/ NEWS: Adam Ondra has done Dawn wall

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UKC News - on 22 Nov 2016
Adam Ondra , 4 kbAfter having left all the difficult pitches of the Dawn wall behind, or rather below, him, the rest of the route was more or less a formality for Adam Ondra, but he still had to do it. And now he has!

Adam arrived in the valley 13 october and less than 7 weeks later he topped out on the...

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Wizzy - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

An astounding achievement
Greasy Prusiks on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

What's he done on grit?

Masters edge onsight.

Oh OK.

That's not funny anymore.

Yes it is.

No it isn't.




Now with the formalities out of the way, well done Adam!
Valkyrie1968 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

Is "Adam Ondra has done Dawn wall" really the best headline UKC could come up with? Admittedly it's a nice change from clickbait garbage ("you'll never guess what happened next!") and the NY Times's weirdly negative "Adam Ondra Expected a Short, Hard Climb. Now He’ll Be Happy Just to Finish." from before he was done, but still - it seems a little underwhelming for one of the most significant (and internationally newsworthy) ascents in history.

On a less pedantic note, what an incredible effort. As so many people have noted, Adam approached the whole thing with an unbelievable level of candour and humility, constantly crediting Tommy and Kevin's vision and apologising on the days when his climbing fell below his own, superhuman, standards: The fact that such traits were displayed by a man in the midst of such a magnificent athletic and mental achievement only makes him a more inspiring figure. I'm not sure how much credence there is to the notion that he was stepping entirely outside of his comfort zone, considering he's done (relatively) big walls before in Norway and his Czech sandstone background, but he's clearly adapted to a different climbing style, in terms of moving on thin, technical granite, unbelievably quickly. What's more, he was the first to take on the biggest, most obvious challenge in rock climbing, and to do so so publicly and openly, in the knowledge that his audacity would bring him international, non-climbing, news coverage, regardless of his success, speaks volumes, considering his relative lack of experience.

The recurring theme in the social media posts from Adam and Pavel seems to have been a simple, unadulterated love of climbing - of being on the rock, pushing himself, with a friend. One gets the feeling, looking through the posts, that Adam was, first and foremost, climbing for himself, for his own enjoyment and edification, and that the fact that he was doing so as part of a staggeringly significant ascent of the most famous route on the most famous bit of rock in the world was secondary.
GrahamD - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

Are there any good articles you have seen which puts the significance of this climb into perspective ? especially compared with the original style of ascent. Genuinely interested, as hyperbole seems to surround any ascents Yosemite so its sometimes hard to know.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> Is "Adam Ondra has done Dawn wall" really the best headline UKC could come up with?

"Adam Ondra has Climbed The Dawn Wall" might have been better but at least we have been spared "Dawn Wall for Adam".
SenzuBean - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> considering he's done (relatively) big walls before in Norway and his Czech sandstone background, but he's clearly adapted to a different climbing style, in terms of moving on thin, technical granite, unbelievably quickly.

He's done technical granite big walls years ago: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item/58371/interview_adam_ondra_is_tough_enough_-_madagascar (that was 6 years ago, wow).

Dawn Wall is a major step up of course, much harder, much more of it, much longer, and fickle conditions.

Hardonicus - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

Looking at the photo in the news item, he just seems to look a bit gnarlier than before? A fine effort.
In reply to GrahamD:
A bit about the original ascent and the effort they went to:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item/69418/the_dawn_wall_project_history_in_the_making

Hoping to get an in depth interview in the near future.
Valkyrie1968 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

I wouldn't say that UKC, Rock and Ice, etc. have put anything together yet that isn't, as you say, hyperbolic, - or at least anything that is substantiated hyperbole. What really put things into perspective for me in terms of how mind-blowingly good the guy must be was a post on the other channel, which compares the efforts of Tommy/Kevin and Adam:

> Ondra readily confessed himself that the smooth granite walls were not his style (i.e. not steep overhanging crimps) and need to be climbed relatively slowly compared to his normal style. Turns up and based on the Supertopo thread you quote has 23 days in the valley, of which 15 were on the wall, refining and adapting to the style of El Cap climbing whilst at the same time learning the route as he put fixed ropes up from the ground (can't find it now but I recall reading a quote by Jorgenson saying this was impressive as he and Caldwell had fixed ropes from the top for their work/push). He then set off on the 14th November, climbing pitches 1-9 in six hours (pitches 1-10 took Caldwell and Jorgenson 3 days). Ondra did pitches 10-13 on Day 2 then rested deliberately for a day before trying 14 which took him two days in the end but then he did pitch 15 second go the same day (Ondra 1-15 total of 5-days; Caldwell and Jorgenson both got through pitch 14 by day 7). No rest for Ondra and he climbed the loop pitch (16) and the next five pitches upto Wino tower (16-21 in a day total of 7 days; Caldwell reached Wino tower after 16-days whilst Jorgenson had been shut down by 15 he completed it that day). A forced rest day due to rain and he then climbed the remaining pitches on the eighth day (Jorgenson took two days to catch Caldwell up on Wino Tower and they then topped out the next day, total of 19 days on the wall).

