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King of Climbing Adam Ondra is Coming Back to Canada

Adam Ondra on Silence 5.15d

Adam Ondra is about to return to Canada (to speak at the Bow Valley Rock Fest) and to perhaps try some hard routes.

In April 2015, I wrote the below editorial for Gripped magazine after spending time with Adam Ondra in Squamish.

This was written before Ondra made the second ascent of the Dawn Wall and before he made the first free ascent of Silence, the world’s first 5.15d.

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: We have confirmed our speakers and we wanted to let you all know what's in store for July 13th 2018! Today, we'll let the cat out of the bag for just one (just to keep you at the edge of your seats)! . The Bow Valley Rock Fest is stoked to announce that the Czech crusher Adam Ondra will be one of our key speakers at this year's event! . . According to The Economist Ondra is "regarded as possibly the best climber ever to fondle rock". We are beyond stoked to have him visit us in the Bow Valley and cannot wait to hear him tell his stories on stage. Thanks for being apart of the 4th Annual Bow Valley Rock Fest Adam! . Check out http://www.adamondra.com/ if you need a refresher on who this talented, dedicated and highly motivated crusher is! Photo credit: Planet Mountain Site

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The King of Climbing Comes to Canada

I’ll admit it, I was star-struck when I met Adam Ondra. I have crossed paths with most of my climbing heroes, that’s what happens when you climb long enough, but there was never a star struck moment. Ondra is undoubtedly the world’s strongest climber. I’d been following his climbing career since he redpointed 5.14b at age 11. I knew how he climbed, his style and his trademark screams. It is fair to say that the 22-year-old Ondra is the king of climbing. On Mon., Feb. 16, after taking part in selecting the winning films at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, an honour in itself, I shook hands with Ondra beneath Canada’s iconic Grand Wall.

It was Ondra’s second day in Squamish. With his girlfriend Eva and Sonnie Trotter, a group of us travelled to Cheakamus Canyon. Trotter told me about their trip there the day before when Ondra attempted Pulse 5.14a. Trotter said Pulse was Ondra’s most impressive climb, despite not reaching the top. Pulse is on the Big Show and had water running down it when Ondra roped up. Steve Townshend said it would be hard to climb because of the dripping. There was a mandatory stick-clip to avoid an ankle breaking fall, but Ondra opted to go for the onsight without a stick clip. He flashed the first five bolts on slick, wet holds and sent the crux. The wall was too wet and he fell off. It was a bold attempt in less-than-perfect conditions.

Fighting jet lag and exhaustion, Ondra wanted to flash Chris Sharma’s Dreamcatcher 5.14d on the Cacodemon Boulder. Only Sharma, Sean McColl and Ben Harndon had sent the route. Arriving at the famous line, Ondra and Trotter talked about the moves. Then, like I’d seen in so many films, Ondra went into a deep trance. He disappeared under a boulder and mimed the moves. The damp coastal air was leaving moisture on the rock and it was cold out. With a dozen people watching, Ondra made the 5.12+ slab look easy. After methodically passing the first crux, he came to the thin pin scars. He took a long rest, exhaled a loud grunt and went for the difficult moves. He crossed his left hand high and slotted the tips of his fingers into a shallow seam. He looked calm and in control, but his left heel-hook popped and he fell off. I thought he had it.

I was expecting him to express his disappointment, but he got back on and made the final moves to the last crux where he worked the sequence. Worn-out, he lowered and fist-bumped the spectators. It was the strongest flash attempt to date. Before his second try, I asked how he liked Squamish and he said, “It’s quite hard climbing and very precise, I really like it.” Watching the king of climbing try to flash Canada’s hardest route was unforgettable. Thanks for the show Ondra and come back soon.