Felix Neumärker has repeated To tu ještě nebylo (RP XIIb/9a) in the Czech Republic, followed two days later by the legendary Frankenjura route, Action Directe (11/9a).
Felix had unfinished business with To tu ještě nebylo (9a) from when he'd been trying it last year with Alex Megos [featured in Exposure Vol. II]. On that occasion Felix came close to success while Alex made the first repeat of the Labak sandstone route.
On the 14th May Felix completed his mission with Ondra Benes as his climbing partner. Ondra Benes, together with Adam Ondra, established the route ground-up - as is the local ethic - in 2011. Adam Ondra made the first free ascent the following year. Felix said: "All in all a very demanding and sophisticated route right from the start."
Boosted by his achievement Felix headed over to the Frankenjura to get on his other project, Wolfgang Güllich's Action Directe from 1991. Felix had started trying it in October last year but a tendon injury and poor weather forced him to leave it for another time.
Felix said: "And yes, after a good preparation that spring, trying the route with others including Mélissa Le Nevé, who helped me a lot to keep my motivation, I was lucky to send it - merci encore!"
On the subject of the Action Direct's grade, Felix added: "For me the route is an evidence of grade softening, since it’s still considered as a benchmark 9a. I have to recognise that my performance is not matchable with the original version, for which the grade 11 was proposed. There are at least three holds more, toe-hooks and better shoes which make things noticeably easier. I just wanted to point out that the old standard was a lot higher."
"For me Action Direct is one of the hardest routes I've done, as challenging (or even more so) then Corona or La Rambla. Therefore, I also consider it as a benchmark 9a by today's standard. Action Direct still suits because of 'new methods' and this applies to a lot of old school classics (also Wallstreet got easier). Futhermore, it seems logical to call Hubble 9a if there is nothing to make things easier. In the end I'd say the journey is the reward and hence we should not acknowledge anything by solely paying attention to the label."
Note: The last two paragraphs were edited at 1800 hrs with additional comment from Felix.