Last year Adam Ondra made his first trip to England, and despite the fact that he managed to quickly repeat 2 5.14ds and onsight a handful of hard 5.13s he had to do something that seems very uncharacteristic: leave with unfinished business. Despite his best efforts he was unable to do the second ascent of Steve McClure’s route Overshadow (5.15a) at Malham Cove.
In the year since Ondra has somehow gotten even better at climbing, so it should surprise no one that when he returned to England last week he was able to clean up Overshadow in relatively short order. Writing on his blog Steve McClure had this to say about Ondra’s efforts:
At last he [Ondra] repeated Overshadow and I think reckoned it was a hard 9a+ [5.15a]. 7 days of effort confirmed what I always thought, it’s just a hard route to do! That sounds obvious, but its one of those routes that should be easier, but just doesn’t give up, spitting you off when glory was already half grasped. I watched him zip up the start yesterday. Amazing. It was also amazing how our sport is so open to all, with Adam, the best climber in the world, swapping goes on the first part of the route with Carl Bacon who made a cool redpoint of Overnite Sensation (8a+). Adam was just as psyched for Carl as Carl was for him. We are all equal really, just people, trying hard on great routes.
If you’re keeping score at home, Overshadow is Ondra’s 7th route 5.15a or harder…since February!
Update: Not done, Ondra has also onsighted Bat Route (5.14b) and redpointed Rainshadow (5.14d). He also came close to repeating Total Eclipse (5.14c/d), but he was stymied by a soaked finish:
Unfortunately the top section was soaking wet, blatantly obvious even for spectators 100m away. He came close, but slipped off! Back on the ground he explained the moves, a few monster reaches, perhaps above me considering my XXX cm shorter reach. 8c+/9a was the grade. It seemed almost arrogant that someone could come down after just an hour on a route, and who would certainly have done it had it been dry, and claim such a high grade. But then you remember, this is Ondra. There is no arrogance, he simply is that good!!