October 24, 2015 – The young German crusher Alex Megos made a quick trip to the New River Gorge and Red River Gorge and left heads spinning with a flurry of desperate repeats and first ascents.
Fresh off the first ascent of the hardest route in Germany’s Frankenjura, Supernova (11 or 5.15a/b), Megos first went to the New, where he climbed the first 9a (5.14d) at this historic sandstone area. On October 11, Megos, 22, climbed an extension to Pod (5.13b), adding a V12 boulder problem to create Superpod (5.14d). The route had been bolted by Porter Jarrard more than 20 years ago. (The photo below, by Frank Kretschmann, shows Megos at the first crux of the Superpod extension.)
Less than a week later, he added another solid 5.14 route by completing the “Pebble Project” on his second redpoint attempt. Megos called the route Sputnik (5.14b). During his New River trip, Megos climbed at least 10 other 5.14 routes, including flashes of Trebuchet (5.14b) and Proper Soul (5.14a), according to Mike Williams at Dpmclimbing.com.
Moving to the Red, Megos sent Southern Smoke Direct (5.14d) and, on the same day, completed the first ascent of a 5.14d project, left of 50 Words for Pump, calling it Godless Heaven.
Megos’ last visit to the Red was three years ago, when he flashed Pure Imagination (5.14c). Southern sandstone seems to suit him, but it might be a while before he returns—he’s nearly climbed out the two most popular areas in the Southeast!