German crusher and Olympic-qualified Alex Megos has flashed Underground 5.14d in Arco and suggested a grade of 5.14c/d or 5.14c. The was first climbed in 1998 by Manfred Stuffer and has been climbed over 30 times.
Megos, who recently made the first ascent of Bibliographie 5.15d, is one of the world’s best rock climbers with nearly 100 routes 5.14+ and harder. He was the first climber to onsight 5.14d with Estado Critico in Spain.
Megos sent the hard line thanks to beta from Cesar Grosso; it’s the hardest flash to date in Italy. Grosso has climbed 5.14d, but coincidentally has not sent Underground. and It was initially graded 5.14c, but in 2000, Japan’s Yuji Hirayama suggested 5.14c/d. In 2002, Tomas Mrazek and Christian Bindhammer suggested 5.14d.
Megos spoke to Jens Larssen at 8a.nu and told him: “Before I was not sure if I should go for it. I already climbed an 8c [5.14c] that day and I didn’t prepare super well for the flash. Cesar said the biggest problem will be to get through the first crux out of three so I put my focus on that one.
“Once I past that crux there were two more to go and with every move I gained confidence. The second and third crux were a bit weird and with bad feet so I just tried to control the moves as much as possible. After topping I was very reliefed that it worked out and that it was good saving the route for some time and not trying it on a previous trip. I’m very grateful for the perfect beta Cesar gave me. It wouldn’t have been possible without him.”
Watch Magnus Midtbo send Underground in a video below Megos’s post about his historic send.
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I did many trips to Arco but I was always saving this one for a potential flash try. I thought maybe I would feel ready one day. Turns out sometimes you just have to go for it! After doing "Claudio Caffè" second try this morning I thought I might as well just go for Underground today. Big thank you to @cesar_grosso for giving me perfect beta and showing me all the moves and to @dickikorb for standing in that hole to belay us. 🙏🏼 Here the last crux of the route on camera. Unfortunately we didn't film the whole send… 😔 @patagonia_climb @redbullgermany @goretexeu @tenayaclimbing @cafekraft_nuernberg @dmm_wales @sterlingrope @frictionlabs @fazabrushes #stylefirst #carrotsforpower