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with Stefan Nestler

Ondra’s “Dawn Wall” coup: “Brilliant”

Adam Ondra cheered after his success

Adam Ondra cheered after his success

What a hotshot! The 23-year-old Czech Adam Ondra succeeded his free climb through the mostly vertical, partly overhanging “Dawn Wall” in the granite of El Capitan within only eight days. It was the only second free ascent of the rock route, which is regarded as the most difficult in the world. At the beginning of 2015, the Americans Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson had “freed” the “Dawn Wall” after 19 days in the approximately 900-meter-high wall, a milestone of climbing history. They had been preparing for it for more than seven years. Ondra spent just two and a half weeks on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Kevin Jorgeson finds the success of the young Czech “totally badass”, as he wrote to the magazine “Rock and Ice”: “For Tommy and I, the question was whether it was even possible. We left lots of room to improve the style and Adam did just that! Super impressive that he was able to adapt to the Dawn Wall’s unique style and sort out so many complex sequences so quickly.” The German climbing scene is also thrilled.

“As if Bolt had won the marathon”

Climbing also in the night

Climbing also in the night

Alexander Huber, aged 47, the younger of the Huber brothers, writes to me, that Ondra’s performance “equates to his ability: masterly, brilliant”. Alexander’s older brother values Adam’s success in a similar way. “This is the statement of the new generation per se,” tells me Thomas Huber (who, by the way, celebrated his 50th birthday on Friday last week): “For me it is the greatest achievement in climbing of our times. Now the bar is high!” Stefan Glowacz is also blown away. “I’ve been climbing for more than 40 years, but this performance is simply unbelievable,” writes the 51-year-old on Facebook. “It is amazing to see how the young generation catapult climbing into ever new dimensions that were hardly thought possible hitherto.” Ondra’s performance is “a kind of fusion of passion, obsession and extraordinary ability, but above all, an unprecedented mental performance,” says Glowacz, pointing out that it was Adam Ondra’s first big wall experience: “Somewhere I read this comparison: It is as if Usain Bolt had won the marathon race too.”

“Dawn Wall” within in 24 hours?

For years already, experts believe Adam Ondra to be the world’s best sports climber. During his climb of the “Dawn Wall” on El Capitan, he was accompanied by his countryman Pavel Blazek and the Austrian photographer Heinz Zak. Ondra led all 32 pitches ofthe route. “The first two days I was as nervous as a cat,” Adam said in an interview with the Czech climbing website emontana. In his words climbing the two key pitches (No. 14 and 15) was “like holding razor blades. But apart from them there are the pitches which I consider to belong among the best ones I have ever climbed.” It is quite possible that Ondra will soon be back on the route. “I would love to climb it a lot faster than this time”, says Adam, putting the bar high: “I think climbing ‘Dawn Wall’ in 24 hours is a nice challenge. It won´t be my ambition for the next year, that´s what I am sure of. I would like to take a mental rest for a few seasons but it would be interesting as a dream for life.” As absurd as this dream may sound, this hotshot could really do it.


23. November 2016 | 17:41