The long history of foreigners blowing through Oz and blowing up the grades has continued. The list recalls some of the greats; Hot Henry, Wolfy, Klem, Dai and now Megos.
Alexander Megos, the first man to onsight 9a (35), this week brought his talent and tenacity to bear on the long-standing Red Project at Diamond Falls in the Blue Mountains and in so doing has given Australia its first 35 – Retired Extremely Dangerous.
According to Simon Carter, who was there to witness the fitness, it took the young German beast around 20 shots, spread over three days to send the route.
Originally bolted by the Original Oz crusher, Garth Miller, the line stands out in the guidebook topo, straight up the guts and completely independent on a wall with more link-up connections than the London tube map. It has been an open project for some time, with most recently Lee Cossey throwing himself at it.
Alexander’s trip has also included quick second ascent of Somalia (33) at Mt Arapiles, and more Blueys’ success on Pooferator (31), Truckstop 31 (32), Keep on Truckin (33) and Mechanical Animals (33).
Grades are funny things, not funny haha, more funny-odd. There has been some speculation that Taipan’s Groove Train is harder than 33, most notedly by Ethan Pringle who suggested it would be 9a (35) if it were in Spain, but Alexander contradicted that confirming the route’s grade at 8c (33). As reported here, Megos also quickly ticked the Wheel of Life when he was in Victoria, a boulder/route whose grade is a source of much consternation and has been called anything from V13 to 36.
Will the grade stand the test of time? Given Alexander’s pedigree of hard ascents you would have to assume the man knows well the landscape at the pointy end of the grade pyramid and we now have our very own 9a.
You can read more about Alexander’s landmark ascent and get a little flavour on his Australian trip over at Simon Carter’s blog here.
EDIT: Alex also put up the hardest boulder problem in the land, read about it here.