Alexander Megos, the Action Directe Frankenjura interview
As reported two days ago, last Saturday Alexander Megos made an astounding two-hour ascent of Action Directe, Wolfgang Güllich's 1991 testpiece at Waldkopf in the Frankenjura. Little needs adding to this fast redpoint apart from underlining the obvious: in its 23 year history the route has been repeated less than 20 times and this just goes to show how ground-breaking Gülich's ascent was at the time. The recent repeat at the hands of 20-year-old Megos is the fastest ascent to date and therefore marks a new standard for this benchmark 9a. It comes almost a year after the world's first ever 9a onsight carried out by Megos on Estado Critico at Siurana and is, understandably, a very special and moment in Megos' astounding climbing career.
Alexander, what can we say? Congratulations!
Thanks! This ascent is definitely very, very important for me. Action was climbed by Wolfgang Güllich, was the world's first 9a and is located here in the Frankenjura, my home climbing area, and all these factors make this route very special indeed. I remember walking underneath it for the first time as a young boy with my father and since then I've passed below it countless times and have never stopped dreaming about it.
Nevertheless you never tried it before in the past
It's perhaps the most famous sports climb in the world and has an awesome reputation. For some reason I was afraid of trying it, perhaps because of its massive history. I never summed up the courage to give it a go and, to make things even more difficult, I then began dreaming of climbing it in a single day.
In the end you did even better and sent it in two hours!
We arrived at the Waldkopf in the early afternoon, at around 1:30. I'd already warmed up nearby on two 7b+, then I climbed the route Slimline immediately next to Action Directe, an 8a+ to warm up even better, then it was time to find out more.
The route starts with the infamous dyno...
Yes, I tried the dyno, I just wanted to see how things would go. It was a sort of test jump, just to see how close I could come. I didn’t actually intend to hold the swing, also because I was a little afraid, my fingers were still a bit cold and I didn’t want to injure them. Things went better on my second attempt when I actually tried to stick the dyno. I jumped, held the swing and carried on up until I fell off about half-way up. I then obviously checked out the moves, then lowered off and rested for five minutes because I didn't want my fingers to get cold. Then I gave it a third attempt, stuck the dyno and climbed well and almost sent it but fell close to the end.
My partner Wiz Fineron flashed Slimline, I waited for another ten minutes then got ready. Somehow I managed to slip off while getting established for the dyno, but then I stuck it and climbed to the top.
Sounds almost simple
Well it certainly wasn't easy, but in truth there were no critical moments when I thought I might not make it.
How come you finally decided to do it on Saturday?
Well sooner or later I had to give it a go?! As time passed by the pressure got bigger and bigger. I just really wanted to try it and, above all, climb it in a single day. So I started to prepare myself mentally, Saturday seemed like a good day but then the weather forecast wasn't great, temperatures around 5°C, too cold therefore. But I was really motivated and didn't want to postpone things any longer and in the end it was actually a bit warmer than that, perhaps 7°C, so I just had to try.
Last question: you've done 9a onsight. So did you ever think of trying to flash Action Direct?
Yes, the thought had occurred to me but I then quickly decided that this was fairly unrealistic. The dyno at the start is known to be really difficult and it's proved to be a big problem for many of those who've repeated the route and are by far better at dynos then I am. Climbing it in a day was a big enough challenge!
I would thank my sponsors and some friends for supporting me at the Action Directe. First of all my thanks goes to my trainers Patrick Matros and Dicki Korb for the mental support during my attempts and my two friends Wiz Fineron (my belayer) and Felix Neumärker.
Alex is sponsored by Patagonia, Tenaya, DMM, Entreprises and Blue Water Ropes
ALEXANDER MEGOS FRANKENJURA TICKLIST
05/05/2009 Drive by Shooting 10+/11- (8c), 3 go, (first 8c)
29/05/2009 Pain makes me feel stronger every day 11-/11 (8c+), 2 go, (first 8c+)
07/09/2009 Drecksteil 10 (8b), flash
25/04/2010 Wallstreet 11- (8c/8c+), 5 go
07/06/2011 Shangri-La 11-/11 (8c+), 7 go
10/08/2011 Raubritter 11- (8c), Flash
22/09/2011 Infinity 11-/11 (8c+), 2 go
01/11/2011 Planets collide 11-/11 (8c+), 3 go
01/05/2012 Roofwarrior 10+/11- (8c), Flash
02/06/2012 Masters of the Universe 11-/11 (8c+), 2 go
13/06/2012 Hattori Hanzo 11-/11 (8c+), 2 go,
26/04/2013 Classified 11+ (9a+), 3 go (first ascent)
03/05/2014 Action Directe 11 (9a)