Adam Ondra Climbs His 100th 5.14d Or Harder

Finally.

Other than the sheer absurdity of the number, what I find most interesting about this is that Ondra did his first 5.14d way back in 2006 when he was just 13.  Since then a number of incredible young climbers have come along – Enzo Oddo, Ashima Shiraishi, Mirko Caballero  to name just a few – but Ondra’s record in all aspects of climbing is really unmatched.  Incredible.

Posted In: Asides, News, Sport Climbing
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45 Responses to Adam Ondra Climbs His 100th 5.14d Or Harder

  1. P Campbell December 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    Wow that is absurd. Will anyone EVER be as good? I would say possibly not.

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    • DanOsmanSuperFan December 4, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      I just got a fingerboard and a pullup bar setup in my room. You might want to give me a few months before you rush to any judgements.

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      • Narc December 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

        Standing by

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    • James December 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      EVER is a long time. I think Megos will catch up to him soon and eclipse him in the future.

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      • Narc December 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

        They are pretty close in age though…

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        • James December 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

          They’re both 21 i think.

          I would really want to see Ondra doing some serious bouldering again like he did in 2010-11.

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      • Peter December 5, 2014 at 5:39 am #

        Talking of Ondra and Megos
        I was watching the work session of the la sportiva competition and I must say I was surprised by Megos, in a positive way.

        It was quickly quite clear that Ondra could climb all the problems, for him it was a question of executing.
        Alex, on the other hand, made remarkable progress from the first tries to the show itself, working with solutions and finding bodyposition. In the end he was quite close on all problems, I wouldn´t guess in the beginning when many moves looked too far and too powerful for him. I take that as a valuable ability, whether it is physical or mental.

        Of course, different boulders suits different climbers and form can vary. After all the idea with this happening is to make a show rather than name the best climber. Nevertheless, Interesting to see them work the problems side by side.

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  2. Frode Mauritsen December 5, 2014 at 3:06 am #

    In my humble opinion, no, I don’t think Ondra’s records are going to be matched any time soon. A significant quantum leap will be necessary, we are talking decades.
    As a climber, Ondra was both born and raised having rolled way too many 6 on many aspects of climbing
    – born into a family of passionate, compuslive climbers: tick
    – advantageous body frame: tick
    – being relatively close (say, “long weekend close”) to a number of crags covering many types of rock (Czech and German limestone and sandstone, Austrian granite): tick
    – madly driven and motivated: tick
    – so much comp experience to have a positive impact on his rock climbing: tick
    – so much rock climbing to have a positive impact on his comp climbing: tick
    – clearly passionate about so many aspects of climbing (history, training, boulders, multipitch) to, again gain strengths or in any way advantages from all of them: tick
    – most/all types of mental strength needed (focus for onsights, long term motivation for redpoints, discipline for structured training, nerves for comps)

    Although the names mentioned by Brian WILL be great climbers in the future and it really looked like Ashima was going to surpass achievements of Adam as a young teenager, if you look at the onsight record and possibly take away the RRG/Margalef stuff, there’s no contest.

    For those who might care:

    Number of routes at the maximum onsight level at age 11
    Ondra: 8a+ × 11
    Mirko Caballero: 8a+ × 1
    Brooke Raboutou: 8a+ × 1
    Shawn Raboutou: 7c+ × 1
    Cam Hörst: 7c × 3

    Number of routes at the maximum onsight level at age 12
    Ondra: 8b × 9
    Mirko Caballero: 8b × 1 (flash)
    Ashima Shiraishi: 8a+ × 1
    Shawn Raboutou: 8a × 1
    Cam Hörst: 7c+ × 2

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    • Andrew December 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      I disagree that it will be decades… I would guess around 15 years, and no quantum leap will be necessary, just time for current 6 year olds to grow up.
      The worldwide number of youth climbers has grown a fair bit since then, and while Ondra is clearly an outlier from his generation of gym-bred climbers, the generation growing up now is larger and its top couple of climbers will be better. It took what, a decade, for Ondra to show up and knock Sharma off the throne.
      I guess the history of rock climbing is full of people says climbs couldn’t possibly get much harder/climbers couldn’t possibly get much better. I think the rate of progress might slow, because I can’t see a new revolution similar to the gym revolution occurring. But the growth in numbers of people with a background like Adam, who may just be starting climbing now, makes me think a new child phenom will appear in the next couple of years and surpass Adam in the next 15.

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      • Frode Mauritsen December 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

        The question is: how much more quality and quantity of climbing can be packed into a growing child/adolescent without crossing the line of being forceful? I say very little compared to the current generation, whereas clearly the previous one (Sharma, Graham, Andrada, Ramonet, Usobiaga) were absolutely late starters by today standards. But we are reaching a plateau. Ondra started as a child (5, 6?). How much earlier can you start? It’s still a physical sport, it’s not chess or violin playing, and in fact it’s been already shown that hardcore training as a youth could bring affect health performance by the time you are an adult.

