Adam Ondra has sent Project Hard, which he graded 5.15d, the first climb in the world given a grade harder than 5.15c.

The super steep route follows features up the Hanshelleren Cave at Flatanger, Norway. While he hadn’t mentioned a grade after he first sent it, he later confirmed it as 9c [5.15d] in the Instagram post below.

Ondra has climbed all of the world’s 5.15c routes, onsighted 5.14d and has established new V16s. He climbed the Dawn Wall on his first visit to Yosemite, so if anyone knows if this is 5.15d, it’s him.

The big route had bolts on it in 2011, which were put in by Laurent Laporte, in an area of the cave that was developed in the 1990s.

Project Hard was the first route in the steepest section, but Laurent stopped bolting right due to the difficulty. Ondra finished bolting in in 2013. There is another project in the cave called Project Big.

The route is 45 metres with 20 metres of 5.13d to a kneebar, then more hard climbing to a kneebar before the crux.

The crux is 10 moves with a V15 boulder, which Ondra said is one of the hardest problems in the world on its own.

Eventually there’s a second crux at V13 and then a third at V9. Ondra linked the first section at 5.15c earlier this year. Watch Ondra work the route below and visit the Outdoor Journal here for a great interview.

The first 5.14d climbed was in 1991 by Wolfgang Gullich called Action Directe in Frankenjura.

The first 5.15a is often debated and comes down to Open Air by Alex Huber in 1996 (Huber graded it 5.14d, but Ondra upgraded it), Orujo (unrepeated) in Malaga by Bernabe Fernandes in 1998 or Chris Sharma’s Realization in Ceuse.

The first-ever claimed 5.15b was by Fred Rouhling in 1995 called Akira (unrepeated). There was some controversy around the first ascent, but recently some climbers have backed the grading.

In 2008, Chris Sharma climbed Jumbo Love 5.15b (repeated by Ethan Pringle) in California. And the first 5.15c was Change (unrepeated) by Adam Ondra in Flatanger.


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