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Ondra Talks About La Dura Dura (5.15c)

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2/8/13 – Climbing reached out to Adam Ondra after his ascent of La Dura Dura (5.15c). Here’s what the 20-year-old Czech climber had to say about one of the world’s hardest sport climbs.

You spent nine weeks trying this route. Can you estimate how many goes you gave it?In terms of tries, nine weeks makes 63 days that I stayed in Oliana. I climbed roughly 60 percent of the days; that’s more than 37 days, and I gave it an average one or two tries a day. Seventy tries could be somewhere close to the truth.

How does La Dura Dura compare to Change [the 5.15c Adam did in October]?The route is significantly harder than any 9b (5.15b) I have ever done; I am quite sure it is 9b+ (5.15c). The route was harder for me than Change, but that one fits my style better. There are very specific moves that require a lot of flexibility, which was perfect for me [on Change]. In general, I think both of them are equally difficult to repeat, and both of them deserve the grade of 9b+.

Can you describe La Dura Dura?It is really bouldery at the beginning and pumpy later on. In the first 15 moves, only about eight meters could be 9b/b+ on itself. Big reaches on crimpy holds and underclings that lead into a huge span rightward onto a crimp, and dyno from there onto a good hueco. It includes four boulder problems, from bolt to bolt, with four moves on each of them. [They break down] to V9, V9, V12, and V11.

After this section, there is only a 5.14c section to go. You climb four meters more into the kneebar move, which is super-awkward and tricky. Not a proper no-hands rest, but it is possible to cool down a little. The next six meters are really intense. Shoulder-breaking dyno into big reaches on pinches and crimps with two “stop” moves right below the jug. Here I fell off four times during the last week. Up to there, it is about 20 meters of climbing. If you stopped there, it would be same grade. But it is nicer to go to the top, for which you still need to climb 20 meters of 5.13d.

[The crux is] the last two moves, but the actual linking crux is above the kneebar. I can’t really count how many times I fell in the huge span rightward.

How does it feel to finally have this route done? It feels as good as anything. My ascent of Change might have been a little more emotional, as I bolted it myself and I felt like I learned 15 years of climbing I could use in that route. Just finding that line was a great feeling, and sending it was a great present on top, especially as I almost quit believing I would do it last year.

Whereas La Dura Dura was more a question of patience. For the last week, I knew the day would come; I only wished it would have come as soon as possible. Now I feel rather relieved, but still as good as anything.

How does it feel to have finished the ascent before Chris? You guys climbed together a lot on this project. It is suprising to me, but not so important. If I bolted, it would be a different story. Why suprising? When I left in December, Chris was close; he did all the hard moves of the first part, but he slipped off the next “easy” move. Such a bummer. I wanted him to send it. He would deserve it so much. And I knew that if he sent, I would be even more psyched to finish it off.

2/7/13 – Adam Ondra has finally made the first ascent of La Dura Dura in Oliana, Spain. This route was a joint project by Ondra and Chris Sharma, and was featured in the latest Reel Rock Film Tour (video below). La Dura Dura (“The Hard Hard”) is thought to be 5.15c—and one of the world’s hardest sport routes.

Ondra made at least five trips to Spain devoted solely to La Dura Dura, and after nine weeks of effort, he grabbed the FA. While training for this climb, Ondra called the route his “obsession.” Looks like all that hard work paid off!

In October, Ondra made the first ascent of Change in Flatlanger, Norway. It’s yet to be repeated, but he believes it is solid 5.15c (which would be the world’s first of the grade). Yesterday, Sharma announced that he had finished one of his other projects in Santa Linya, Spain, that he called Stoking the Fire and called 5.15b. It’s been a big week for hard sport climbing.

Date of ascent: February 7, 2013

Source: Big Up Productions

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