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Behind the Shot: Alexander Megos, 20, on Climbing World-Famous Biographie in France

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Alexander Megos climbing Biographie in Céüse, France; Photograph by Mikey Schafer

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Twenty-year-old German climber Alexander Megos is quietly making quick work of some of the most famous sport climbing routes in the world. Just earlier this month he ascended Biographie, also known as Realization, one of the most famous sport-climbing routes in the world, on his fourth attempt in a single day. A few days later, 21-year-old Adam Ondra, one of our Adventurers of the Year, climbed the route. Here Megos tell us a little bit about the climb and his perspective on climbing. 

Adventure: What were you thinking at this moment?

Alexander Megos: Don’t let go!

A: Why did you want to climb this route?

I wanted to climb this route because it is the world’s first 9a+ and definitely one of the most famous routes worldwide! But it’s not just the history behind the route, also the route itself is one of the best ones I ever climbed!

A: Had you climbed in Céüse, France, before?

AM: No, it was my first—but definitely not last—trip to Céüse. I climbed in France already a couple of times in other areas but never was able to make it to Céüse before…

A: This route has an impressive list of other climbers to ascend it, from Jean-Christophe Lafaille, who in 1989 originally bolted the pitch and named Biographie, to Chris Sharma, who made the first free ascent in 2001 naming it Realization. Did that make it more interesting to you?

AM: I actually don’t think that this was a reason for me to climb it. For sure it is easier to climb routes which have been repeated lots because there are existing betas for the route, and it’s well chalked, but that was not the reason for me to try.

A: At one point Biographie was considered the hardest climb in the world. You climbed it on your fourth try in a single day. How difficult did you find it?

AM: I think the route suited me extremely well. So for me personally it didn’t feel really hard. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard, but I have had some other climbs I struggled with more.

A: How old are you now? Where do you live?

AM: I am still 20, turning 21 on the 12th of August. At the moment I still live at home in Germany when I am not travelling. But most of the year I am on trips around the world.

A: Your profile on the Patagonia website says you do not want to be a professional climber. Why? What will your pursue instead?

AM: Well, I guess I ended up being kind of a professional climber at the moment, but I definitely don’t want to do that for the rest of my live. It’s a good time I am having with being a professional climber, and I will probably continue it for some more years, but the time will come where I will start studying.

A: What climb do you dream about doing some day?

AM: A project of mine in the Frankenjura of Germany.

A: How are American and European climbers different?

AM: I guess one of the differences is that there are more American climbers trying to live the professional climbers life. When I was over in America on a four-month road trip I met quiet a few climbers who tried to live from climbing. I think it’s also because in America climbing has a bigger significance then in Europe.

A: What’s your favorite recovery food?