DISCIPLINE: Sport Climbing
HEIGHT: 35 meters
FIRST ASCENT: Alex Megos
Perfecto Mundo is one of the hardest, and perhaps the most iconic, sport routes in the world. Originally bolted by Chris Sharma in 2008, the route went without an ascent for over a decade until Alexander Megos clipped the chains in May 2018.
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The Perfecto Mundo Bio
Found in the Raco De La Finestra crag in Margalef, the route is a labyrinth of sharp pockets and endurance-style climbing, first bolted by Chris Sharma in 2008. Despite numerous attempts over the last decade, and coming close on several of those occasions, Sharma has been unable to clip the chains of his long-term project. Sharma has previously stated that Perfecto Mundo is what the “future of rock climbing looks like” and is “one of the hardest climbs he has ever tried.”
Perfecto Mundo, meaning Perfect World in Spanish, is a 30-35 meter route, featuring a pumpy 45-degree overhang on the main section, leading to a slabby headwall finish. Despite most of the difficult climbing being in the 25 meters, this single-pitch, 15-bolt sport route guarantees endurance-zapping climbing from the very first move.
The climb shares the starting 15 meters with an adjacent line Gancho Perfecto (9a/9a+) made up of approximately 25 moves of 8c+, leading into a poor rest spot. From there, it’s over 10 more moves before reaching the crux, a dynamic move from a right-hand mono pocket to a wide pinch. After the crux, it’s a pumpy 8b+ climb, with a few more awful rest positions, then a 3-move bouldering problem before pulling onto the final slab section made up of easy-going 5.11 climbing.
First Ascent – Alexander Megos
The first ascent of Perfecto Mundo was cracked by Alexander Megos in May 2018, making it Megos’ first 9b+, as well as the first route of this grade which didn’t have the first ascent made by Adam Ondra. The German put 15 climbing days into the route before clipping the chains, one of the longest projects in Mego’s climbing career to date.
Although Megos was just coming back from a finger injury, and had spent the weeks prior climbing in Red River Gorge, and had some pretty good success. He had even bagged an ascent of Necessary Evil on his second attempt of the route. However, after a disappointing 33rd place finish in the Meiringen bouldering World Cup, Megos made his way to Maragelf with his sights on an ascent of Perfecto Mundo.
Here, he met up with Stefano Ghisolfi and the duo set to work dialing in their beta on a strict two days on, one day off, schedule. Sharma even heard they were working on his long-term project and drove down on a few occasions to exchange burns with the duo.
Early on, Megos was beginning to show promising signs of progress. After a week on the wall, Megos had already stuck the crux move four or five times, although was unable to move on from there.
On the day of his send, Megos was coming in fresh after a rest day, although had a poor night’s sleep. As Megos told Climbing Magazine, he had trouble sleeping whilst projecting Perfect Mundo. Not only did he constantly dream about the route, but he would also often struggle to fall asleep, unable to get the line out of his mind.
Nevertheless, he knew it was time to send; he had the beta dialed in, his fingers were the least taped up they had been in weeks, and his muscles were well-rested. After a quick warm-up on the fingerboard, he finally stuck the crux sequence from the ground for the first time and knew that was his chance. Megos said it was “an absolute battle” to complete the rest of the climb, and even spent 10 minutes inching up the final slab, the easiest section on the route, shaking out and trying to calm himself down.
When Megos eventually made it to the chains, his taped fingers were stained with blood, but in doing so, had become the second person in history to make a FA of a 9b+ route.
Second Ascent – Stefano Ghisolfi
Perfecto Mundo had been on Stefano’s radar since December 2017. He mentioned that it felt impossible during his first few burns on the route. Despite continuing to work the beta into January of the next year, the poor weather didn’t provide Ghisolfi with the conditions he needed to make any real progress.
Stefano worked the route with Megos again in April/May of that year and even belayed him during his first ascent. Just a few days after Megos FA, things were looking promising for Stefanio, he even reached Sharma’s high point, but his time was up and he would have to leave Margalef once again without an ascent.
Over the next year, Stefano would go to extreme lengths in pursuit of an ascent of Perfecto Mundo. He reconstructed the mono pocket crux in his garage, and would repeatedly practice the sequence, as well as spending countless hours on a hangboard training, specifically focusing on hanging from one finger.
In total he spent 32 climbing days, spread over 6 trips and almost 90 attempts on the route before he would eventually claim an ascent. On the 7th December 2018, he stuck the crux move perfectly, and as Stefano put it, “went to the top with a perfect flow”.
Third Ascent – Jakob Schubert
After securing the spot for the Olympic games, Jakob skipped the remaining World Cup events to attempt the third repeat of Perfecto Mundo, a line he had his eye on since the beginning of the year.
Schubert, joined by his close friend Alfons Dornauer, as well as fellow competition climber Domen Škofic, spent three weeks in Margalef, with 19 total climbing days on the route.
For the first week, the team spent their time cleaning the route, working beta, and dialing in the tricky crux sequence. From there, Schubert started working the route from the ground up. After only 10 days on the wall, Schubert started to show promise, managing to get through the crux sequence for the first time, although quickly became too pumped to complete the climb.
He came tantalizingly close on the 9th of November, but slipped off the boulder problem on the lip of the final slab section.
On his second last day of the trip, on the 11th November, Schubert topped out the route and bagged the third ascent of Perfecto Mundo, and became the fourth climber to achieve the grade of 9b+.
Perfecto Mundo has proved a test piece for the world-class climbing elite, denying legendary athletes like Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra.
Despite attempting the route on countless occasions over 10 years, Sharma has never been able to link the climb from the ground. He came close on several occasions, reaching his highest point to date on the same day he sent First Round First Minute in March 2011. He also got close to a send in 2013, although it was around this time that Ondra started to show interest in Sharma’s other long-term 9b+ project La Dura Dura, that Chris shifted his focus.
Perfect Mundo also stopped Adam Ondra in his tracks in October 2020. Adam himself admits that the pocket-pulling nature of Margalef routes is not his forte and he had been avoiding the route since Mego’s first ascent two years prior, being somewhat intimidated by it.
Nevertheless, Ondra committed to a 44-day trip to Margalef in the hopes of bagging the fourth ascent of the route. It quickly became clear that the route had become just as much a mental challenge as it was a physical one for the Czech climber and the poor weather conditions hampered any chances of success on the route.
|Date of Ascent||Climber||Suggested Grade||Notes|
|2018-05-09||Alex Megos||9b+||Megos' first 9b+ ascent. Instagram post|
|2018-12-07||Stefano Ghisolfi||9b+||32 total climbing days. Video|
|2019-11-11||Jakob Schubert||9b+||19 total climbing days. Video|