        The second one: how much more genetically gifted than an Ondra/Megos can you possibly be? The two guys are already bordering some pretty sci-fi body frames, very well suited for hardcore climbing, but again, you can’t expect people with that physique to come to life in hundreds or thousands of specimen AND to end up being climbers too.

        To me, nature and nurture have pretty much reached a near-plateau.

        The one thing that could make a difference would be a serious step forward in training methods and injury prevention, but that will most likely require climbing to become bigger in terms of business and I reckon that takes time, especially with climbing failing to make it to the Olympics (it doesn’t quite make a difference to us but it’s a loss of currently unaware “customers”).

        The only advantage I think newer generations will have is the usual one: they’ll be standing on the shoulder of giants. They’ll know 9a OS is possible, they’ll know where the 9b+ routes and hard 8C boulders are, they’ll have a bazillion videos of people on Biographie and so on.

        But just way too many things fell into the right place when it came to all the elements that constitute Ondra and Megos. I don’t think there’ll be ANY SOON a generation that, at age 13-14, will climb as hard as these two climb at age 21 (which is what their generation did to the previous one).
        As good as possible, slightly better maybe, but there’ll never be that difference again.
        Of course, it’s just one man’s opinion…

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    • Keith December 10, 2014 at 1:15 am #

      And the try hard award goes to…

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  3. Dave December 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    This is an amazing accomplishment and there is no doubt that Adam is The Man. But to say no one will ever be better in a young sport like climbing seems silly. I think it’s unlikely we will see situations like now where one guy has a dramatically better resume, but the pack always catches up and it isn’t hard to imagine 10 years from now 10 guys as good as he is.

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  4. the menace December 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    Adam is good but until he sent la dura dura Chris was the man. And in my opinion he will always be the man. Look at the thread on videos that get you psyched. How many times is Sharma mentioned?

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    • Frode Mauritsen December 7, 2014 at 3:28 am #

      “Adam is good but until he sent la dura dura Chris was the man”
      Factually incorrect. Already by April 2011, Adam was leading. He had caught up with Chris on the number of 9b routes sent, including the notorious Chilam Balam which Chris had projected but couldn’t send. Adam did it in 4 days. And by then had already sent already a number of 8c+ routes onsight, whereas Sharma’s highest OS grade was and still is 8c.
      You can have a preference on whoever you want, by this reasoning my next door neighbour could be a 5.11 climber and still be “the man” in my opinion.
      But any sort of objective discussion should be based on the most objective elements available, hardest routes sent in the shortest time in this case…

      “Adam is good” LOL

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      • James December 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

        It isn’t as clear cut as that. Sharma has some very hard routes which are conservatively graded like Three Degrees of Separation, Es Pontas etc. Then there’s Jumbo Love, the first 9b. That one should be the benchmark for all 9bs but not many top climbers have tried it due to its location. Ethan Pringle said that it is much harder than any route he’s tried and he has tried other 9bs. Who knows how hard Jumbo Love is?

        Megos sent Biographie/Realization in 3 tries whereas Ondra needed 11. Is Megos better than Ondra even now?

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        • Frode Mauritsen December 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

          Good points, but that’s when the onsight or quick work record becomes useful, because hard onsights and 1-day repeats are almost always done on routes that have been redpointed by many and have a pretty confirmed grade. And again, redpoint could mean anything from second go after having been lowered after a fall to months of projecting with the crux re-built in your home gym.

          With regard to Jumbo Love, Chris graded it 9b. Three months later he climbed two other hard projects in Spain and graded them 9b too. One of these has been confirmed by Ondra as 9b, the other one has been projected by Midtbø for a long time and he thinks it’s 9b. Sharma explained that there’s different shades of “9b”, from the soft Neanderthal (the third one he sent) to the hard 9b of FRFM. He didn’t seem to hint that Jumbo Love could be anything more than 9b, hard 9b at best.
          As for Es Pontas, it’s a tricky one because it’s DWS, neither Ondra nor Megos dabble in that. In the same way, I wouldn’t bring bouldering into the matter because Chris hasn’t dedicated himself to bouldering propery in ages, who’s to say he wouldn’t climb the stuff Woods, Webb and Nalle are climbing?

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        • InternetClimbingSpeculatorSansCredentials December 9, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

          Why should Jumbo love be the benchmark moreso than any other 9b? As far as Jumbo Love is concerned, wouldn’t Chilam Balam actually be the first confirmed 15b (9b) even though it was initially proposed as 15c? OR what about Akira?

