Alex Megos hasn't let his lack of multi-pitch climbing experience get in the way of making the first free ascent of the Fly in the Lauterbrunnen valley, Switzerland.
The young German climbed the Fly as part of a team that included Roger Schäli, David Hefti and Frank Kretschmann. Schäli was one of the group of original climbers and the driving force responsible for establishing the twenty-pitch Fly on the Staldeflue, bolting it ground-up between 2006 and 2009, often off poor sky-hooks. A clean ascent however proved elusive.
Four days were spent on the route with three nights in portaledges. The crux pitches, P17 (8b), P19 (8c) and P20 (8b+) come right near the end of the 550 metre route. The pitches weren't climbed entirely in order as some of the initial ones were wet.
Megos commented: "Doing such a multi-pitch route was a unique experience. Especially staying on the wall for multiple days was something totally new for me but definitely one of my coolest experiences. I expected it to be harder for me to climb difficult sections with 500m air underneath you, but while climbing it didn't make any difference. Even scary run-outs were fine. I was just 100% focused on the climb."
The spectacular cliff is popular with base jumpers, hence the route name, and only a ten or fifteen minute walk-in to its foot.
Planetmountain.com has further details and describes Megos' ascent as: "…truly extraordinary and makes Fly one of the most difficult muti-pitches in the world."
Thanks to Frank Kretschmann/www.funst.de for the photos and topo.