German Alex Megos made the first successful ascent of Australia's newest grade 35 rock climbing route on April 9 - and Leura resident and climbing photographer Simon Carter was abseiling nearby to capture every gruelling moment.
The route, which Megos named Schweinebaumeln (Dangle Pigs), is located at Elphinstone (along the cliffs south-west of Pulpit Hill near Katoomba) and is only Australia's second graded at that level of difficulty.
Mr Carter, who runs Onsight Photography, said "it was a huge amount of work for me to get these photos, but from my abseil rope I had a ringside seat and it was awesome to watch the process that Alex went through, working out some incredibly technical sequences".
"Having watched Alex nearly two years ago when he climbed Australia's first grade 35 route, Retired Extremely Dangerous [also located in the Blue Mountains at Diamond Falls], it looks like he really has stepped up his climbing a notch or two."
Mr Carter described Schweinebaumeln as a stunning line that's the best part of 40 metres long and tackles the right end of the main wall and the head wall above it.
"I can testify how exposed it is, unusually so for a single pitch sport route.
"Because there is a second cliff line below and the route is so steep, you can't actually lower back to the ground directly off the anchors, even with an 80-metre rope."
The route was a project conceived and bolted by Lee Cossey, who opened up the project to Megos and was there to see his successful ascent.
Megos spent one day trying the route the week before and on his second redpoint (free climb) he completed the most challenging parts lower down, only to fall on the first move into what Mr Carter describes as "the big roof".
"But on his third redpoint attempt, he sweetly sent the full rig."
Mr Carter is a full-time specialist climbing photographer and an author.
His latest book, Rock Climbing Down Under: Australia Exposed, was published in November and contains 350 action photographs he took at 21 Australian climbing areas, including the Blue Mountains.
For more information, visit www.onsight.com.au.
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