UKC won't let me include a link, but the forum thread is entitled "The Ondrawad on Dawn Wall" and the post I'm quoting is on the eighth page.
GrahamD - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Hi Natalie it will be interesting. Obviously the significance of the first ascent is clear. For the layman, is Adam's ascent in the same style as the original ?
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> What really put things into perspective for me in terms of how mind-blowingly good the guy must be was a post on the other channel, which compares the efforts of Tommy/Kevin and Adam:

Not entirely a fair comparison because Caldwell and Jorgensen were both leading every pitch, whereas Ondra's partner was just there to belay and support. Caldwell certainly could have done it a lot quicker if only he had been leading.
James Malloch - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Not entirely a fair comparison because Caldwell and Jorgensen were both leading every pitch, whereas Ondra's partner was just there to belay and support. Caldwell certainly could have done it a lot quicker if only he had been leading.

Not taking anything away from them, but were they not quite open about swinging leads (though each led the crux's)?

I think the detailed (Addidas?) topo states which each of them led and top-roped.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to James Malloch:

> Not taking anything away from them, but were they not quite open about swinging leads (though each led the crux's)?

Fair enough, though obviously the hard pitches needing multiple attempts were the ones which slowed them.

AJM - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

That doesn't seem that consistent with the timeline lifted from ukb above, which suggests Ondra led every pitch to the crux about 2 full days faster than they swung leads on it and got through to wino tower in 7 days as opposed to 16 for Caldwell and 18 for Jorgenson - even allowing for some delay in Caldwell waiting in the earlier crux section (if he did - I forget) that's a considerable speed increase, and then Ondra obviously led every pitch to the top rather than swinging leads (the fa only both led on the very hardest pitches iirc).
AlexBush - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

You also have to take into account the 7 years Tommy Caldwell spent working out the pitches and training for specific moves. I'm not sure exactly how many days Adam spent on it but he has only been in the valley for a month!
Bulls Crack - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to AlexBush:

> You also have to take into account the 7 years Tommy Caldwell spent working out the pitches and training for specific moves. I'm not sure exactly how many days Adam spent on it but he has only been in the valley for a month!

That'll be because he's done stuff on grit
Valkyrie1968 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to AJM:

Not to take away from the interesting debate, but my intention with quoting that timeline wasn't to offer a value judgement on either ascent. Adam, as he's repeatedly stated, had the advantage of knowing that the route was possible thanks to Tommy and Kevin, and obviously feels indebted to them for opening the route in the first place; at no point does he seem to have been concerned with 'bettering' their achievements, only doing justice to their legacy. My initial post on this thread outlined the real significance of this ascent, which I think goes beyond pitch grades and times, but to address GrahamD's question about putting the significance of the climb in perspective - in terms of what stands out to me:

1. As UKB user slackline notes, Ondra did the first nine pitches in six hours; the grades for those, according to the UKC report Natalie linked, are 7b, 7c+, 8a+, 7b, 7c, 8a+, 8b+, 8b, 8a, respectively. That alone, at least to me, is staggering, completely irrespective of how long it took Tommy and Kevin.

2. We then come to the crux pitches, and I'll leave aside how long each had spent working those as that's slightly nebulous: On the final push, Pitch 14 (9a) seems to have taken Tommy and Kevin both two days (or a rest day and one day of effort); Pitch 15 (also 9a) took Tommy two days and Kevin seven (obviously that includes rest days). By comparison, on his push, Ondra failed on Pitch 14 on one day, having arrived at its base the day before, then did that and Pitch 15 on the next.

3. The top pitches: Comparatively easy, but still - according to the one interview with Adam so far:

> Well, there was a shower at night and the day was quite foggy – alpine weather. Some pitches were pretty wet but climbing was barely possible so we took it.

(Again, I can't provide a link - the website is emontana.cz)

The grades for those final 11 pitches are (I can't find French grades, only the ones given on the adidas topo): 13d, 10, 11, 11, 11d, 11c, 12c, 12b, 12b, 13a, 12b.


Two notes: Firstly, some of that information may be inaccurate as regards precise times, pitch grades, etc., as I've drawn it all together rather quickly. If so, my apologies, and please do correct me - the important thing is that it is, in substance and import, largely correct.
Secondly: Again, this isn't to put down Tommy and Kevin, for the reasons outlined elsewhere. They did the equivalent of running the first four-minute mile (possibly that's offensive to pedants/running nerds, but the comparison is at least somewhat apt, I think), and had so much more to battle against than Adam.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to AlexBush:

> You also have to take into account the 7 years Tommy Caldwell spent working out the pitches and training for specific moves. I'm not sure exactly how many days Adam spent on it but he has only been in the valley for a month!

