STOP PRESS

by Richard Simpson A Muerte 9a The climb is situated in Siurana´s awesome Campi qui Pugui Sector. It was a long-standing project of Dani Andrada´s, but has also been attempted by several other world-class climbers. I have kept the project name, A Muerte, which means ´To The Death´. I will stick my neck out and say 9A. I feel I have climbed enough consolidated hard routes around the world to confidently suggest this grade. The climb is natural – no sika, glue or manufactured holds – which is rare in hard routes nowadays. The line consists of a variety of holds, mainly pocket climbing, especially in its crux. However, after the crux, is a technical, balancy headwall, using some very poor holds and non-existent footholds – almost like a slate route. It requires a very steady head, to control your nerves and not to slip off. It took 5 days this trip and 2 before. It took me a while to solve the crux move, until the wise Keith Sharples shouted up some foot beta which turned out to work well, even though he had never even tried the route – thanks Keith! In terms of difficulty, it is comparable to Action Directe (9a, Frankenjura), it is also a similar style, more power resistance based than Action. I feel very strong especially, considering I had a 3 month rest period from November to the end of January this year. My motivation is a little different however. I am not to keen to train at the moment, and just want to climb outside as much as possible. I have my eye on clearing up a lot of the unclimbed projects in Britain for the remainder of this year. For me that?s where my motivation lies. Climbing first ascents in all styles of climbing, not just sport. I am also considering some big wall action, possibly Yosemite. That motivates me a lot. Alex Messenger has photos of Rich´s ascent at the Wild Country website