Adam Ondra Makes Quick Work Of Chilam Balam

Adam Ondra Makes Quick Work Of Chilam Balam

Much digital ink has been spilt over the past several years regarding the route Chilam Balam which is a 270 foot super route at southern Spain’s Villanueva del Rosario.  The route’s first ascent was claimed back in 2003 by Bernabé Fernández who, after 3 years of work on the route, proposed the unheard of grade of 5.15c.  The suggested grade combined with Fernández’s seeming lack of forthrightness regarding basic proof of his ascent (i.e. the name of his belayer) has left the ascent as a topic for debate ever since.

The mystique over the route only grew as it rebuffed efforts by the likes of Dani Andrada and Chris Sharma which begged the question:  would anyone ever put in the time necessary to repeat this route?  If so, how long would it take them and what would they say about the all important grade.  Reports surfaced in the past couple of weeks that Sharma and the red hot Adam Ondra would soon be making a trip to give the route a serious effort, so it seemed like we could have an answer to these questions sooner rather than later.  How soon?  Pretty soon as it turns out.

UKClimbing is reporting that Ondra repeated the line after just 4, yes 4, tries.  Despite the quick work Ondra apparently felt the route was somewhere in the 5.15b range which would be hard to believe if he didn’t just get done onsighting a slew of 5.14cs last month.  I think it’s safe to say he’s feeling pretty fit right now.

Of course Ondra’s repeat doesn’t really do anything to confirm or deny the veracity of Fernández’s ascent although it does seem to confirm the route’s difficulty.  If Fernández did in fact do the route it was among the hardest in the world for some time until Sharma came along and did the FA of Jumbo Love some 5 years later… at the time

Update: 9b has a good write-up on the history of Chilam Balam

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19 Responses to Adam Ondra Makes Quick Work Of Chilam Balam

  1. Eric Crews April 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    nice reporting.

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  2. Calvin Hwang April 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Just 4 tries? Wow.

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  3. Dand April 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    WOW, 4 tries! It really seems like Adams is by far the best in the world, at least on sport routes, i can see why the film keeps getting put on hold, just when you think hes achieved something great, he does something better. But if he has footage of all these ascents plus earlier years, its going to sell amazingly well

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    • Narc April 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      No kidding, right? At this rate the movie is going to have to be 4 hours long!

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      • Dand April 13, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

        i hope it is, that would be awesome.

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      • Dylan April 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

        I’d watch the whole thing.

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      • mike April 14, 2011 at 2:09 am #

        The Ondra Trilogy

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  4. Gelu April 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    According to desnivel.com (http://desnivel.com/escalada-roca/adam-ondra-encadena-chilam-balam, in Spanish) after sending Chilam Balam he went on and onsighted La rubia (8c+) and Queimada (8b+).

    AMAZING

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  5. Anonymous April 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    WOW..
    But hardest route in the world for some time? What about Akira? Fred Rouhling climbed it in 1995 and it might very well be 9b

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    • Narc April 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Valid point. Saying something was the hardest ever at a certain point is somewhat of a gray area since grades change and most of the routes are unconfirmed until much later.

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  6. Tyler April 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    I don’t understand. If Ondra can climb 5.15b’s in just four tries, why hasn’t he put up any 5.15c’s? I mean, I know he’s in school and therefore can’t take months to project something, but if he can climb a 15b after lets say 2 hours of effort, it seems like 15c would only take him a couple of days, max…

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    • Dylan April 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

      I think the 4 tries probably took a lot more than 2 hours all told, though I could be wrong. Even for Ondra, a good rest is probably in order between burns on an endurance route of this magnitude.

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      • SeanP April 14, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        Some fun facts from the desnivel link Gelu posted..

        The 4 tries were spread out over 2 days and the route took Ondra 40 minutes to climb on his redpoint burn, where as it took Bernabe over an hour.

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    • Narc April 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

      Well, it took him almost 2 weeks of effort to do a different 5.15b (Golpe de Estado) last year so a lot of it depends on the route. It will be interesting to see what he can do once he gets done with school and can spend even more time focused on climbing.

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    • Colin April 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      @ Tyler

      Maybe he doesn’t like to project the bejesus out of a route. I and many other climbers get bored and frustrated with drawn out projects. Not everyone enjoys the being maniacally devoted, to borrow a Sharma phrase, to climbing a particular piece of rock when there are so many other, nice looking ones around.

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  7. Sean Miller April 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    9a+ surely?.. Someone get this kid on jumbo love

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  8. Bkrajacich April 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    He seems to say low end 9b now.

    (from UKClimbing article)

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