Of course, but Ondra obviously benefitted massively from Caldwell's hard won beta.

I think that comparing the two ascents is actually pretty pointless. Both are awesome in their own way.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to AJM:

> That doesn't seem that consistent with the timeline lifted from ukb above........

I wasn't implying by any means that Caldwell could have done it as fast as Ondra, just that it is not a fair comparison.
AJM - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Caldwell certainly could have done it a lot quicker if only he had been leading

It's ambiguous as to whether you meant faster than he did or faster than Ondra, but either way the difference is so huge that it's difficult to argue discounting it entirely on the basis of differences in style.

In the working of the route Tommy/Kevin had the advantage of time and Ondra the advantage of their beta and knowledge, so quite different conditions in the run-up which make comparisons harder there, but once they both felt ready for their final pushes it feels like it is a step up in style (and from their comments it sounds like the FAs feel similarly)
Frank the Husky - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News: A very fine achievement, but please avoid using nonsense phrases like "...with the whole climbing world following his progress" - because it really wasn't.

James Gilbert on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> one of the most significant (and internationally newsworthy) ascents in history.

Significant for the climbing community, yes; it's an almost unbelievable achievement, but are you sure it's internationally newsworthy? I can't find anything like the following article on the BBC website this time round: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30808356
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to AJM:

> It's ambiguous as to whether you meant faster than he did or faster than.

Sorry, meant faster than he (Caldwell did). I should have made that clearer.
Pete Dangerous - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

> Adam, as he's repeatedly stated, had the advantage of knowing that the route was possible thanks to Tommy and Kevin


I'm pretty sure Tommy and Kevin would have known the route was possible when they set off on the first ascent from working the pitches previously, wouldn't they?
LeeWood - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> The recurring theme in the social media posts from Adam and Pavel seems to have been a simple, unadulterated love of climbing - of being on the rock, pushing himself, with a friend. One gets the feeling, looking through the posts, that Adam was, first and foremost, climbing for himself, for his own enjoyment and edification, and that the fact that he was doing so as part of a staggeringly significant ascent of the most famous route on the most famous bit of rock in the world was secondary.

You seem to attempt to make something honorable out of this - I thought it common knowledge that all climbing is selfish ? - How could a (faster) try at the Dawn Wall be anything less than selfish ?
SteveSBlake - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to James Gilbert:

Are you seriously using the daft media shit show that surrounded the FA as a measure of this ascent's significance? Of course it's significant.

I am mightily relieved that Ondra seems neither to have sought, or had that level of 'attention' foisted upon him by his sponsors.

Steve
James Gilbert on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to SteveSBlake:

No I'm not, I remember how much trouble the media had even understanding (never mind explaining) what KJ and TC were doing last time around. This ascent is obviously of massive significance to the climbing world, maybe one of the greatest achievements ever, but I think it's unexplainable to the general public.

For me, something that's internationally newsworthy (and I mean for the general public) is going to be taken up by the non-specialist media, even if it's done in an inaccurate way, and I don't think it's necessarily _all_ down to the sponsors. So far I've only seen the fairly poor NY Times article linked to elsewhere.

And FWIW, Ondra did do several Instagram posts during the climb, citing his sponsors...
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to SteveSBlake:

> I am mightily relieved that Ondra seems neither to have sought, or had that level of 'attention' foisted upon him by his sponsors.

Ondra is so good that his achievements speak entirely for themselves. His sponsors are sensible enough to know this.
SteveSBlake - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to James Gilbert:

And BD reported his progress, notwithstanding that, and any subsequent 'syndicated' reporting, beyond the climbing media this ascent has had a bucket load less bruhuha attached to it, which for me makes it all the more worthy.

Let's agree then that it's internationally newsworthy in the global climbing community......

The rest can bugger off.

Regards,

Steve

SteveSBlake - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think you're right, and without wanting to seem trite, I think it probably reflects the guys humility.

Best,

Steve
Blake - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

He couldn't have done it without Heinz Zak's teeth
Michael Gordon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Pete Dangerous:

> I'm pretty sure Tommy and Kevin would have known the route was possible when they set off on the first ascent from working the pitches previously, wouldn't they?

Yes they knew each pitch was possible. Through their own efforts over many years. The whole route, in one push? No, they didn't know whether they could do it or not.

Comparisons between the FA and repeats are interesting but ultimately fruitless. One involved a great vision borne out of possibly unmatched El Cap experience to spot and piece together a line up the face. They weren't concerned how long it took to climb it as it was clearly 'at their limit'; the goal was just to somehow do the thing! The other is a slightly superior technical climber following a route description and with considerable additional knowledge/beta. Another great ascent, but making history? A matter of opinion.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Absolutely spot on.
Pete Dangerous - on 22 Nov 2016

> Yes they knew each pitch was possible. Through their own efforts over many years. The whole route, in one push? No, they didn't know whether they could do it or not.