          Also since Adam Ondra upgraded White Rose wouldn’t’ Alex Huber have been the first to climb 15a back in the nineties?

          And does thinking this way mean that Chris Sharma isn’t a great rock climber? ( I love Chris Sharma)

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          • Frode Mauritsen December 10, 2014 at 6:28 am #

            That’s all pretty correct.
            Sharma was not the very first person to climb 9a+. But he was the first one to climb the grade consistently, and the same goes for 9b (although Fernandez’ ascent was not confirmed beyond reasonable doubt and akira is also a big question mark). And that’s a quite significant achievement. “First to do grade X after a million tries at his local crag on a route that suited his strengths” never really said much to me. That’s why Ondra’s record is so impressive. He just sends hard regardless of form, rock type, route type, location, you name it.

            Ah, quality trolling by some people. For all you know, what I have learned, I might have learned from others at the *surprise surprise* crag when I was there climbing.
            Plus you sentimentalists and non-quantitative people can talk about the good old days of spiritual climbing, explorative climbing, countercultural climbing all you like. On other topics. Or, even better, at the crag.
            What’s the point of coming online and arguing just to complain about people being online and arguing?

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  5. The menace December 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

    Well I am partial to sharma as he was the only one pushing the sport when I started climbing. I am still blown away by how you folks know so much about these pro climbers. How do you know all these details on the various sends? How about who has put up the most FAs.

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  6. David December 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    A relevant point to add is that the best always stand on the shoulders of other greats. It seems remarkable that Ondra has over 100 routes at this grade available to climb. and he’s only pioneered a few of them. How many 9as did Sharma have in the late 90s? maybe 10? Earlier phenoms like Wolfgang Gullich had none!

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    • James December 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      It’s not like Sharma ran out of routes to do. He never repeated THE routes of that time: Hubble, Bronx, Superplafond, For an old bicycle and a small dog, Action Directe, Om, Weisse Rose etc. That is why he was hesitant to grade his own routes. He didn’t have a reference point.

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  7. Carl December 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    from the interview he did with planet mountain about this feat:

    http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=42342

    “The list includes all those you feel are 9a. But you’ve also downgraded many; if you hadn’t done so, you would have reached 100 much earlier. Is this correct?

    It could be true. To be honest, I don’t keep track of it, you can see it on my 8a.nu scorecard. Regarding the grading I have always tried to be honest and if I felt that certain routes deserve a downgrade, I’ve suggested that. But I have never downgraded a route in order to appear more “brave and humble”. Honesty is key.”

    I’m assuming he’s using “brave and humble” with the Narc’s permission.

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  8. Phlarry December 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Wow. In some casual morning web surfing I came across this. I wouldn’t presume to detract from Adam Ondra’s climbing achievements. Indeed, it is really inspiring to see. Regarding the comments section though…I’m sad to say it, but this discussion makes me worry that climbing is going the way of American football with it’s innumerable commentators and emphasis on achieving high numbers in some kind of sick novelty-worship cult.

    I have an old friend who is really into professional sports. He knows all the stats, who is performing at what level and his life seems caught up in talking about this incessantly. He is a virtual sports encyclopedia and can cite performance data on many top athletes by rote going back years, The funny thing is, he is a lard-ass that doesn’t actually engage in sports. In fact, he gets winded going up a flight of stairs. I took him to the crag once to introduce him to sport climbing and “Mr. Sports” could scarcely make the hike in. We don’t hang out anymore.

    Regarding the comments above in particular and modern climbing generally, I’ll offer this: the loudest opinions come from the most annoying of spectator-experts who seem to have no life outside of climbing talk. Frankly, you all can keep your commentary and scorecard analysis and opinions about who the next “phenom” might be and when he or she might descend like Christ from Heaven on the Glowing Clouds of Glory to bless humanity with their achievements. I’ll be too busy having fun living a full life that includes climbing to care much.

    The purest part of climbing is actually going outside and doing it. Good day.

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    • David December 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      Phlarry, us lard-asses enjoy nerding out Fox-sports style. enjoy your day out climbing!

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    • DBR December 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

      Do you live somewhere where it never rains? Might as well troll around on the internet and learn about climbing history in the making. Plus who doesn’t want to know silly trivia like how many 1-arms the pooch can pull. (https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=806339366091867&set=vb.116408721751605&type=2&theater)

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    • Ian December 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

      You stopped hanging out with your friend because he got out of shape (on some arbitrary metric of in-shape as selected by you)? That is very pure indeed, your friend must be sorry to have lost you.

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  9. Keith December 10, 2014 at 1:13 am #

    Can’t we all just be psyched for someone? Why does it matter who’s stronger? GUESS WHAT. They’re all a hell of a lot stronger than us.

