Alex Megos: fun first. Then ok, 9a on sight

Alex Megos is spending this year just climbing and having fun.

He was a student and, the next year, he will come back to study.

According to Adam Ondra, the most experienced 9as climber, Estado Critico, the route he climbed on sight is more than 8c+.

We read here Alex didn’t plan to on sight the route:

Actually I wanted to try La Rambla (9a+), but I didn’t know where the line goes and I couldn’t ask anybody. So I decided to have a look at this 9a. At the start it didn’t feel that good, because there is an awful crack at the beginning and I was close to falling right at the start. But I managed to pass the crack and found a good rest “.

At the same time, his 9a on sight didn’t come from a case: in this interview, we read he always practised on sight and flash climbing, training his skills to read fast the rock (even in a recent trip in USA, where he climbed over 100 routes and boulders 8a or harder.).

He agreed to answer the following questions about his recent climbing experience and how he approaches our “sport”.

Hi Alex,

first of all congratulations for the goal you achieved.

In climbing, is it important the result in itself ?

For me, of course the result is important, but not the most important thing.

The fun is the most important thing, because if you don't have fun it is not worth having a good result, because you can't enjoy it.

Ok, let’s start from this “important”, so we can then go to “the most important ” :-)

Did you get pumped to climb your first 9a on sight ?

Or maybe you had some more margin too ?

I was really pumped, I don't think there was much more margin. Some of the moves where really at my limit and I was close on falling a few times.

What kind of emotions did you fell when you clipped the anchor ?

When I clipped the top I was just happy at the beginning.

I was happy that I onsighted the route, and that I didn't do any mistakes during the climb. And I was also happy and satisfied because I climbed so close to my limit.

You wrote to your sponsor DMM: “ In that moment I didn’t think about having done something really outstanding. But after the send somebody asked me if this was the first 9a onsight and I said I don’t know and started to think about it.” How do you feel now ?


Well, it is hard to say how you feel. Of course I feel good, because I managed to onsight a hard route, but to be honest I don't feel that much different. I am still just climbing because it is a lot of fun.

Was Estado critico the first 9a you tried on sight ?

Yes, Estado Critico was the first 9a I tryed onsight.

Wow … impressive !

How many 8c+ and 8c did you try on sight or flash in the past ?

In the USA I tried nearly every 8c and 8c+ flash, some of them also onsight, but in total not more than 15.

What is usually your redpoint level after three tries ?

That is really hard to say. It depends very much on the area. For example in Frankenjura I would say it is much harder to climb a 8c in three tries than in other endurence-areas.

When it is my style of climbing I can definitely climb 8c+/9a in three tries. When it is not my style it also can take me three tries to do 8b+.




Ok, now we can speak about “the most important thing”:

why do you take fun from climbing ?

Why do you think climbing is simply "the best sport on earth ?

In some way the climbers mentality is unique and that’s why they stick together.

This is also the reason why I have so much fun climbing and why I think climbing is the best sport on earth.

Do you think climbing should be just fun and not too much competition ?

Fun gives you the motivation and the joy of climbing.

Competitions are also nice, but they are a completely different part of the climbing.

In my opinion everybody shoud decide for himself what part of climbing he likes more, but I don't like a competition in rock climbing.

You can't compare different routes outside.

You said: “ When you feel like chilling or doing something totally different, just do it. Sooner or later you will find your way back to climbing because it’s simply the best sport on earth.” May you tell more about it ?

With "chilling and doing something totally different" I mean:

if you don't feel like climbing, but you feel like just hanging around, then just hang around.

It is worth climbing just when you can enjoy it.

So do what ever you feel, like and have fun while doing it.

That’s how I think things should happen.

Do you feel climbing is different from other sports ? Why ?

Yes, I feel that climbing is different from other sports. I can't tell exactly why, but somehow climbing is unique.

It is more relaxed than other sports, and the whole "climbing"  experience includes so many different aspects, which make the sport something special.

Are you going to start "working" some 9b ?

I don't have any plans about what I want to try. I am always very spontaneous and I just wait for the next day to come.

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Comment by 9b on March 28, 2013 at 10:11pm

" el ha hecho una de las vías más duras del planeta a vista , "Estado crítico " impresionante , eso si en cuanto se dice que rompió una presa , quiero aclarar que es cierto una intermedia , pero el paso más duro de la vía , ya no existe por que todo el mundo pasa casi dos metros por encima, de la manera original la hicieron, Ramón , Edu, Nico,Chris y yo , por supuesto que Alex a vista alla pasado por un método o otro es brutal por que es a vista, en cuanto al grado seguro para mi creo que es más 8c+/9a o pequeño 9a así que estamos hablando de un paso más en la escalada a vista... EnhorabuenaDani Andrada

Comment by 9b on March 30, 2013 at 3:30pm

" ...  clipped the chains of what is probably (in terms of grade certainly) the hardest onsight ever! ... In terms of grade, no matter what it is, it seemed hard to me.

When I did it back in 2007 in a couple of tries, it seemed a soft 8c+ to me. But shortly after Chris Sharma made the first ascent of Golpe de Estado, which shares the second half of the route, the hold broke in bouldery sequence just above where the two routes join up.

I have never climbed Estado Critico after this hold break, but it seemed to me as it could have made it a notch harder, sufficient to break the 9a barrier. "

Adam Ondra

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