Thanks to Sonnie Trotter, Alex Megos has hit a Rockies grand slam: first ascent of a 5.15b called Fightclub, first ascent of a 5.14d called Full Nelson, flash of The Path 5.14R and an onsight of The Shining 5.13d. What a year to onsight the hardest route on Mount Louis, 100 years after the fist ascent by Conrad Kain and Albert MacCarthy.
The first ascent of The Shining was in 2011 by Tommy Caldwell and Sonnie Trotter. Different sections of the wall had been projected before 2011, but Trotter and Caldwell went straight up the middle ground-up and established one of the hardest big bolted routes in North America.
To reach the diamond-shaped face with the five-pitch bolted Shining route, you must climb about five to eight moderate pitches up to 5.9 using traditional gear. Atop the diamond face, you rappel down to another pitch of hard 5.11 before easier ground to the summit. A mandatory eight rappels to get down is required before the two-hour hike back to the car.
Trotter and Megos were joined by photographer Ken Etzel and the team made a car-to-car mission in 24 hours, non-stop. It’s a big route. Megos is the third person to free every pitch, this is the second all-free ascent of the route and the first onsight. Megos has shown that a strong sport climber can be a flash-5.14 trad climber and big-wall alpine-ish free-climber. For more stories and photos visit Megos, Etzel and Trotter.