Home > International

Watch Adam Ondra Find Cool Kneebar on 5.14d/15a in Arco

And learn about some of his oldest downgrades

Stefano Ghisolfi made the first ascent of Beginning post-covid lockdown and graded it 5.14d/15a. When Adam Ondra visited Arco a few weeks ago, he made a quick second ascent and suggested a possible downgrade thanks to a tricky kneebar he found.

Ondra is notorious for downgrading routes. In Canada, he downgraded Evan Hau’s Honour and Glory from 5.15a to 5.14d. Two of his most famous downgrades were Pure Imagination and Golden Ticket at Red River Gorge which he notched down from 5.14d to 5.14c back in 2012.

View this post on Instagram

Arco or the area around @gardatrentino never ceases to deliver! I have ticked some of the remaining routes and got psyched to return to try some of the new projects that seem to be popping up everywhere. In two days that I got to climb in Arco I climbed: Beginning 9a/a+ FA by @steghiso It is very resistant route combining two harder parts of two 8c+'s – St Anger and Zauberfee, with a pretty interesting section to link these two routes. Fortunately (or unfortunately because it partly ruined the beauty of the route) I found a kneebar (see a photo) that made it much less pumpy and let me climb it on my second go. It might only be hard 9a with the kneebar. On the other hand, I believe that without this rest it might be more 9a+. I also climbed Sid Lives in Nago (originally 9a, but probably more 8c+) and first ascent of Atene naturale 9a in Massone. Pic by @giampaolocalza in Beginning.

A post shared by Adam Ondra (@adam.ondra) on

Here’s what he said after those downgrades: “”Yes, in all honesty I confirm that I didn’t find any of these climbs hard enough for 5.14d. Believe me, I don’t want to offend anyone, but for me personally Pure Imagination felt even easier, although I know it’s ideal for my body constitution and finger strength. There nothing but sharp incuts with jugs in between. Golden Ticket felt way harder. It’s not the most obvious for an on-sight and it doesn’t fit my style as much.

“But I climbed with a psyched and empty mind. I knew I already had some great ascents in the bag and there was nothing to lose. No space for fear or doubts… I simply kept climbing, fighting hard and somehow I made it to the chain of what might definitely be my hardest onsight to date. We have six more days in the Red before returning to Europe. It would definitely be interesting to check out Jumbo Love, but I have planned my timetable for some unfinished business back there and this has priority.”

Jumbo Love is a 5.15b at Clark Mountain in California that was first climbed over a decade ago by Chris Sharma. Ondra has never tried the monster route, but it has been repeated.

Kneebar on Beginning