Alex Megos has climbed “Ratstaman Vibrations” in Céüse, giving it the grade of 9b / 5.15b. He first properly started work on it last year, managing it with two rests but not doing a full redpoint.
Megos never tends to leave a project for too long, and on July 31st he managed to get the entire thing down in one push. He announced it on his Instagram, saying: “Right after the World Cup in Chamonix I headed to Ceüse with @christoph_hanke, @chiarahanke and @janvirtphotography to properly try the route. After five days I got really close to doing it, but couldn’t quite piece it together in the end.“
“The World Cup in Briançon came as a welcomed break from hiking up the hill and after a week of competing and training I returned to Ceüse. First day back on the route felt really good and already on the second day of this trip I had the perfect send go!“
Chris Sharma soon commented his congratulations but noted that the route was actually named “Ratstaman Vibrations” with the odd spelling referring to the name of the specific area “Face de Rat” in Céüse. It’s obviously a cheeky reference to the Bob Marley song Rastaman Vibration.
Megos says that the route is fairly short at 25 moves but it’s steep. It’s a 35m cliff section with lots of crimps and gastons and an amazing dyno. It’s a jump from the right with a toe hook to a left-hand crimp catch with just one hand and both feet swinging.
The route was originally bolted and worked on by Chris Sharma in 2014 but never sent. Interestingly, Alex did actually check out the route quickly the same year but didn’t keep at it. He was around the area in years later but trying the project that would become “Bibliographie” instead.
It’s been tried by a few of the world’s best climbers. Check out Stefano Ghisolfi projecting Ratstaman just before Megos came along and did it.
Charles Albert (famous as the barefoot boulderer in Reel Rock 16) and Seb Bouin (who climbed his own world’s second 9c project “DNA” recently) both jumped on the route a few years back. Check out their attempts in this video.
You can watch some ten-year-old footage of Sharma bolting and then working the route below. The big dyno is the one on the video’s thumbnail. It’s incredible to think that such a fantastic route went unsent for so long at Ceuse.
It’s one of the most popular hard sport areas in the world and arguably where sport climbing first began. Megos sent “Bibliographie” there (9b+ downgraded from 9c). It’s where the world’s first 9a+ “Biographie” is, and where possibly the second 9c in the world “DNA” was climbed by Seb Bouin recently.
This is one of Chris Sharma’s many hard, long-term projects. You can check out just a few in our Hardest Climbs in the World article. Still unclimbed is “Le Blond” in Oliana – though this may have been destroyed in the recent fire at the crag.
There’s also his unnamed project in Santa Linya that’s stood for five years. On top of that, he has a more local route in Cova de l’Ocell next to “El Bon Combat” that’s still not done. If you don’t know who Chris Sharma is, he’s one of the most famous climbers in the world and used to be the big name in the sport.
The amazing image from the header is by Jan Virt who also does photography for the IFSC. He makes some incredible prints of famous climbers (including Megos) and shots of climbing areas.