Adam Ondra Sends "Project Hard," Suggests 9c (5.15d)

Czech climber puts down his long-term Hanshelleren Cave, Norway, project

The Czech climber Adam Ondra has raised the bar for rock-climbing difficulty yet again, with a redpoint, on September 3, of his futuristic cave line Project Hard, in the massive granite grotto of the Hanshelleren Cave, Flatanger, Norway. In a short, somewhat-cryptic Instagram post, Ondra said, “I’m just really, really happy,” giving a small grin and looking stoked to have sent. 

The climb, tilted at a radically overhanging angle, is 45 meters long and stacked with difficult climbing and cruxes. It follows 20 meters of 5.13+ to a kneebar rest; from there, five meters of jug hauling lead to a 10-move V15 (you read that correctly: V15) crux involving upside-down toe-jamming and radical fingerlocks out a sliver of a crack on a hanging prow. Two more cruxes follow: one V13 and the other V9. Earlier this summer Ondra, as he prepared, had climbed a link-up he called Move Hard (5.15b), which combines his 2013 route Move (5.15b/c) with the upper climbing on Project Hard for a 5.15b linkup. He then “lowpointed” Project Hard from above the first 20 meters on up, a 5.15c endeavor in and of itself (though not technically a route).

Stay tuned to for more and check out the next issue of Climbing, the November issue (no. 258), for an exclusive interview with Ondra about his mental preparation for the climb, which may very well be the world’s first 9c/5.15d.