Chris Sharma started climbing at the age of 12 in a climbing gym. He was a fast study: At the age of 14, he won a national bouldering competition and, just one year later, he climbed a 5.14c route, the highest-rated rock climb in North America at the time. While he still continues to compete, his focus is to find routes around the world that no one else has climbed and work on them until he can “send” each route.
Sharma was featured in the film King Lines, which won the Charlie Fowler Award in 2008 at Mountainfilm. In the film, he tries to complete one challenging line after another, including a memorable free deep-water solo of Es Pontas off the island of Majorca. As Sharma says, “It’s all about finding a line that motivates me. I’m not the type who can train, be doing something now so that in three months I’ll be strong enough to try a route. I just go try a line a million times. The training occurs on the route.”
Sharma says there are an infinite number of king lines: “A king line symbolizes one thing for me. For others, it might be different. It’s something that is very motivating, very inspiring. For me, I have the opportunity to explore the world on a global level and find the lines that inspire. Other people maybe don’t have the opportunity to travel, but they find the line at their local crag. It’s a line that calls out to them.”
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