5.15a Second Ascent for Ondra


5/23/11 - No rest for the (un)weary: on a recent trip to England, Adam Ondra snagged the second ascent of Steve McClure's Overshadow at Malham Cove, for which McClure proposed 5.15a after his FA in 2007.

Ondra visited Malham and Kilnsey in spring 2010, where he onsighted five 5.13d's (Magnetic Fields, Totally Free II, and Austrian Oak at Malham, in one day; Mandela and Full Tilt at Kilnsey, in one day) and managed ascents up to 5.14d (Northern Lights and North Star at Kilnsey, both McClure routes). "I love to see new places, and sport climbing in England is definitely a worthwhile destination, though visits from foreign countries are rare," Ondra said in an email. "I love the climbing at Malham. It is such complex climbing: technical and super powerful at the same time."

Ondra spent about three days on Overshadow last year to no avail. "An obvious challenge was the hardest route at Malham. I tried, tried hard and failed," he said. "I needed to return. I don't like leaving unfinished business behind." He returned this year to clinch the send after seven days (total) of effort. "It was already becoming a mental war," Ondra said. "I made so many mistakes, at first completely forgot an important toe-hook... My feet slipped so many times, once on the very top the second day of trying this year."

Here's how Ondra describes the crux: "It is at about 15 meters, after having done probably 8b [5.13d] with a little rest five moves below the crux. The crux consists of about five moves at 8A font grade [V11]. The worst thing is to do a long move into a right-hand sidepull—you are fully stretched, and you have to move your feet to the right while pulling desperately on that right-hand sidepull. The upper part is way easier, but continuous, I hadn't thought I would have fallen there, but I did twice."

Steve McClure says on his blog, "It’s just a hard route to do! That sounds obvious, but it's 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."

Below, Steve McClure on one of his routes, Rainshadow (5.15a), at Malham, England.

Date of ascent: May 16, 2011

Sources: 8a.nu, steve-mcclure.com