Q&A: Alex Megos on the World’s First 9a Onsight

Ten years after making the world’s first 9a onsight, Alex Megos reflects on the event that changed his life and shaped his climbing career

Ten years ago, on March 24, 2013, Alex Megos was on a climbing trip with friends. At the El Pati sector of Siurana, he struggled to decipher which line of the many variations was La Rambla. So he decided to try Estado Crítico instead.

Wasting no time, the 19-year-old German climber tied in, chalked up, and started climbing. Halfway up the route, he almost switched to Kalea Borroka (8b+), which shares the same start as Estado Crítico, because he already felt so pumped. But he forced himself to go right, he says, just to see how far he could get.

He came close to falling many times, yet managed to keep going—all the way to the chains of Estado Crítico—for the world’s first 9a onsight.

“It happened by accident,” he says. The achievement sent shockwaves through the climbing community. He says, “This moment changed my life and my climbing career.”

There is no video footage of Alex on the route, unfortunately, and only a handful of pictures. So for the 10-year anniversary, Alex thought it would be nice to answer a few questions about the route and his ascent.

Watch the Q&A below.