What Makes the World’s Best Rock Climber Tick?

Video loading...

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

“Age of Ondra” is available to all Outside+ members, part of an extensive library of climbing and adventure sport films found in the Outside App. Watch the full film, or download the app here.

Adam Ondra is widely considered the best climber in the world. His accomplishments, passion, and tenacity are well known. But what makes him tick? What makes Adam Ondra, well, Adam Ondra? Reel Rock shines a light on the eccentric climber in a special three part series, “Age of Ondra.”

The film follows Ondra from his six-year-old self to his first 5.14d Action Directe when he was barely a teenager. From there, he ticked stout boulders like Dreamtime (V15) and Terranova (V16), before becoming the first male to win a World Championship in Bouldering and Lead Climbing in the same year. At 20, Ondra sent La Dura Dura (5.15c) after weeks of work alongside Chris Sharma. And just a few years later, Ondra repeated the Dawn Wall (5.14d) one year after its first ascent. The list goes on and on. “Age of Ondra” has barely enough runtime to crack the surface of his bonafides.

The second half of the episode follows Ondra during his attempt at climbing the since-named Silence (5.15d). The first route to ever receive such a lofty grade, Silence is a technical, 60-degree overhanging route that’s tucked away in the impressive Flatanger cave, in Central Norway.

The route doesn’t just push Ondra’s physical limits; it tests his preparation and mental fortitude, too. And it’s here we’re given a glimpse into the mind of a master. How does Ondra manage the internal and external pressures? How does he rise to a potentially impossible project? Watch “Age of Ondra” Part One and find out.

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.