The 20-year-old German crusher Alex Megos has established Australia's first 5.14d sport climb by sending Retired Extremely Dangerous in the Blue Mountains. The route--which was bolted in 1999 by the Australian onsight specialist Garth Miller--is a technical swath of sandstone at Diamond Falls and had been dubbed The Red Project. Nick Fletcher reports on his website that the route was an open project, but the local climber Lee Cossey had been making an attempt to climb the line recently. However, Cossey apparently encouraged Megos to try the route and even offered him beta, according to another report by Australian photographer Simon Carter. Megos needed roughly 20 attempts to send the line according to Carter, who was documenting the effort.
"On his first day of attempts Alex worked out all the moves and had several redpoint attempts," writes Carter on his website. "The next day he had about eight redpoint attempts and it looked as though he would do it easily — but the route has a definite crux about 3/4′s of the way up, and although Alex could do the moves easily on the dog they required a degree of precision that proved hard to link from the ground."
On his third day of attempts, Megos continued to fall, taking a fairly large whipper from the route's thin crux. Frustrated after his sixth big fall, Megos lowered to the ground and immediately tied back in and started climbing, Carter reports. "Somehow this tactic worked because this time he got through the crux — and it was a mighty fight to the end!" writes Carter.
Megos tentatively graded the route 9a/35 (5.14d). Considering the numerous attempts he needed to send the line (Megos became the first climber in the world to onsight the 5.14d grade in March of this year--click here for story), it seems likely that Retired Extremely Dangerous is now Australia's hardest sport climb.