First 5.14d Onsight Goes Down

If you had Adam Ondra in the office pool for who would be the first to onsight 5.14d you just lost. Please pay up.

Desnivel reports (in Spanish) that Alex Megos has onsighted the route Estado crítico in Siurana, Spain becoming the first person to ever onsight a 5.14d.

First done in 2004 by Ramon Julian and subject to some debate over its grade, the route seems to have settled firmly into the 5.14d range despite the fact that Adam Ondra’s scorecard still says “NEVER 9a1“. If my interpretation of Desnivel’s article is correct I believe that statement just reflects his opinion of the route back in 2007 when he first did it and not his opinion after repeating Golpe de estado (5.15b)—which is a direct start to Estado crítico—and finding a key hold or rest on Estado crítico had broken.

But enough about Adam Ondra, this Alex Megos kid is on an incredible run. He flashed Pure Imagination (5.14c) a few months back in the Red River Gorge and climbed a whole mess of other hard routes and boulders while he was here. As a bonus he appears to have remained extremely Brave & Humble™ throughout this whole experience.

Here’s some footage of Markus Jung on Estado crítico:

Update - From a 2010 interview with Adam Ondra where he talks about the hold break on Estado crítico:

The hold was not a resting jug, but it helped. Before Estado Critico was more of an endurance problem, now there is a definite crux (but for Golpe it is not the crux). Estado Critico is now significantly harder, from 8c+ to 9a.

  1. 5.14d

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33 Responses to First 5.14d Onsight Goes Down

  1. Aaron Schneider March 25, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    PWNSAUCED

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  2. JCM March 25, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Wow, amazing accomplishment, and from a bit of a dark horse. I hope the downgrade mutterings fade away quickly, and the achievement isn’t marred by any controversy.

    Also interesting is that Megos has onsighted very close to (at?) his current redpoint level. Among most climbers, there is a typical spread of 3-4 letter grades between their max redpoint and max onsight. Adam Ondra, for instance, redpoints 5.15c, and onsights 5.14c. An exception to this rule is with comp climbers, like Ramonet, who redpoints 15a and onsights 14c. This is porbably because he spends all of his time training for the World CUp, and could probably redpoint higher in the 5.15 grade if he spent his energies on projecting instead of World Cup training.

    Megos, meanwhile, has onsighted 14d, while his max redpoint is, I believe,…14d. For a climber at this level to onsight at their redpoint level is extremely rare. This could indicate a few things:

    1. This was a lucky, freak onsight
    2. Megos is an exceptionally talented onsighter, relative to his redpoint ability
    3. Megos is way stronger than his current redpoint stats indicate, and we should expect really big things from him in the near future. Dura Dura third ascent?

    My guess is option #3, with a bit of the other two mixed in as well.

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  3. Dave March 25, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    So Ondra did the route and said it isn’t 14d? Sounds to me like a .14d did not get onsighted.

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    • Narc March 25, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      That was my initial thought as well, but the Desnivel article addresses that and it seems like Ondra’s opinion about the grade changed a few years ago.

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      • JCM March 25, 2013 at 9:35 am #

        New climbing term: “Undowngrade”

        Verb: To downgrade something, and then change your mind and return to the original grade.

        Related term: Unupgrade:

        Verb: What happened with Golden Ticket. 14c…14d…then back to 14c.

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    • Dan March 25, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      Why is Ondra’s opinion worth more than that of other climbers?

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      • Narc March 25, 2013 at 9:25 am #

        Experience and the fact that he’s actually willing to give one?

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  4. Kevin March 25, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    In Ondra’s response to a broken hold on the route, “Before Estado Critico was more of an endurance problem, now there is a definite crux (but for Golpe it is not the crux). Estado Critico is now significantly harder, from 8c+ to 9a.”

