A for Effort: Ondra Almost Flashes Realization (5.15a)

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6/12/12 - With bated breath, the climbing community tuned in Friday as Adam Ondra attempted to flash Chris Sharma's Realization (5.15a), only a day after making the first ascent of Jungle Boogie, also a 5.15a, in Céüse, France. If he had succeeded, this would have been two letter grades harder than the world's hardest onsight.

“It had always been my long term crazy dream to flash this route,” Ondra says. “I kept postponing the idea because I was unsure of my capability, but this spring I finally decided to give it a go.”

Ondra gleaned beta from a video, committed it to memory, and then guided his girlfriend Inka to clean all the holds as she rappelled down the route. He flashed the original 5.14c section but fell going through the final crux where he had to stick a narrow pocket.

“It was far from being close,” Ondra says. “I was way too pumped to stick the move. Even more frustrating was that I didn’t send it on my second or third attempt. And then we had to leave Céüse, so I had to leave the business frustratingly unfinished.”

Ondra says that Realization was on his mind as he studied for his final exams in May, but he didn’t have time to train for it as hard as he had planned.

“My motivation was high and my self confidence in climbing has increased,” he says. “But unfortunately I don’t think I was in sufficient shape to make such a feat as flashing Realization.”

Biographie was bolted by Jean-Christophe Lafaille in 1989. In 1996, Arnaud Petit installed an anchor midway through and made the first ascent to that point at 5.14c. Chris Sharma made the route's full first ascent in 2001, famously renaming the route Realization, and infamously not attaching a grade. Much of Europe refers to the entire route as Biographie.

Even though this long-awaited flash didn't come to fruition, he still has plenty of other super-impressive ticks to fall back on. (Read: at least five 5.15b's and 12 5.15a's, and numerous 5.14c onsights.)

Realization has seen repeats by Sylvain Millet, Patxi Usobiaga, Dave Graham, Ethan Pringle, Ramón Julián Puigblanque, and Enzo Oddo.

Date of (non)ascent: July 8, 2012

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