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  10. spicelab December 10, 2014 at 3:08 am #

    It’s nigh on impossible to pick trolls these days…

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  11. matt December 10, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Everyone thought there would never be another Michael Jordan, and 15 years later, we are blessed with King James.

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    • sierrasteeps December 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Um… LeBron is no Jordan. Not even close. Jordan 6-0 in Finals and 6 times Finals MVP; Lebron 2-3 in Finals (including getting swept the first time). But that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

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      • Scott December 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

        By your metric, we are really waiting on another Bill Russell or Sam Jones, I mean, they won 11 and 10 championships respectively, so they are obviously WAY better than Michael Jordan ever was.

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        • sierrasteeps December 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

          Bill Russel is without a doubt, one of the players that may be equivalent to Jordan. The only knock on Russel Would be the different level of competition at the time (ABA peanuts for $, vs NBA millions= different levels of top athletes trying the sport – similar somewhat to climbing; no $ means some of the best young athletes don’t try it)

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  12. David December 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Hahaha, this digression about bball is amazing. Phlarry’s worst nightmare about climbers has just come true!

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    • Frode Mauritsen December 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      Too true! I know little about basketball, but I’m loving it. Not only sierrasteeps and Scott know their climbing trivia and stats, but they are as knowledgeable, or more, in basketball too 😀

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    • Narc December 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      I know I’m enjoying it

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      • Scott December 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

        Wikipedia can turn any man from myth to legend in internet banter.

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      • ky6er December 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

        Wow, my two favorite worlds just collided, I guess it would’ve been more likely to happen here than Grantland or Truehoop.. so, I don’t think it exists too much in the climbing world but in basketball you have haters of certain players, like some people really hate Lebron James or Melo or whoever, which has always been strange to me, like do people really not like basketball maybe? because its pretty fun to watch Lebron James play basketball. It’ll be interesting to see if climbing ever gets like that.

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        • sierrasteeps December 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

          There already is splash over from other sports–look at thread above or the even more speculative fan boy arguments on 8a concerning climbers, down grades, how they did the problem/route etc. In a way, with new high-end ratings, the internet audience plays judge and jury the same way mainstream sport debates “whose the best.” As far as Ondra and Sharma (just for fun) I’d almost say Sharma is LeBron-esque with Ondra showing Kobe-esque tendencies (both 1 step below Jordan). Sharma is physically gifted, a winner, a stylistic pioneer, was way ahead of most or all of his peers – but maybe lacks a touch of Jordan/Kobe’s combativeness. Ondra has all of the Sharma attributes described above but also has that “beyond reason” desire that Jordan/Kobe had.
          I think our sport is way too young to anoint the best ever or best of all time; but certainly things that Ondra and Honnold (for the guys) are doing are setting a very, very high bar (and, most recently, are built on the shoulders of great climbers like Gullich, Moon, Huber, Sharma; Croft and Bachar). I’m hoping we’ll get a little Magic and Larry Legend action going with Megos and Ondra where they really keep pushing each other as peers.

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  13. Dustin Boston December 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I wonder if Ondra can dunk

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    • Crimpin' Ain't Easy December 11, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      I’ve never seen Ondra and Varejao in the same room together…

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  14. Frode Mauritsen December 13, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Interesting similitudes between top climbers and top basketball players, but I think you are overlooking two aspects

    1 – sport climbing is not a team sport (unlike basktball)
    2 – sport climbing is not a direct competition sport (unlike, for instance, tennis)

    Because of this, I think that comparisons can be mercilessly clear in climbing much more than in other sports. I think absolute records (i.e. not trophies won over competitors, but the actual record, although the two often coincide) for athletics and swimming can be a better comparison.
    Unless holds break or significantly easier betas are found, a route will remain the same challenge and test through the years, already in other branches of climbing (high altitude, trad climbing), the continuous evolution of materials and gear makes it difficult to make comparison with exploits from different decades. Not so for sport climbing (in which I include bouldering too).

    I do agree that the word “best” conveys a number of meanings, many of which it is hard to put a finger on. “Best performing” is probably a better term for it.

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  15. patty cakes December 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    I’d like to see Ondra OS the nose

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    • HeMan December 14, 2014 at 6:42 am #

      Me too! I’d put money on him being able to. Well, flash it at least. He does take his OS/Flash distinction pretty seriously and there’s no way he hasn’t seen footage of climbers on it. It would be cool to see him give a good OS at something like El Corazon and give the Captain its first free OS/flash. People like the Hubers and Nico Favresse made the transition from almost exclusive sport to Yosemite big wall free climbing pretty darn well, no reason Ondra couldnt.

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      • Andrew December 15, 2014 at 12:31 am #

        Not to mention he has beasted some big walls in Madagascar and Europe. Sport, but the Madagascar ones were granite and probably climb like the cruxes of El Cap routes (well… not the OW’s).

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