After American climber Sean Raboutou, 24, publicly announced his send of Alphane V17 in August, rumours swirled that he had actually sent another V17 as well. Today on Instagram, he finally put those rumours to bed with his announcement of his first ascent of the longstanding Megatron project in Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon. He’s given the problem a grade of V17, which is currently the highest V-grade in the world.
Megatron has been a long-term project for several top climbers, including Daniel Woods and Drew Ruana. In 2017, Woods established a stand start version of the problem, Tron V14. According to Woods, the full Megatron links seven moves of solid V15 into the ten moves of Tron V14 without any rest in between.
Raboutou has been on a tear this year, establishing V16’s F*ck the System and Story of 3 Worlds and the V17 Alphane. If Raboutou’s grades for Alphane and Megatron hold, he will be the first climber in history to climb more than one V17. He has been secretive about all of these ascents, waiting many weeks or months before disclosing his them to the public.
Megatron joins a very small list of problems graded V17 (or 9a): Nalle Hukkataival’s Burden of Dreams, Daniel Woods’ Return of the Sleepwalker, and Raboutou’s Alphane. Other problems have been initially graded V17 including Charles Albert’s No Kpote Only and Simon Lorenzi’s Soudain Seul, but have been downgraded on subsequent ascents.
While Burden of Dreams and Return of the Sleepwalker remain unrepeated, Alphane has seen repeats by Aidan Roberts and Will Bosi. Regarding the grade, Bosi said he found the problem easier than Honey Badger V16 but that he couldn’t discuss the grade until he gains more experience climbing in this elite grade range.
Drew Ruana discussed the mind-blowing difficulty of Megatron in the Reddit thread r/climbing, explaining that the problem starts on nasty crimps and underclings that feel like they’re going to “rip your pulley”. These moves are followed up by a right hand throw to the start of the Tron V14, which Ruana states is one of the hardest moves he’s ever done. After that crux, several foot moves and a cut are needed to establish on Tron. Familiar with both problems, Ruana said that Megatron is a solid step up from Return of the Sleepwalker.
Raboutou will be releasing a video of his Megatron send on Friday November 18.