Alex Megos, German climbing superstar and the first person to onsight 9a, was recently in the UK to take part in the CWIF. Alex decided to make the most of being in the country to sample some of the historic sport routes that England has to offer, making quick repeats of a lot of hard routes.
Alex is no stranger to the UK, having been to Edinburgh on the competition circuit and North Wales last summer where he made a major first ascent at Porth Ysgo, with Das Pumpenhausen Tespiece, 8B (UKC News Report + Video). However, he didn't take to the sport or trad climbing in Wales.
During his recent trip he headed to Raven Tor for one day, Malham on two days and spent a day bouldering at Stanage Plantation. In this short stay he managed to climb many hard routes, with Alex saying:
"I basically tried to do most of the classics"
The list of routes Alex climbed during his short stay included:
- Mecca, 8b+ - 2nd go
- Raindogs, 8a - 2nd go
- Overnite Sensation, 8a+ - flash
- Austrian Oak, 8b - 2nd go
- Unjustified, 8c - 4th go
- Bat Route, 8c - 2nd go
Commenting on the day spent bouldering on the gritstone he said:
"I don't remember any names of the gritstone boulders I did. But we didn't really try anything hard, we just played around a bit on some classics..."
All this after having come 2nd in the CWIF the weekend before and attaining a perfect score in the qualifiers.
UKClimbing.com asked Alex a few questions about his trip:
How does UK limestone compare to Continental limestone?
Alex: Hard to compare. Definitely a completely different style which I have never seen anywhere else before! I have never seen so many underclings and sidepulls. Every route is basically just with underclings and sidepulls. And because of that I got pumped faster then normal, just not used to this style of climbing...
From your recent ticklist of hard ascents, which was your favourite crag, and which was your favourite route?
Alex: Favourite crag: Malham
Favourite route: Batroute (so much variety within the route! Changes every few metres to a different style!)
You were quoted saying "I was quite surprised to find some WORLDCLASS climbing over here!" did you not like the climbing in North Wales as much?
Alex: This sentence was more related to the sport climbing I found in Malham and Raven Tor. In Wales there is not so much really good sport climbing and not that much bouldering. There is probably some really good trad climbing, but I'm not used to that style so I can't really tell anything about that...
Do you think you will be back for some of the harder routes the UK has to offer?
Alex: One word: YES. Not sure when, but I will come back!
Thanks to Nick Brown of Outcrop Films for providing the photos of Alex. Nick was filming Alex for a video he is making for DMM on Alex's trip to the UK, so watch out for that.