Ondra Shines in the Alps

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Adam Ondra on the crux fifth pitch of Silbergeier (5.14a, 6 pitches) in the Swiss Alps.

Adam Ondra on the crux fifth pitch of Silbergeier (5.14a, 6 pitches) in the Swiss Alps.

Adam Ondra, the 14-year-old Czech phenom best known for his 5.14d redpoints, has repeated the legendary Alpine testpiece Silbergeier (5.14a, 6 pitches) and free-climbed Zub za Zub (5.14a, 5 pitches) on the limestone walls of the Rätikon in Switzerland.

During his Swiss trip, Ondra first attempted the unrepeated Antihydral (5.13d, 6 pitches), established by the late Harald Berger. Although he onsighted five of the six pitches, he did not free-climb the crux, which has likely been made more difficult by a broken hold.

On July 27, Ondra made a one-day ascent of Silbergeier, first free-climbed in 1994 by Beat Kammerlander. This was the eighth and by far the fastest ascent of this route, which, in addition to having five 5.13 or harder pitches, also features some testy redpoints, a result of Kammerlander bolting the route on the lead. Ondra flashed half the pitches and needed only one to three tries on the others. His speedy redpoint was aided, no doubt, by his belay partner, Ondra Benes, who made the seventh free ascent of the route last year.

Two days later, Ondra made the first redpoint ascent of Zub za Zub, established by a Czech team in 2004. He suggested 5.14a for the crux third pitch, which took him three tries to free climb; he onsighted all of the other pitches.

Any bulky leg muscles Ondra may have developed while hiking up to the Rätikon cliffs haven’t held him down on shorter climbs. He recently onsighted another 5.14a (Hot Chili Beans Volcano) and made the third ascent of Abyss (5.14d) in only three goes. Both routes are at Deverse (Gorges du Loup), France.

Dates of Ascents: July 2007

Sources:www.czechclimbing.com, www.planetmountain.com, www.8a.nu

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