, Sharma completed the extension of the established route Biographie in Ceüse, located in the Hautes-Alpes Department of France and renamed it Realization, ignoring the French tradition that equippers and not climbers name routes. At the time of the first ascent, Biographie was widely considered to be the first consensus 5.15a (9a+) in the world. He has since established or completed many routes at or above 5.15 (9a+), including La Rambla and Es Pontas (a deep water soloing project in Mallorca). In 2008 Sharma climbed the 250-foot line (76 m), Jumbo Love, at Clark Mountain in California, claiming 5.15b (9b) for the grade.

The 2008 film follows Chris through various climbs throughout the world and offers his reflections of his past, climbing and life.

Sharma stated in 2013 that after Jumbo Love he felt something needed to change - that he had climbed routes set out by others, including 5.15b, and yet felt his limits had not been tested. He climbed a number of other 5.15b routes (Golpe de Estado, Neanderthal and Catxasa), each a project in itself, in order to understand what a route might feel like, which was beyond these, and began to search for climbs harder than these, which would "change him" and which had not yet been recognized. In 2007 he had moved to Lleida, a town close to the Spanish Pyrenees, in Catalonia, Spain. He found an answer in the nearby hard limestone cliffs of Oliana, where he developed several 5.14+ and 5.15 routes over the next five years.

By 2013, Sharma had spent considerable time attempting La Dura Dura - an Oliana climb he described as "horrifyingly" difficult and perhaps "not for me", and had built up a close connection with Adam Ondra, then about 20 years old and seen as the outstanding climber of the next generation. Sharma gave guidance to Ondra, and in turn felt motivated to work harder, by working on routes jointly with him. On March 23, 2013, just short of his 32nd birthday, Sharma completed the climb of La Dura Dura.

In 2013, Sharma opened his own gym Sender One Climbing, located in Santa Ana, California.

In August 2015 he married his fiancée, Jimena Alarcón, and after living for years in Oliana (Spain), he moved to Barcelona (Spain). Three months later, he opened a new gym there called Sharma Climbing BCN

Notable ascents

Boulder problems

V15 (8C):

  • Practice of the Wild - Magic Wood (CHE) - First Ascent, August 2004. Repeated by Tyler Landman, Daniel Woods, Adam Ondra and Dave MacLeod.
  • Witness the Fitness - Ozarks (USA) - First ascent, March 2005. A 40-foot roof (12 m) problem. Repeated by Fred Nicole and Daniel Woods.
  • Catalan Witness the Fitness - Cova de l’Ocell (Barcelona, ESP) - First ascent, January 2016. A tunnel-like, horizontal roof problem.

V12 (8A+) (possibly harder when climbed by Chris Sharma):

  • The Mandala - The Buttermilks (Bishop, USA) - First Ascent, February 2000. Several holds have broken since Chris climbed the Mandala, including the crux holds. These changes have made the problem considerably easier, and it has been widely speculated that when the problem was first climbed, the grade was closer to V14.

Redpointed routes

9b+ (5.15c):

  • La Dura Dura - Oliana (ESP) - Bolted the route. Made the first repeat in March 2013 (Oliana, Spain). First ascent by Adam Ondra, with whom Sharma was working the route.

9b/+  (5.15b/c):

  • El Bon Combat - Cova de l’Ocell (Barcelona, ESP) - First ascent, March 7, 2015. It was equipped by Martí Iglesias Galobart and described by Sharma as the King Line.

9b (5.15b):

  • Jumbo Love - Clark Mountain (Mojave National Preserve, USA) - First ascent, September 11, 2008. First featured in the film King Lines as an unfinished line at Clark Mountain, this route is 250 ft long (76 m), and thought to be at least 5.15b. Sharma has called it his hardest ascent to date. In climbing it, he skipped up to three clips in a row due to the difficult sequences, which resulted in falls of 70 ft (21 m) or more. Repeated by Ethan Pringle May 2015.
  • Golpe de Estado - Siurana (ESP) - First ascent, December 17, 2008. Golpe de Estado is a direct version of Estado Critico (5.14c/d), linking a 5.14d start into 5.14c climbing with a poor rest in between. Repeated by Adam Ondra, March 2010.
  • Neanderthal - Santa Linya (ESP) - First ascent, December 18, 2009.
  • First Round First Minute - Margalef (ESP) - First ascent, April 2011. Repeated by Adam Ondra, Alex Megos, and Stefano Ghisolfi.
  • Fight or Flight - Oliana (ESP) - First ascent, May 2011. Repeated by Adam Ondra February 2013.
  • Stoking the Fire - Santa Linya (ESP) - First ascent, February 2013. Repeated by Adam Ondra February 2016.

