Jorge Diaz-Rullo repeats Sleeping Lion

© Marco Zanone

Jorge Diaz-Rullo has made the third ascent of Chris Sharma's 2023 route Sleeping Lion (9b+), in Siurana - Valley, Spain. 

Sleeping Lion was first climbed by Sharma just under a year ago, shortly before his 42nd birthday. The route consists of five distinct sections ranging from f7B/+ to f8A+, with moves that are 'stylistically various, involving techy heel hooks, punchy dynos on steep terrain, and tenuous face climbing on small edges'.

When attempting the route, Sharma fell sixteen times from its final crux, the fifty-fourth move.

Alex Megos made the first repeat of the route in early January, coming close on his sixth day on the route, before going on to make the ascent on his eighth day. Shortly after sharing news of his repeat, Megos suggested that the route, in his own opinion, should be graded 9b, but said that he was 'very happy to hear what other repeaters will say in the future'. 

Diaz-Rullo first tried the route alongside Megos at the beginning of the year, reaching the 'last endurance sequence' on his very first day on the route. On his second day on the route, he struggled with the boulder problem lower down, which he identified as the crux of the route for him, but was able to link the route from the boulder problem to the top, meaning that he had climbed the route in two parts.

By his tenth day on the route, Diaz-Rullo was consistently passing the lower crux boulder, but found himself without the endurance required to finish the route, having been unable to recover properly in the rest positions.

Moreover, repairs to a hold that broke during Megos' time on the route made the route even harder, turning a hold 'where you could clip and chalk' into a 'tough move', thus making the route 'a little more complicated', in Diaz-Rullo's words.

Diaz-Rullo returned to the route in mid-February, making even greater progress and falling on the last hard move three times, before coming back again more recently and making the third ascent. 

'I was finally able to make the third ascent of this amazing route after Chris Sharma and Alex Megos', Diaz-Rullo shared on Instagram, 'one of the routes of my infinite list of projects!'

'Between some things and others, this route has taken me more attempts than I originally thought. It has been very difficult to find the day without being too tired, with good skin, and with good conditions here in Siurana'.

'Sleeping Lion has helped me to get in shape and continue very motivated with my next projects, but also, it has served me as a learning experience because at the same time I was working on it I have not been going through my best stage on a personal level. In the end, I did it!'

'I am always grateful to all my friends who support me and make this process always easier'.

Diaz-Rullo is yet to speak on the grade of the route, but even if he were to agree with Megos' downgrate, Sleeping Lion would remain Sharma's hardest ascent since El bon combat (9b), in 2015.

Diaz-Rullo's 'next projects' will undoubtedly include his long term Finestra project, Café Colombia. In and amongst his time on Sleeping Lion, Diaz-Rullo spent his one-hundred and twenty-fifth day on Café Colombia, a route that he has described as his 'hardest, most demanding, and most intimidating project'.

You can read our interview with Diaz-Rullo about his 2023 Finestra ticklist, his ascent of the 9b+ Mejorando la Samfaina (9b+), and the physical and psychological challenges of Café Colombia, below.

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