I thought the argument put forward by Valkyrie1968 was that Adam's ascent was faster because he knew all the pitches could be theoretically free climbed. I was stating that that would have been the same for Tommy and Kevin when they set off on what would become the first ascent. Whether they or Adam could do it in a single push was always going to be in question, but that's a different matter.
SenzuBean - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

Fairly comprehensive post-Dawn wall interview: www.emontana.cz/adam-ondra-dawn-wall-interview
Lemony - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to SenzuBean:
> Fairly comprehensive post-Dawn wall interview: www.emontana.cz/adam-ondra-dawn-wall-interview

The fact that their site seems to have collapsed under the level of interest is good enough evidence for me that it's internationally newsworthy.
jon on 22 Nov 2016
ian caton on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

Not to take anything away from Adam but he does have a full set of fingers. Caldwell missing half an index finger!
Valkyrie1968 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Pete Dangerous:

> I thought the argument put forward by Valkyrie1968 was that Adam's ascent was faster because he knew all the pitches could be theoretically free climbed. I was stating that that would have been the same for Tommy and Kevin when they set off on what would become the first ascent. Whether they or Adam could do it in a single push was always going to be in question, but that's a different matter.

I think my point was more that the two ascents are very different on the basis of that knowledge of possibility, that they are, as Robert says, pretty pointless to compare in terms of value judgements. Although Tommy and Kevin ultimately knew that the route was possible - they'd presumably done every move at one point or another - the big question was whether it was possible in practice; whether they, as perhaps the two people at that time who were best suited to doing it, could. Adam, on the other hand, knew that it had been done - the question was the comparatively simple one of whether he could do it.

The matter of media coverage is interesting, and I think ties into this; as someone noted, in spite of some limited American coverage, the world hasn't really paid attention outside of the sphere of climbing journalism, and that's a stark contrast to gaining the attention of everyone from Obama to The Lad Bible. On the one hand, though, you have two guys stepping into the unknown, doing something that has never been done before; on the other, you have someone doing something that has been done before, but better (a grotesque oversimplifcation, but with less practice and more quickly). I recall reading somewhere (the other channel perhaps?) about someone attempting to explain Ondra's ascent to their non-climbing colleagues, and being met with utter apathy. Perhaps it's something to do with our clickbait, 24-hour-news-cycle culture, perhaps it's simply the way the human mind works; perhaps, for whatever reason, we're not as impressed by the combination of skill and dedication, no matter the quantities that it can be found in, as by sheer vision - the ability to go where none have gone before (at least free), to find and travel that path for the first time.

The sponsors likely have something to do with it too, or at least the approaches of the climbers to sponsorship: Obviously all three used social media to broadcast their activities, but Adam seems to have done so in a more low-key way, whereas Kevin (seemingly far moreso than Tommy) publicised their efforts in a very accessible and comprehensive way. For anyone that is interested but hasn't listened, Grimer's Jam Crack Podcast episode with Tommy has some really interesting insights as to how all of that evolved. As compared to Adam and Tommy (both sponsored by the standard climbing brands - La Sportiva, Black Diamond, etc.), Kevin is sponsored by 5.10 and BD but also Adidas and Duracell ("Kevin Jorgeson Trusts Duracell - When it matters most, outdoor experts trust Duracell to power them through the dark.") - brands that are perhaps more likely to encourage their sponsees to do more to engage on social media.

The explanation is likely somewhere in there, but perhaps not. One would think that in light of the events of this year - even today, looking at the front pages of a few news sites - there'd be more coverage, some element of clinging to the positive, but there doesn't seem to be. Regardless, I'm psyched.
Skotch85 - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

As far as I read everywhere in the news he only got gear beta and on the tactics for the belays. Of course that is also hard won beta. But not to confuse with knowing the moves on the climb.
Michael Gordon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

It's quite easy to see why there has been a lot less interest in mainstream news coverage. 'Two guys attempt to climb something which has never been done before' vs 'a guy climbs the route that two other guys climbed last year'. There's only so much interest that the general public are going to take in climbing news and 'the unknown', 'being first' etc were some of the key attractions of the earlier story.

And it wasn't better, just speedier (as nearly every repeat is compared to a FA).
pavelk - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Lemony:

> The fact that their site seems to have collapsed under the level of interest is good enough evidence for me that it's internationally newsworthy.

It is nationally newsworthy at least (here in Czech )
Mr Lopez - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> And it wasn't better, just speedier (as nearly every repeat is compared to a FA).

While it really isn't a competition of 'whose ascent is better' and they are both incredible in their own merits, it has to be noted that Ondra's ascent is indeed an improvement in style, as it often happens with subsequent ascents of routes, by going ground up (in a big wall 'ground up' sense.)