9a+ (5.15a):

  • Realization - Montagne de Céüse (FRA) - First ascent, July 2001. Heralded as the world's first 5.15a upon completion.
  • Papichulo - Oliana (ESP) - First ascent. 45m route starting with four-bolt 5.13d to no-hands rest followed by continuous difficult climbing on blue limestone.
  • Demencia Senil - Margalef (ESP) - First ascent, February 20, 2009. (Margalef, Spain). Repeated by Iker Pou Jan 2010, Ramon Julian Puigblanque Oct 2010.
  • Pachamama - Oliana (ESP) - First ascent.
  • First Ley - Margalef (ESP) - First ascent.
  • Power Inverter - Oliana (ESP) - First Ascent, December 2010.
  • Catxasa - Santa Linya (ESP) - First Ascent, January 2011.
  • La Rambla - Siurana (ESP) - Third Ascent, 2006.

9a (5.14d):

  • Dreamcatcher - Cacodemon boulder (Squamish, CAN) - First Ascent. A granite route starting on a technical slab that wedges the climber against the start of the overhang. Then a dyno to a sloping rail leads to a bouldery traverse across slopers and incut crimps. The crux of the route comes at the end with a deadpoint to slopers and a jug. Repeated by Sean McColl in 2009.
  • Era Vella - Margalef (ESP) - First Ascent, 2010. This is one of the most repeated 9a routes in the world.

8c+ (5.14c):

  • Necessary Evil - Virgin River Gorge (USA) - When Sharma climbed this route it was considered the hardest climb in North America, despite Sharma being only 15 years old.

Onsighted routes

8c (5.14b):

  • French Gangster - Yangshuo (CHN) - April 2009 - Onsight without chipped hold, possibly harder? Originally named American Gangster but renamed as a reference to Michael Fuselier, the French climber who allegedly chipped the hold. Hardest route in China at the time.
  • Humildes Pa' Casa - Oliana (ESP) - December 2008
  • Divine Fury - Maple Canyon (USA) - September 2008
  • T-Rex - Maple Canyon (USA) - September 2008.
Es pontas 2
Es Pontàs, a natural arch in the coast of Mallorca

Deep-water solo routes

9b (5.15b):

  • Alasha - Mallorca (ESP) - September 2016. First ascent. Sharma estimated its grade based on the effort it took to climb it without rope: "If it had bolts on it, it probably wouldn’t be a 9b (5.15b). But when you’re 60 feet up with no bolts, it takes the same amount of effort." Sharma named the route after his daughter, Alana Sharma.

9a+ (5.15a):

  • Es Pontàs - Mallorca (ESP) - September 26, 2007. First ascent, shown prominently in the movie King Lines. Repeated by Jernej Kruder in November 2016. The route features a 7 feet (2.1 m) dyno that took Sharma over 50 attempts to stick.


  • U.S. Bouldering Nationals
  • 1997 UIAA World Cup - Kranj
  • 1999 X Games - Bouldering - Gold Medal
  • 2000 Wasatch Open Bouldering Competition
  • 2001 18th Annual Phoenix Bouldering Contest
  • 2001 Munich Bouldering World Cup
  • 2002 Ford Gorge Games
  • 2003 Earth Treks Roc Comp
  • 2004 Earth Treks Roc Comp
  • 2004 ABS Nationals
  • 2007 Mammut Bouldering Championships
  • 2008 Mammut Bouldering Championships
  • 2009 Ilerbloc Open Internacional
  • 2010 Earth Treks Roc Comp
  • 2010 Psicobloc, Bilbao, Spain


  • Masters of Stone IV: Pure Force (1998)
  • Free Hueco (1998)
  • Rampage (1999)
  • Inertia (2000)
  • Dosage Vol. 1 (2001)
  • The Road (2003)
  • Pilgrimage (2003)
  • Dosage Vol. 2 (2004)
  • Best of the West (2005)
  • Dosage Vol. 3 (2005)
  • Big Game (2005)
  • Depth Charge (2006)
  • Dosage Vol. 4 (2006)
  • King Lines (2007)
  • Dosage Vol. 5 (2008)
  • Progression (2009)
  • The Players (2009)
  • The Scene (2011)
  • Into the Light (2013)
  • Point Break (2015)
  • Above The Sea (2017)
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