After making short work of The Wheel of Life (WOL; which he thought was 9a/35) a few weeks ago – and with foul Victorian winter conditions restricting the amount of dry rock on offer – Alex Megos set about establishing a few new link-ups in Hollow Mountain Cave. And in so doing could have put up both the hardest route and the hardest boulder problem in the country.
Wheelchair (9a+/36) starts as for the WOL, but halfway through Sleepy Hollow traverses into Stimulation and climbs the whole of Stimulation (with the exception of the first move) till its end, which is also the finish of Silverchair – hence Wheelchair.
Of the grade Alex writes, “It’s hard to give it a grade. I think it’s not possible to give it a boulder grade, although it’s more a boulder then the Wheel of Life because it has no rest. Everyone calls the Wheel 9a and I think Wheelchair is harder then the Wheel, I would call it 9a+. But it would be nice to see someone repeating it to give his opinion on the grade.”
The second link-up begins as for Stuck South of the Border (V12) and climbs the rest of the WOL. Stuck South of the Border starts at the starting hold of Stimulation and climbs into Sleepy Hollow. Alex says, “I basically did an extension to Stuck South of the Border as I climbed after the end of Sleepy Hollow the rest of the Wheel. This link is probably as hard as the Wheel (9a). I called it Stimulating Cartwheel.”
Alex also established a new V13 by cleaning up a project at Caves Club. Starting on the right side of the cave, Alex describes it as “a sit start with a pocket for the right hand and the arête for the left hand. Then you do a big move up with the left hand, place your right heel at the right starting hold and do another big move out right to gain a shoulder grimp. Then just follow the obvious line (kind of an arête) to the top. I called that one “Sultans of Swing” and I would give it V13.”
If Wheelchair is confirmed at 9a+, and Retired Extremely Dangerous holds it lofty grade of 35 (the big route in the Bluey’s we reported last week here) that would mean that on his trip to Wide Brown Land, Alex has put up both the hardest route and the hardest boulder problem in the country. An impressive contribution from the German phenom.