Fixing ropes and hauling camp from the bottom up moving higher on lead, not abseiling from the top to put ropes or check out the moves, setting up their own camp and stocking it without the use of 'sherpas' or assistance, not getting re-supplies delivered and being completely self-suficient, not climbing past his high point to try pitches above in the final push, etc.

He only lost style points by climbing up fixed ropes to sleep above his high point the first night, but this time i'll let him off the hook for that...
Ian Parsons - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

Several interesting posts.

With regard to the difference in general media interest between the two ascents, is it possible that it's due in part simply to the much longer time that Caldwell and Jorgeson spent on the route? To the layman the whole idea of spending nearly three weeks continuously on a big cliff might have been a large part of what made their ascent impressive - with possibly little grasp of the actual climbing envelope that they were pushing. As I recall the mainstream media didn't really start to get interested for the first week or so - by which time on this occasion Ondra had pretty much finished.

Remember the moon landings in 1969 - and how, barely ninth months after the first, the world only sat up and took notice of Apollo 13 when things started going wrong?
Wicamoi on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

I am interested in Ondra's attempt on the Dawn Wall because it is obviously a very impressive achievement, and because he seems like a decent guy. However, for me - and I hope for Ondra - the big event of his trip was climbing The Nose with his dad, and I would far rather read about that than the Dawn Wall.

Am I a hopeless idealist? Well, yes, maybe I am, but at the end of our lives, who amongst us would swap the memory of climbing the Dawn Wall for the memory of climbing the Nose with their dad?
stp - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> And it wasn't better, just speedier (as nearly every repeat is compared to a FA).

Well speedier is better when it comes to climbing. A flash is better than a second try. Doing a route in a day is better than several days etc. On hard routes where lots of rehearsal takes place it's not always the case that repeat ascents are faster.

But what's really relevant and I don't think anyone has yet mentioned is that in climbing terms Ondra is simply in a different league to Caldwell and Jorgeson. There's no comparison, he climbs several grades above those guys. So even with his lack of big wall and Yosemite experience it not such a great surprise that he did a better, faster ascent. He's not World Champion (almost double World Champion) for nothing.
stp - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> As I recall the mainstream media didn't really start to get interested for the first week or so - by which time on this occasion Ondra had pretty much finished.

That's a great point.
Michael Gordon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> Well speedier is better when it comes to climbing. A flash is better than a second try. Doing a route in a day is better than several days etc. On hard routes where lots of rehearsal takes place it's not always the case that repeat ascents are faster.


Mr Lopez has put me right about the other differences between the respective ascents, but I don't think speedier is necessarily 'better' in itself. A flash is different as that is an improvement in style (first time, no falls).


> But what's really relevant and I don't think anyone has yet mentioned is that in climbing terms Ondra is simply in a different league to Caldwell and Jorgeson. There's no comparison, he climbs several grades above those guys. So even with his lack of big wall and Yosemite experience it not such a great surprise that he did a faster ascent. He's not World Champion (almost double World Champion) for nothing.

I partly made that point above. In a way it almost makes it less impressive as you expected him to succeed. But the main point I was trying to make was that a FA has more to contend with than a repeat, so calling a speedier repeat an 'improvement' seems rather unfair, benefiting as it does from descriptions, grades, beta and just knowing that a route is possible.
L Rad - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

Many seem to be caught up in comparisons. Maybe just be inspired.

Tommy and Kevin envisioned the hardest big wall free climb in the world and dedicated themselves to making their dream a reality. It took an incredible effort, and the final push had an amazing story of partnership and friendship and loyalty.

Adam took on the Dawn Wall because he seeks out the hardest challenges in climbing he can find and it inspired him. He worked out the moves on a route very different from any he'd climbed previously and sent the line with the added pressure that he was in the spotlight the whole time. Who cares about speed? Adam never commented on trying to improve on Tommy or Kevin's speed or style, he just wanted to challenge himself on the route. And they were psyched to have him climb it, gave him detailed beta, taught him how to efficiently jumar, etc.

So my hat's off to Adam and Kevin and Tommy for their hard work and vision and dedication and respect for each other and for the sport. Good role models all.
ads.ukclimbing.com
sheelba - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

A amazing achievement. The media coverage difference is interesting. Lots of good points have been made. Apologies if this ones already been said but looking at it a bit more cynically, could it be, especially in the American news media, that Caldwell and Jorgenson were American. Even if Adam was the first to climb it I can't quite imagine there would have been so much fuss in the US over a non-American.

The fact that it took longer I'd agree could be a very big factor, it allowed the drama to unfold before the media eyes making for a great story. I think that more than anything captured the imagination of the public.
Roland.Online on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> I recall reading somewhere (the other channel perhaps?)

You got a Like from me just for that.

Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> Well speedier is better when it comes to climbing.

No it's not (unless you're talking about stunts rather than actually pushing the boundaries). Speed might be necessary to facilitate an improvement in style but is not an end in itself.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> With regard to the difference in general media interest between the two ascents, is it possible that it's due in part simply to the much longer time that Caldwell and Jorgeson spent on the route?

