Now Dave Graham has got the third ascent of A Muerte 9a, first climbed by Richard Simpson earlier this year.
Graham said on his 8a.nu 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 a climber 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?)"