    So, it looks like things changed.
    http://www.czechclimbing.com/clanek.php?key=8540

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  5. DAC March 25, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    This is an incredible feat. Onsighting, flashing, redpointing, even hangdogging a 5.14d route takes phenomenal talent and work. That said, in the current era of nearly unlimited access to climbing videos, online discussions, and guidebooks, can we really make a distinction between onsights and flashes, especially on such well known routes? Is Megos’ accomplishment more impressive than Ondra’s flashing Southern Smoke Direct?

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    • Colin March 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Huh? Can’t tell if serious…

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      • DAC March 26, 2013 at 7:49 am #

        I’m 100% serious. I think it’s very difficult to call something the “first in the world” when people can’t even agree on what defines a true onsight. If a route is totally chalked up, it will naturally be easier to onsight than if it were not chalked. Similarly, a guidebook that provides a description like, “start on crimps, pull the roof on jugs, and fire through the steep finish,” will certainly ease the onsighter’s task more than a guidebook that describes the climb as, “the third bolt line after the proud arete.” Hell, some purists might even consider it beta to know that a hold broke to create a distinct crux.
        I can’t speak to how much chalk/guidebooks helped Megos, and I’m not trying to downplay his achievement at all. Certainly, local ethics help distinguish between flashes and onsights, hence why I find it problematic to proclaim that this is the first .14d onsight in the world.

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  6. matt March 25, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Personally, i had a cindarella story; LaSalle edging out Florida Coastal for the first 14d onsight, but i’ll accept Megos. he has proven that he can hang with the likes of Georgetown, Michigan State, and Kansas. I still think Sharma will prove to be the stronger squad when he squares off with Lousiville in the Georgia Dome.

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    • joe March 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      hilarious

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  7. dd March 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    http://vimeo.com/24776832 i remember seeing this video of this kid training years ago and thinking whos that, f*** hes strong

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    • Narc March 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

      This explains a lot

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    • sierrasteeps March 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      I need to grow a mustache like the dude at the end of the video. Nothing like a crazy German training video with Kraftwerk playing and strange dudes with mustaches talkin’ philosophy. Oh yeh, that kid is making crazy things look very, very easy.

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      • Epi March 26, 2013 at 4:33 am #

        By the way, that “strange dude with a mustache” is Wolfgang Güllich! Rings a bell?
        :-)

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      • sierraleone March 27, 2013 at 4:24 am #

        “Nothing like a crazy German training video with Kraftwerk playing and strange dudes with mustaches talkin’ philosophy.” ???
        The man in the end of the video is Wolfgang Güllich. He’s the only person with a mustache and the footage is historical.
        By the way: Never noticed a dude posting such a nonsense for a long long time…Are you a climber or just a freaky blogger?

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      • witness_for_stupidness March 27, 2013 at 7:37 am #

        Right said! This is by far the most stupid comment I have red here. Sound for me to be hatched in a redneck’s brain…:-)

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        • sierrasteeps March 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

          Meant as a joke Sierra Lion/WSF.

          Duh it’s Wolfy. From the poster with Kurt Albert in opening, to symbolic poster of WG doing 1 fingers for AD with young Alex in foreground, to WG training with poster of Arnold S and the interview. But it’s also so “strange German training” style. From WG, Alex Huber and Rudi K, and numerous articles and vids – the Germans have the Nietzsche-esque, deep philosophical, overly serious, climbing training zeitgeist thing. In addition to producing results/being insightful- it’s also so very German and funny. But I guess not, sorry to have wasted valuable internet browsing time, but despite the negativity- I’m still pretty psyched to rock out to Daft punk, grow a ‘stache, and get my peg board on while writing a thesis on the XII grade.

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          • sierraleone March 28, 2013 at 3:57 am #

            Sorry, but your comment was absolutely not signed as something ironic (Smiley, e.g.). Surely we can look with a smile on germans’ training philosophy, but isn’t it somehow brave and humble :-)
            Just being sad, that in people in some European countries blame germans in a very vicious way for thier homemade mess…

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  8. Franz the Stampede March 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    For the record, Alexander did very well at the last The North Face festival in Kalymnos, which was a redpoint competition on brand new rock routes.
    This thing that his onsight grade equals his redpoint grade is pretty unbeliavable… :D

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  9. Mike March 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    But didn’t ondra onsight souther smoke direct? Which is 15a? Or are they making a distinction because Daniel Woods gave him the beta to the start boulder problem so its a flash?

