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Chris Sharma on Climbing, Career and What’s Next

Chris Sharma is one of the best climbers to come from North America in the past few decades.

His climbs and adventures have pushed the limits of bouldering and sport climbing and he’s only 36.

In a recent interview with Outside, he reflected on his most incredible climbs and his career.

When asked about making his passion his job, Sharma said, “My career began really suddenly: I won nationals at 14 and climbed the hardest route in America at 15. People started treating me differently, just because I had strong fingers or whatever.

“I started questioning whether being a professional climber had any value. Eventually, everyone is forced to review their life choices. Stepping back to think is a great way to find that sober dose of reality.”

Sharma’s hardest send to date is La Dura Dura in Spain. He made the first repeat in March 2013 after Adam Ondra’s first ascent.

He’s known for being the world’s first climber to redpoint a 5.15b with his send of Jumbo love in California in 2008 and the second to climb 5.15a and 5.15c.

He’s also known for climbing the world’s first 5.15a with Es Pontas and 5.15b Alasha deep-water solo routes (Es Pontàs in 2007 and Alasha in 2017.

Despite not have the most followers on social media in the world of climbing, his name is still the most recognizable around the world when it comes to the sport.

When it comes to what’s next, Sharma said, ““I’m constantly working on projects in Catalonia. In fact, I’m going climbing this afternoon. The project might be 5.15d or so. Also, I have deep-water solo projects in Mallorca and other places.

“I just want to ride this wave as far as I can and share it with other people. Exploring these places keeps me inspired. I still want to climb. It’s what makes me happy.”

Sharma has been a professional climber for over 20 years. Like many pros, he knows when it’s time to turn on the charm and when to focus on improving.

“For professional climbers, this career is like a balancing act: How do you stay passionate and keep your climbing pure but also make enough money to live on?” he said.

“My solution was to compartmentalize. When I’m at a trade show, it’s for work. When I’m out climbing, it’s for fun. Don’t go into your career trying to become someone, and don’t allow it to make you into someone.”

He opened the gym Sharma Climbing BCN in Barcelona a few years ago to great success. Read the full article here.