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Siegrist Repeats Flex Luthor: Downgrades to 5.15a.

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When Jonathan Siegrist first visited the Fortress of Solitude in 2010, the crag had largely been forgotten. “Nobody was going up there. The only partner I could get consistently was my dad.” He was working on Kryptonite back then, which eventually became his first 5.14d, and during the process he occasionally glanced over at its neighbor, Flex Luthor, which had been established by Tommy Caldwell in 2003 and was America’s first proposed 5.15. “I was very intimidated,” Siegrist said. “The route had so much mystery around it. I mean Kryptonite had at least been repeated a couple of times,  [but] to think that there was something harder.…”

Even after he claimed Kryptonite’s fourth ascent, Siegrist didn’t try Flex Luthor. The Fortress of Solitude is not an easy place to have a project; the crag is something of a solar collector, baking hot even on cold days and seeping through much of the spring; and the grueling approach, at least when compared to non-approaches at nearby Rifle, makes it tough to secure climbing partners. So Siegrist turned his gaze elsewhere, and eventually moved away from Colorado (he’s now based in Vegas).

Meanwhile the route gained a reputation for, well, bad rock—thanks in part to the fact that Tommy Caldwell, who’d equipped the route, had done essentially no cleaning by modern standards.

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Caldwell was spearheading development at the Fortress of Solitude, chipping was…

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