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Action Directe 5.14d Sent by Top U.K. Climber

Buster Martin climbs one of the world's most famous sport routes and gives a shout-out to the climber who sent it first

Buster Martin has climbed Action Directe 5.14d at Germany’s Frankenjura after working on it for less than a week. Martin is one of the only climbers to have sent Action Directe and Hubble in the U.K.

On Sept. 14, 1991, Wolfgang Güllich made the first ascent of Action Directe at 5.14c/d, but it was later upgraded to 5.14d making it the first in the world of the grade. Hubble was first climbed in 1990 by Ben Moon, 23 at the time, as the world’s first 5.14c. Several climbers have since said that Hubble is 5.14d, which would make it the first ever climbed.

In the past, Martin has shared his thoughts on whether Hubble or Action Directe was the first 5.14d – see the history of the grade discussion here. After having climbed both, he told Jens Larssen, “I love the history, but do we really need to compare the biceps between Ben and the late Wolfgang Gullich? Biographie and la Rambla don’t seem to be leveled up or compared so why should these two routes? The consensus for Hubble seems to be 9a, and whilst that may change the history books, I don’t think that takes anything away from the iconic Action Direct. The Monos, the line, the beautiful setting and most importantly the legacy of Wolfgang and the way he pushed things forward in sport climbing and training. A true legend and a legendary route, the best I’ve done.”

Action Directe has a 16-move sequence with a crux dynamic move to a two-finger pocket. It was bolted on steep wall on the Waldkopf crag by Milan Sykora in the 1980s and originally traversed in from the right, but Güllich bolted a direct start. Dai Koyamada made an early repeat and found beta that required less moves.

Gullich was one of sport climbing’s leading climbers during his day, before his death in 1992. In 1984, he climbed the world’s first 5.13d with Kanal im Rücken at Frankenjura. In 1985, he climbed the first 5.14a with Punks in the Gym at Arapalies and in 1987 he climbed the first 5.14b with Wallstreet at Frankenjura.

The fastest redpoint was by Alex Megos, who only needed two hours to send. He has since sent it at least five times, the most by any climber. In 2020, Melissa Le Nevé became the first woman to climb it. No Canadian, on record, has sent Action Directe.

Action Directe History

1991: Wolfgang Güllich, Germany – First ascent
1995: Alexander Adler, Germany
2000: Iker Pou, Spain
2001: Dave Graham, U.S.A.
2003: Christian Bindhammer, Germany
2005: Richard Simpson, U.K. (contested)
2005: Dai Koyamada, Japan
2005: Markus Bock, Germany
2006: Kilian Fischhuber, Austria
2008: Adam Ondra, Czech Republic
2008: Patxi Usobiaga, Spain
2010: Gabriele Moroni, Italy
2010: Jan Hojer, Germany
2010: Adam Pustelnik, Poland
2011: Felix Knaub, Germany
2012: Rustam Gelmanov, Russia
2014: Alexander Megos, Germany
2015: Felix Neumärker, Germany
2015: Julius Westphal, Germany
2015: Stefano Carnati, Italy
2016: David Firnenburg, Germany
2017: Stephan Vogt, Germany
2017: Simon Lorenzi, Belgium
2018: Said Belhaj, Sweden (contested)
2018: Stefan Scarperi, Italy
2019: Adrian Chmiala, Poland
2020: Mélissa Le Nevé, France
2021: Phillip Gaßner, Germany
2022: Buster Martin, U.K.