Alex Megos makes mincemeat of the UK

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 14/06/2016
Alex Megos finally sends Hubble after leaving it unfinished two years ago. Photo: Frank Kretschmann
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Alex 'I always want to climb harder' Megos has been on a two-week send-trip in the UK with a particular mission: two years ago he left Hubble, contender for the world's first 9a, as unfinished business. The line had never been repeated by any non-Brits ... until now. Sarah Stirling catches up with the 23-year-old legend to find out how his trip went.

Fast facts about Alex Megos:

  1. The 23-year-old German lives in Erlangen in the Frankenjura, the land of powerful moves on tiny sharp crimps, where he grew up.
  2. He started climbing with his dad age six.
  3. He has a lucky yellow chalk bag and a range of yellow t-shirts because it's his favourite colour.
  4. He was the first climber to onsight a 9a: Estado Critico at Siurana in Spain (2013).
  5. He has climbed more than 40 routes graded from 9a to 9b; more than ten of these were first ascents.
  6. He ticked off Action Directe 9a (the German contender for world's first 9a, climbed in 1991) in two hours. He's the only person to have climbed both this route and Hubble.
  7. He branched out onto big walls and made the first free ascent of Fly, a twenty-pitch F8c in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland in 2014.
  8. Alex and Adam Ondra are the only people to have repeated Chris Sharma's legendary 9b, First Round, First Minute at Margalef.
  9. What does he like to do when not climbing? Read about climbing while travelling to new places to climb, including autobiographies about British legends like Jerry Moffat and Ben Moon.
  10. What's his top tip? "Something I have learned in my climbing years is that time management is really important, but the most important thing is fun."

WATCH: Sean McColl meets Ben Moon to attempt Hubble on BMC TV

What's he ever done in the UK?

In 2013 Alex made the first of ascent of a boulder problem he named Das Pumpenhausen Testpiece 8B at Porth Ysgo. In 2014 he returned, came second at the Climbing Works International Festival competition, and found time to tick off classics like Mecca 8b+ at Raven Tor, and Bat Route 8c and Unjustified 8b+/c at Malham.
 
But Hubble 9a remained unfinished business, so of course he had to come back sometime...

How's he getting on in the UK this time? We tracked him down to find out:

AM: "I've been in the UK for two weeks. I like it here! I've been here a couple of times and wanted to come back to climb on the limestone and do a few classics. 

I think the climbing is really good in the UK. There are for sure some routes which are world class. Good movement and super fun to climb. And I really like the whole climbing scene here. There are cool and motivated people. The weather was super good the first week. The second week was a bit warm and humid and rainy towards the end. 

I had a few routes in mind I wanted to try. One of them was of course Hubble. I just wanted to climb Hubble because of its history and because I left it as unfinished business two and a half years ago.

I've mostly been climbing with Sam and Lu Whittaker and my girlfriend. But as well one day with Ben Moon. And I did a couple of training sessions with Ned Feehally and Dave Mason.

Other things I wanted to try were: Northern Lights, Rainshadow, Evolution and Mutation. I at least managed to try half of the routes I wanted to!"

WATCH: Steve McClure smash Hubble on BMC TV

Alex's ticklist from the trip so far:

Raven Tor, Derbyshire

  • Hubble 9a (FA Ben Moon) - he made the first foreign ascent this trip.
  • Kaabah 8c+ (FA Steve McClure) - he took four goes on this one.
  • Evolution 8c+ (FA Jerry Moffat) - he climbed it third try.

Kilnsey, North Yorkshire

  • Northern Lights 9a (FA Steve McClure) - he got the beta from Ben Moon and fell 12 times from the crux before completing it - the only other person to have climbed it besides Steve is Ondra in 2010.
  • Progress 8c+ (FA Jerry Moffat) - Alex climbed it second go.
  • True North, 8c (FA Tony Mitchell) - Climbed it second go.

Parisella's Cave, North Wales

Next Alex moved onto the North Wales trad festival, where rain didn't stop play: he swiftly ticked off six 8A to 8B boulder problems, then came up with the idea of linking Louis Armstrong 8B into Halfway House 8A/+, making it Louis Cut, which he said is probably a soft 8B+ boulder problem, although since it's got about 20 moves on it, it's more like an 8c+ route.

  • Pool of Bethesda 8A+
  • Malc's Start 8B
  • Halfway House 8A/+ 
  • Directors Cut 8B
  • East Coker 8B
  • Louis Armstrong 8B
  • Louis Cut 8B+

WATCH: Mina Leslie-Wujastyk crush Mecca Extension on BMC TV

Pictures and posts from Alex's UK trip so far:

What's Alex's secret?

A new video series plans to discover his 'formula'. You can find out more about Alex and watch some of his most impressive climbs in The Alex Megos Formula, released on RedBull.com over the coming weeks. Episode 1 is below: 

 


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