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Adam Ondra Halfway up the Dawn Wall in Yosemite

Adam Ondra has been spotted halfway up the Dawn Wall in Yosemite by spectators in the valley. While there have been no official updates, reports suggest Ondra is on or near the crux 5.14d pitch-15. Ondra arrived in Yosemite last week and started up the Dawn Wall on Monday. On his first day, Ondra climbed the first seven pitches and fixed ropes. That night he climbed to the top of pitch 10. There is no word how many climbers are assisting Ondra on the wall, but in an interview he mentioned climbing with Czech partners. There have been no comments on how much of the route Ondra has freed.

Ondra spent time with Kevin Jorgeson, who was with Tommy Caldwell on the Dawn Wall’s first ascent, to talk about beta and jumaring techniques. After pitch 10, Ondra said, ““We started pretty late yesterday and the fact that we are very inexperienced was obvious right from the beginning—I’ve done a lot of jugging up in my life, but only sport climbing and always using one GriGri and one ascender. Bad technique resulted in being super slow and tired after having jugged up the first seven pitches. It was 3:30 p.m. by that time, so I managed to get to the top of pitch 10 until it got dark.

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“It was quite intense, a lot of bold climbing again, especially on pitch 10, which is another horrendous layback with poor protection. A combination of aid climbing, French-freeing and fear got me to the top without ripping out any of my pieces of pro. I didn’t feel like going for more adventure in the dark, so we just fixed our ropes and I tried pitches seven, eight and 10 (5.14a, 5.13d and 5.14a) on toprope with headlamp. These pitches are not only bold, but freaking hard too! Definitely no easy grades for these ones—Tommy and Kevin are tough guys! I tried the moves all over again to get some confidence and we got back to the camp by 12:30 at night. Big day for sure.”⠀

American climber Andrew Bisharat wrote in an article for National Geographic, “If Ondra managed to repeat the Dawn Wall with his own free ascent on his first trip to Yosemite, it would easily be one of the greatest achievements in climbing, and certainly speak to Ondra’s genius as a skilled free climber.”