Alex Megos Flashes The Path (5.14 R) On Gear, Talks Fightclub (5.15b)Despite little trad climbing experience, Alex Megos picked up the rack and took the sharp end for The Path—an R-rated 5.14 gear route at Lake Louise, Canada. He flashed it. Here's what he has to say about the ascent, and his first ascent of Fightclub (5.15b)—the first 5.15 in Canada, and the second 5.15b in all of North and South America.
Despite little trad climbing experience, Alex Megos picked up the rack and took the sharp end for The Path—an R-rated 5.14 gear route at Lake Louise, Canada. The 40-meter, runout climb is protected by small gear and the V10 crux comes above a “suspect” 000 cam.
“So my actual plan was just to try to climb it ground up,” Megos tells Rock and Ice. “But then I thought I might as well try to flash it.”
Canadian climber Sonnie Trotter first freed The Path nine years ago. “Placing the small but (hopefully) solid gear on a 40-meter pitch certainly adds something to the already challenging moves,” he wrote on Facebook, following Megos’ ascent. “I knew then that someday, someone would come along and climb it ground up, and I was stoked for that.
“With less than 10 overall ascents, I’m quite sure it has never been climbed ground up.”
Trotter, who has been Megos’ Canadian climbing host over the last two weeks, handed him the exact rack he would need and sprayed him down with beta, but not before a little trad refresher.
“At the base of the climb, we had to [re-]teach him how to place a cam,” climber and photographer Ken Etzel wrote on Instagram. “With Sonnie belaying and relaying beta, Alex embarked on the most inspiring piece of rock climbing I’ve ever seen.”
For 40 minutes, Megos “calmly ticked his way through” each crux section, often 20 to 30 feet above gear, “which hopefully were placed correctly,” Etzel wrote.
Megos, 23, flashed the route. Although, Trotter wrote, “not without a good fight and a decent pump.”
Two days before, Megos made the first ascent of Fightclub (5.15b) at Ravens Crag, near Banff—the first 5.15 in Canada, and the second 5.15b in all of North and South America. He redpointed the route on August 14 after only six days of effort.
“Alex is not just a sport climber or a boulderer, he’s a world class ROCK CLIMBER who will change the face of our sport,” Etzel wrote. “Hold on tight folks, the next decade is going to be a wild ride!!!”
Interview with Alex Megos
Is this your first time climbing in Canada?
Yes, this is my first time to Canada. I’m totally blown away by how beautiful it is over here! Great landscape and great climbing! Canmore is as well a super cool small town with amazing people! The fact that people don’t lock their houses here is nice. That’s how it should be everywhere.
What are some of your favorite routes and areas so far?
I would say my favorite route so far was for sure Fightclub, the FA I did. The line is super cool and the moves are even better! It was great fun climbing on it!
One of my favorite areas is Lake Louise though. The climbing in general is just breathtaking there! Superb rock quality and incredible lines!
Can you tell us more about Fightclub? Was that the longest amount of time you’ve ever spent projecting a climb before?
The longest I’ve ever spent on a climb was 11 days on Lucid Dreaming (V15). But Fightclub is together with another route the longest I’ve ever been trying a route.
Fightclub breaks down into two sections. The first one is a 10-meter long 5.14b with a three move boulder problem in the middle, then you get a decent hold (not a jug though) to shake a bit and then there comes the second section with about 25 moves of very consistent climbing on small pinches and crimps. It’s got multiple far moves in that section, which get exponentially harder the more tired you are. The upper third of the route is just super consistent on small holds.
What do you attribute to your ability to project so quickly and onsight/flash at such a high level?
I’m not sure why I can climb that hard that fast. I think its because if I found a route that I’m psyched on I really get obsessed with it and give it all my energy. Climbing that route becomes the highest priority then.
And you just flashed The Path (5.14 R)? What did you think? Were you trying to flash it, or did it just happen?
The Path is an incredible line up a 40-meter high wall with multiple smaller roofs in it. The first pitch is a 5.11a, after that the business starts. I didn’t decide to give it a flash go ‘till maybe half an hour before I started climbing.
Have you done much trad climbing before?
I haven’t done much trad before no. I went to Indian Creek for about a week in 2012 and I did a couple of trad routes in the Frankenjura back in 2011 but that was it.
Did the tiny gear and R-rating scare you or make you nervous at all?
For sure it made me nervous that they told me that the crux is protected by a 000 BD cam. That thing is tiny!! It’s a third of my index finger in diameter! So yes I definitely was a bit nervous but I tried to keep calm.
Favorite thing about Canada?
Favorite thing about Canada: the hiking (not) ;-). I would say the friendly people here!
BÄÄÄM!!! 2 days after doing the FA of “Fightclub” I managed to FLASH the @sonnietrotter classic trad route “The Path” 5.14R at Lake Louise! 40m of fiddling in tiny gear and with a bunch of bouldery sections! Going group up not having at all much experience with placing gear was an interesting and new experience for me! @redbulladventure @redbullgermany @patagonia_climb @tenayaclimbing @dmm_wales @sterlingrope @entreprisesclimbing @sterlingrope @aeetechnologyde Pic by @ken_etzel Thanks for the support @sonnietrotter @danielaebler
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