At 40 years old, the inimitable strongboi from Santa Cruz sent ‘V for Vendetta,’ 5.14b/8c, with no prior knowledge of the route. It’s his sixth onsight at the grade.
Where to begin with the living legend that is Chris Omprakash Sharma? (Actually, this piece by GearJunkie reporter Sam Anderson is a great place to start.) Sharma is one of those rare pro athletes who, apart from the smile lines and accumulated sun exposure, shows virtually no signs of wear.
That’s saying a lot for someone who’s pushed the absolute limits of his sport for almost 30 years.
“V for Vendetta,” 5.14b/8c, resides in Siurana, Spain, near the La Olla sector, where Sharma’s current project lives. He arrived at the crag Friday, April 1, intending to work on the (harder) project, but frigid temps and wind exposure forced him to the other side of the wall.
He tied in at the base of “V for Vendetta.” The rest is send-y history.
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No Stranger to the 5.14b Onsight
Sharma announced his April 1 send a few days later via Instagram, in his typical no-big-deal fashion. “It’s been a long time (maybe 13 years) since I’ve onsighted something of that level. Grateful for these unexpected magical days,” Sharma wrote.
But according to climbing outlet Desnivel, Sharma’s last 5.14b onsight happened more recently, aboard Spain’s “Snuff Movies” in 2015.
That said, he ran a one-person onsight train on the grade 13 years ago, so it makes sense that he’d recall the time period.
Between September 2008 and April 2009, the younger Sharma walked up to four 5.14b routes that he’d never seen before and sent each one immediately. He hasn’t onsighted anything harder than that (yet).
It’s not uncommon for elite climbers to get into a groove and send a bunch of hard routes in a short period. But to be almost 41 and match an all-time PR set in your late 20s is much more than uncommon — it breaks the mold, even by modern pro standards.
Honestly, it’s hard to expect anything less from the guy who redpointed 5.15 (accepted) and 5.15b (confirmed) before anyone else, boulders V15, and established the world’s first 5.15 deep-water solos.
To borrow from a younger Sharma’s parlance, last Friday’s send further gasses up a career that was already “pretty diesel.”