I am baffled as to why anyone is puzzled about this. It is simply that Caldwell and Jorgesen made the first ascent but Ondra only a repeat. How many people know who made the second ascent of Everest, or of the Eigerwand, or of The Nose - very, very few compared with the landmark first ascents.
stp - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> but I don't think speedier is necessarily 'better' in itself

Agreed it's not the only metric but it probably is the most significant one as most climbers are trying to get up routes as fast as they're able.

> In a way it almost makes it less impressive as you expected him to succeed.

Only in a way. That is it's more impressive on a personal level for climbers who barely climb 9a to do a big wall with 9a pitches on it because it's right at the limit of what's possible for them. For a 9b+ climber to do the same, well he obviously has more in reserve. But I think we more often look at things in an absolute way and in that way Adam's achievement is nothing short of amazing. (As is Tommy's & Kevin's.)

> But the main point I was trying to make was that a FA has more to contend with than a repeat, so calling a speedier repeat an 'improvement' seems rather unfair, benefiting as it does from descriptions, grades, beta and just knowing that a route is possible.

I totally agree with that in theory. However on this particular route when it came to both teams doing the final bottom to top ascents I think Tommy and Kevin must have known the route far more intimately than Adam did. They'd spent that much longer on it, particularly Tommy. That's the way it goes with routes that are closer to your limit. You have to spend more time learning the intricacies, perfecting the sequences, because you have less in reserve. So Adam's ascent is better in that he spent less time working the route to begin with and then did the final push in less time too (and lead every pitch). Of course you'd expect a 9b+ climber to do a better job on almost anything than a 9a climber could. And Adam did that. But both ascents are amazing in their different ways. And Kevin is still the only person to have done it with the dyno pitch too.

stp - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

All other things being equal speed is probably the best way to measure of difficulty. I'm not talking about like the sport of speed climbing here. I mean the time it takes to complete a hard route from first go to final ascent.

Megos's third try ascent of Biographie was nothing short of amazing only because he did it so quickly. If he'd taken 10 days or so then that would have been much less of an achievement. But third go shows very clearly the route is even not that hard for him.
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> All other things being equal speed is probably the best way to measure of difficulty. I'm not talking about like the sport of speed climbing here. I mean the time it takes to complete a hard route from first go to final ascent.

But I don't see the connection with style (though there is probably a correlation). Yes, if you are finding a route easier than somebody else you will probably do it faster, but that does not necessarily mean that the style is better


Ian Parsons - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I am baffled as to why anyone is puzzled about this. It is simply that Caldwell and Jorgesen made the first ascent but Ondra only a repeat. How many people know who made the second ascent of Everest, or of the Eigerwand, or of The Nose - very, very few compared with the landmark first ascents.

Absolutely, Rob; that's the bottom line. But I was referring to the difference, this time around, between the interest of the climbing media and that of the general media. In early 2015 the climbing world was all over it - not surprisingly, as it was a much-anticipated and potentially groundbreaking attempt; so, too, the repeat attempt less than two years later by a climber widely seen as probably the most likely successful candidate. Maybe it's the modern, connected world - but I'm struggling to think of another second ascent that has generated so much interest within our limited sphere; I'm fine on the Eigerwand and The Nose, but without looking it up I couldn't tell you who made the second ascent of Everest. But for the mainstream media, perhaps less nuanced in the difference between a first ascent and a repeat, the contrast was nevertheless considerable: developing sporting event of the day last time around [albeit after a slow start], this time pretty much nothing.

I am, of course, hugely reassured that our world - to some, at least - remains murky.
ian caton on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to ian caton:

> Not to take anything away from Adam but he does have a full set of fingers. Caldwell missing half an index finger!

I don't get how anyone could dislike my post quoted above. My point was you cannot compare Ondra and Caldwell. To be able to climb at all hard with half an index finger missing is incredible, never mind The Dawn Wall.
Michael Gordon - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> All other things being equal speed is probably the best way to measure of difficulty. I'm not talking about like the sport of speed climbing here. I mean the time it takes to complete a hard route from first go to final ascent.
>

I disagree. The best measure of difficulty is whether a climber gets up a route (in good style) or not. Speed is relative to difficulty and lets be honest if you get up something too quickly you probably picked something too easy (obviously not talking about Dawn Wall here!).
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> Maybe it's the modern, connected world - but I'm struggling to think of another second ascent that has generated so much interest within our limited sphere.

Yes, maybe it is because, in a connected world, Ondra is a global superstar like no other climber before him and he is repeating a route that had coverage like no other before.

> I'm fine on the Eigerwand and The Nose, but without looking it up I couldn't tell you who made the second ascent of Everest.