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    • Narc March 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      No, No and Yes

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    • JCM March 25, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      On Southern Smoke DIrect, Ondra had extensive beta for the crux (start) making it a flash. Also, he (and others) suggested 9a for the route, in continuation with the Great RRG Downgrading of 2012. Still, that was the first ever 9a flash, which is certainly notable. However, since Ondra on SSD was a flash, this ascent was the first 9a onsight.

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  10. Mbsst26 March 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Does anyone know how did on Superfly in Rumney. I can only imagine he tried it. I thought that’s supposed to be 15b/c/impossible. It’s like a v15 into a v14 with a v12 finish.

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    • DerekJf March 26, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      I WITNESSED THE SOB DESTROY THE FLY. -At Rumney last year in the final days of October- climbing at the Waimea cliff with a group of friends. We were just getting stoked that we were actually working the heinous awesome classic 5.11b Flyin Hawaiian… when we heard screams that sounded like a boy was slaughtering a bear other the other end of the crag.
      We were so confused and impressed when we looked over to see this unsuspecting “boy” (who no offense to Alex looked no older than 14) working the last moves of The Fly 5.14d.
      We kept climbing, and no more than 15 minutes later the bear-slaughter child let out the loooooongest ondra shout – sh*t was insane! He sent the problem.
      We had no idea who this kid was- gave him big ups, asked how long he had been working the problem and he humbly smiled and said “a long four days.”
      The next day we bumped into him and his partner again, and he climbed ahead of us on a classic little 10d Underdogg just to take a souvenir picture of the pyramid hold and hung draws for my buddy who was next.
      Real cool kid, especially the fact that I just found out who he was about two weeks ago when the first post from narc went up about his ‘more 8a’s than days in the US.’ That’s when I read he had done the fly problem, saw a pic, and put two and two together.

      NOW WHAT I DEFINITELY KNOW, two things: 1) we were the only other ones at the crag that saw him send The Fly… but 2) his buddy had a little camera tripod setup filming it and I’m curious where the footie is/when the US tour edit is coming out.

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  11. Justin March 26, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    Wow! I will be even more excited to see what will happen when guys like Megos, Ondra, Nakajima, and any of these other young guns all start feeding off one anothers psyche. Will the world get 5.16 soon? Also cool to see it’s not just Ondra on top of the game. This also makes sense after Megos’s trip in the U.S. since he showed us all that he could climb an unbelievable number of days in a row all at a really high level, showing that that level of climbing is just another day of climbing for him. Lastly, cool training video that someone posted!

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  12. Curtis Mayfield March 26, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    But did he get on superfly?

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    • DerekJf March 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

      To what I saw no- he sent, and then packed out like it was just another climb.

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  13. CJS March 27, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    I’ve seen Carlo and Dan messing around on Superfly before. They both said that it definitely goes, but both agreed it’d be a challenge. Carlo was more psyched than Dan, for whatever that is worth. I believe I have also heard Dave say that it goes, though he sounded less enthusiastic about it.

    It’s basically a tall boulder with a lousy landing, much like The Fly. I doubt it’d get a “V15 into a V14 into a V12″ kind of grade, as it’s probably only 7 or 8 moves long. (There is an intense sit at the back of a cave that could change matters, but I don’t know why anyone would ever do that.) My money would be on a V15 or a .15a, depending on the style of the FA.

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    • Mr. Doubt March 28, 2013 at 1:28 am #

      Taking him 3 years to repeat TSO2W Carlo might not be the top-candidate to push the limit with a first asc. Like that…?

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  14. Tom March 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Ondra’s word is not scripture. Megos is a very talented climber and definitely capable of harder that 14+ climbing. Ondra is an over dramatic climber that takes it way too seriously (hints the wobblers that drive me not to be around that guy except for comic relief).

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