The 39-year-old Sergey Tchaferov manages his hardest project with „Gioconda’ Smile „9a+ / b near Bakhchysaraj in the Crimea. The difficulty of the route is a suggestion by Sergej, as he has „only“ climbed 9a routes so far. Nonetheless, it is definitely the hardest route in the Crimea, the most traditional sport climbing area on the territory of the former Soviet Union. „Before „Gioconda smile“ I did not believe that I could climb harder than 9a.

After ascent I believe in the possibility. It is important to be able to use the right time and good conditions. It’s important to believe that you can do a little more. Also, the route takes a lot of time and always it’s not enough. I bolted Gioconda smile last autumn. The line runs along the arch of a large grotto. It has a common begin (five clips including the crux) of the Tiramisu 8c+. Further, the route continues to the left with long, dynamic moves and after another five clips, it has the variant to the right to the top, Gioconda light 9a. If you continue to move to the left along the arch, passing two hard sections, separated by good rests, then it is a hard exit continuing the delicate vertical wall.“

Photo: (c) Anna Piunova