I couldn't tell you any of the second ascentionists! I wonder how many climbers will know who made the second ascent of the Dawn Wall in fifty years time, once other Ondras and other breakthrough climbs have come and gone.
Tony & Sarah - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

As a friend said FIRST OR FASTEST

Tony & Sarah
HeMa on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

>I wonder how many climbers will know who made the second ascent of the Dawn Wall in fifty years time, once other Ondras and other breakthrough climbs have come and gone.

I think no one, but Ondras name will be without a doubt remembered. Possibly from a OS in a day of Freerider or something similar on El Cap. And naturally of his other remarkable feats like the double of Lead and Boulder a few years back.
Ramblin dave - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> Maybe it's the modern, connected world - but I'm struggling to think of another second ascent that has generated so much interest within our limited sphere; I'm fine on the Eigerwand and The Nose, but without looking it up I couldn't tell you who made the second ascent of Everest.

How about a third ascent - Brown and Whillans on the West Face of the Dru?

In fact, there's arguably half a parallel there - a sense of people graduating to a bigger and more prestigious arena (and yes I know it's a lot more complicated than that) and immediately dispatching cutting edge routes with great aplomb. Although yes, the modern, connected world means that most people were expecting great things from Ondra in Yosemite in a way that they presumably weren't from Brown and Whillans in the Alps...
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> How about a third ascent - Brown and Whillans on the West Face of the Dru?

> In fact, there's arguably half a parallel there - a sense of people graduating to a bigger and more prestigious arena.

That is an excellent point. So would there have been less fuss if it had been repeated by a local Yosemite regular (is one good enough exists)?
John2 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

I'm not sure you're correct about this, at least as far as the Eigerwand is concerned. I have certainly read accounts of journalists ensconced on the balconies of hotels in Grindelwald with high-powered binoculars watching attempted ascents. I'm not really sure that in 50 years' time people will remember much about UKC's interest in Ondra's ascent.
John2 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

In fact, as late as 1957 there was substantial interest in the Eiger as long as the story was sufficiently sensational https://www.amazon.fr/PARIS-MATCH-437-1957-Sp%C3%85%C5%93l%C3%85%C5%93ologues/dp/B0046KXUKW .

Paris Match had a surprisingly long history of documenting alpinism - I once saw a collection of a dozen or so original editions headlining mountaineering stories at a stall on the banks of the Seine, though they were beyond my price range.
pavelk - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> That is an excellent point. So would there have been less fuss if it had been repeated by a local Yosemite regular (is one good enough exists)?

I think Alex Honnold is good enough
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to John2:

> In fact, as late as 1957 there was substantial interest in the Eiger as long as the story was sufficiently sensational https://www.amazon.fr/PARIS-MATCH-437-1957-Sp%C3%85%C5%93l%C3%85%C5%93ologues/dp/B0046KXUKW .

The Eigerwand is probably unique in the interest it has generated, the only actual route (rather than mountain) in the public domain. Whether the Dawn Wall will join it remains to be seen, but I doubt it.
Ian Parsons - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Tony & Sarah:

'Morning, Charlie. I think I get your drift!
Goucho on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

Staggeringly magnificent and completely beyond my comprehension.

And to think that Ondra may have not even reached his peak yet!!!!!
Kipper-Phil Smith - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to pavelk:

well according to Wikipedia (not sure how true it is his Alex Honnold's most difficult sport climb on a rope is hardest sport pitch is The Green Mile: 8c+(5.14c). at the Jailhouse crag near San Francisco.
So if Dawn Wall has several 9a pitches he probably has to get a little bit better to be in with a chance

Respect to Adam, Tommy and Kevin.
Kipper-Phil Smith - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to pavelk:

I think Alex Honnalds hardest sport pitch is 8c+ or thats what Wikipeadia says so he will have to get a little bit better to get those 9a pitches ticked on Dawn Wall
Valkyrie1968 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

Not hugely focused on Adam's ascent, but some thoughts from Andrew Bisharat here: http://eveningsends.com/dawn-of-a-new-era/

> The old joke that European sport climbers would come to Yosemite with the cocksure certainty that their 8c-climbing selves would crush the Big Stone, only to find out that they couldn’t even climb 5.11 off-width and they would scamper back home to Europe with their tail tucked between their three-quarter-length manpris just doesn’t work anymore. You can’t make this joke anymore. It’s done. It’s retired.
FinlayThomson - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

From one of the articles linked above.

"So, you are going to tackle the key pitch one more time…. Happy? (laughs)
I would not like to see those tiny finger holds if I could choose. But on the other hand this is not my last visit of the route so it doesn´t matter. I would love to climb it a lot faster than this time. I will be happy to see it again."


Will we ever see the dawn wall in a day?
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:
There could be some confusion going on about what constitutes "style".
I would consider a redpoint which takes 57 goes the same style as one which takes 3 goes (they are both redpoint style) whereas others may consider the faster redpoint better style. Maybe one should be "Style" and the other "style".
Post edited at 15:26
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

[This relates to what you mistakenly posted earlier on the 'How often do you fall thread'.]

