The 20-year-old German wunderkind Alexander Megos has freed Fly, which now ranks among one of the world's hardest multi-pitch climbs. With roughly 1,800 feet of climbing, the 20-pitch route weaves through the technical limestone of the Staldeflue, in Lauterbrunnental, Switzerland.
Fly was established ground-up by Swiss climber Roger Schäli along with Michel Pitelka, Markus Iff, Bernd Rathmayr, Mäx Grossman and Stephan Eder between 2006 and 2009. However, the free-climbing at the end of the route - which includes a 5.13d at pitch 17, the crux 5.14b at pitch 19 and a 5.14a to top out the wall - shut down Schäli and crew.
On June 4, Schäli recruited Megos, Frank Kretschmann and David Hefti to work on the route. Over four days, Megos led every pitch, onsighting and flashing all pitches except pitch 8 (5.12d), 17, 19, and 20. The team spent three nights in a portaledge above pitch nine, and Megos was able to redpoint the remaining pitches of Fly on his second go after some cleaning. Schäli and Hefti also led and freed every pitch except the three hardest (17, 19 and 20). Also worth mentioning is the fact that pitches seven and eight were wet when the team first started up the wall, so they were redpointed on the fourth day of attempts.
Fly now holds the company of other elite multi-pitch climbs such as the Pou brother's Orbayu (5.14b 13 pitches) on the Naranjo de Bulnes formation of Spain or Adam Ondra's Wogü (5.14b seven pitches) in the Rätikon of Switzerland, which Sasha DiGiulian will attempt this summer.