Ondra's Tough Enough: Madagascar 5.14


10/18/10 - News link: On his recent trip to Madagascar, Adam Ondra free-climbed Tough Enough, a 380-meter, 5.14a on the east face of the Karambony formation at the Tsaranoro Massif, in a single day. The Czech climber astoundingly onsighted eight of the 10 pitches, climbing the seventh and ninth pitches second try. The blank vertical wall is mostly featureless, with highly technical and finger-intensive moves and not one easy pitch (pitch breakdown: 5.12c, 5.13a, 5.13c, 5.12d, 5.13c, 5.13c, 5.14a, 5.14a (5.14b original), 5.14a, 5.13d). Ondra calls this "an extraordinary piece of rock!" on his 8a.nu scorecard.

Because the wall faces southeast and sees sun all afternoon, Ondra began his push early in the morning with cooler temperatures, then waited on a portaledge until the sun moved off the face.

Tough Enough has seen many free attempts: In 2005, a German team opened the route, and in 2007, another international team freed half the route's pitches. In 2008, French climbers Arnaud Petit, Stephanie Bodet, Sylvain Millet, and Laurent Triay freed all 10 pitches over the course of a month. Still, the route had not seen a single-day ascent.

During the 2008 French attempt, Triay bolted a variation on the eighth pitch, opening an 5.14a pitch rather than the original 5.14b. Three days after Ondra's single-day siege, he freed the original 5.14b eighth pitch.

That's not all for the Czech superstar. On the same trip, Ondra made the first free ascent of the 12-pitch, 5.14b Mora Mora, established by a Spanish team in 1999. He also redpointed Bravo les Filles (5.13d), a line originally established in 1999 by Lynn Hill, Beth Rodden, Nancy Faegen, and Kath Pike, and freed by Iker and Eneko Pou in 2004.

You can read an interview with Ondra about his climb on UKClimbing.com.

Below is a video of the 2008 French team's attempts on the route.

Dates of ascents: September-October 2010

Sources: UKClimbing.com, Planetmountain.com

Tough Enough - Madagascar Big Wall from WORKLESSCLIMBMORE Climbing Video on Vimeo.