jonathan siegrist flex luthor
Jonathan Siegrist on "Flex Luthor," 5.15a/b; (photo/Bear Cam Photo)

Jonathan Siegrist Tames ‘Flex Luthor,’ Suggests ‘Approachable’ 5.15a

The American sport climbing star sent the third repeat of Tommy Caldwell’s early-2000s masterpiece, he announced today.

For almost 2 decades, “Flex Luthor” perched alone and quiet at the remote Fortress of Solitude, outside Rifle, Colo.

Then last year, Matty Hong and Carlo Traversi registered two quick repeats. Both world-class climbers confirmed grades of 5.15b/9b, raising the question at the time of whether the route did in fact constitute the planet’s first route of the grade.

But today, Jonathan Siegrist put the matter to rest with four quick words in an Instagram chat.

“​​How hard does this thing rate on your ‘how hard is it really’ meter?” I asked.

“I’d say approachable 9a+ [5.15a],” he replied.

That was it. Siegrist kept it simple, stating that he had used hand jams on the route where he could. (Intuitively, Caldwell used that same technique.)


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Siegrist would need every bit of rest he could get. Hong found himself beset by endurance woes on the 120-foot marathon during his Oct. 2021 attempt. Breakable footholds added to the specificity of the challenge.

Asked about these particularities, Siegrist remained short in his manner, hewing to prior ascensionists and their assessments of difficulty.

He shot me a photo from the send, and just like that, he disappeared back into sport climbing’s cavernous upper echelons — as resolute and sinewy as he had appeared.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.