by Mick Ryan A Muerte The Siurana party continues. Recently the Spanish climber Edu Marin repeated La Rambla, 9a+ and A Muerte 9a. Chris Sharma got the third ascent of La Rambla. Now Dave Graham has got the third ascent of A Muerte 9a, first climbed by Richard Simpson earlier this year. Graham said on his scorecard “ Nice climb! 9 tries. Climbed it with a really bad cold. Maybe its 8c+, but who knows, Bad ass Route!“ which immediately started a discussion on their message board about a possible downgrading of A Muerte which prompted Richard Simpson to say,“Throughout my time as aclimber I tended to avoid these ´holiday grades?, as us Brits put it- found in the likes of Magic Wood, Gorge Du Loup, Colorado etc etc- where it seems everyone can flash 8B boulders and climb 8B+ with relative ease. Instead, I tried to take a more innovative approach, by climbing in areas such as Peak district, Frankenjura, Buoux and Siurana, where only the very best can climb 8B boulders and 8c+/9a routes. It is through this experience that I believe that El Muerte is a ´proper´ 9A. El Muerte is, in my opinion the hardest route I have climbed, thus being harder than Action Directe, Hubble, Unplugged and also harder than many other 9a´s I have tried- Rainshadow, Northern Lights etc. Obviously grades are subjective- but I struggle to see how El Muerte could be considered as 8c+( even though I rather naively suggested that myself). If El Muerte is 8c+, then everything else in the world must go down by at least one or two grades (Kinematrix 8c, Action Directe 8c+ anyone?)“