Winner: Adam Ondra
The Czech Republic’s strongest 147-pound man has already won three Golden Pitons for sport climbing—four if you count last year’s piton for La Dura Dura, the 5.15c route that Ondra redpointed first. But compared to many top European climbers, he’d only dabbled in competitions. In 2014 he set out to change that, dedicating most of his year to training specifically for the pressure-cooker, put-it-all-on-the-line forum of international comps.
The 22-year-old also had decided to begin university studies, and training for comps was a good fit. “Traveling around and climbing badass rock is amazing, but you might lose focus after a while, because it might get almost too relaxing,” Ondra said. “I wanted to experience a very organized and structured way of life.”
Ondra began the “toughest training regime” he had ever done. For the first time he worked with a climbing coach: 2009 lead world champion Patxi Usobiaga from Spain. On the months-long World Cup circuit, Ondra’s results were inconsistent: a few wins, but also events where he didn’t even make semifinals. But Ondra’s primary goal—and the focus of all his training—was the lead climbing world championship. It surprised even him when he narrowly won the bouldering world championship in August. Then, at the lead climbing contest a few weeks later, Ondra took the prize he’d hoped for—the first time anyone has won both the bouldering and lead world championships in the same year.
Two Questions With Adam Ondra
Which comp climber do you admire the most?
The superiority of Jain Kim [the Korean ranked No. 1 among female lead climbers] is mind-blowing!
What’s your plan for 2015?
I have no idea yet. Wherever my heart will bring me, I will go.