I think it's a massive improvement in style. Just as there is surely a huge difference between one person doing all the climbing and two very strong climbers sharing the leads. Having no one else to help you with the climbing, being on on your own in that sense (no, I'm not forgetting the nearby camera team).
John2 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I don't agree that the fact that Caldwell and Jorgeson didn't both lead all of the pitches devalues their ascent in any way. They did both lead all of the hard pitches, so there can hardly be any doubt that they could each have led all of the pitches that they only seconded. In fact the only time their ascent looked in doubt was when Jorgeson was shut down by pitch 15, which Caldwell had led a week before.
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> [This relates to what you mistakenly posted earlier on the 'How often do you fall thread'.]

Yes, I deleted the bit specifically about Ondra's ascent before reposting it here because it had been pointed out to me that there were several ways in which he could be said to have improved on Caldwell's and Jorgensen's "style".

pavelk - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Kipper-Phil Smith:

So then there is only Ashima Shiraishi as a candidate
jon on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to pavelk:

> So then there is only Ashima Shiraishi as a candidate

Ashima and Megos. Now there's a team!
thebigfriendlymoose - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Kipper-Phil Smith:

> I think Alex Honnalds hardest sport pitch is 8c+ or thats what Wikipeadia says so he will have to get a little bit better to get those 9a pitches ticked on Dawn Wall

It's widely reckoned that if you're choosing an ambitious project, you should choose a route that's generally in condition, and convenient to get to. I suspect half-way up El Cap and only climbable in winter..... at night doesn't quite fit the bill!
bouldery bits - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

'Ondra gets down the post office, picks ups some 1st clas stamps and sends the D Dubz'

Would be my headline of choice.
andy farnell - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose: So El Cap is only marginally less fickle than Yorkshire Limestone...

Andy F

thebigfriendlymoose - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to andy farnell:

Depends on the route fella. Bat Route and Rainshadow are pretty popular choices at their grade, presumably due to their general availabiliity. Probably not many more perma-dry 7c+s than the Ashes, and perma dry 7cs than Comedy etc. We're not all daft enough to project perma-dirty, finger-slicing routes like Scavenger ;-) (this coming from somone daft enough to project Stolen during a warm summer - with Cold Steal being the most temps and humidity dependent route at Kilnsey!)
Red Rover - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

I've not been following this, what's special about how he did it? Is it the first ground up push or was it just done really quickly?
Wood for Trees on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Red Rover:

Done really quickly by a stranger to the Yosemite style, Ondra's ascent left the first ascentionist "speechless"
kuweso - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News (Red Rover):

"The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new...." (S. Beckett). I agree completely with you. What happened? Dawn Wall is still the hardest big wall-climb in the world - which it was even before. Adam is still the best rock climber of the present - which he still was before. The style of that ascent is still the same as before: After some session of previous work, a final push up in one journey, but with several attempts in several pitches. As somebody else has mentioned before, the number of trials doesn't change the definite style (redpointing each pitch). The amazing speed of Adam´s realization, nevertheless, means an important progress in aspects of performance - especially in the factor of inverted real time on the route. But it´s not a style revolution in statistic values (f.ex. "first flightless complete ascent", "first onsight ascent" and so on). It´s true that he left a wide shadow for the locals. Because from now on the time set for any remarkable repetition will be related to the six weeks of a foreigner's holidays and not to a nearly lifelong obsession of some Camp 4 residents. Conclusion: No critics to any of the three climbers who tamed that beast and of course no comparison between them. It was a great job of anybody of them, making a bit smaller the dark world of the impossible. Let's wait now for the next real quality step!
Robert Durran - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:

> Adam is still the best rock climber of the present - which he still was before.

I actually think that he has become the undisputed best rock climber in the world with this ascent, rather than just the best sport climber.
GrahamD - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I actually think that he has become the undisputed best rock climber in the world with this ascent, rather than just the best sport climber.

but, but, but .......
1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> but, but, but .......

Seems like he's retired the American joke too:

"The old joke that European sport climbers would come to Yosemite with the cocksure certainty that their 8c-climbing selves would crush the Big Stone, only to find out that they couldn’t even climb 5.11 off-width and they would scamper back home to Europe with their tail tucked between their three-quarter-length manpris just doesn’t work anymore. You can’t make this joke anymore. It’s done. It’s retired"

http://eveningsends.com/dawn-of-a-new-era/
GrahamD - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

I like to keep our version in a sense of light self mockery.
kuweso - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Don't wake up the sleeping dogs: Rubbish like "And what has he done on grit?" - "Did you ever see Adam on Fitz Roy, Trango or smashing polar bears with the Friend 4 to get free the sit-start of some Groenlandia stuff, did you?" May be some day you will, but looking at the rest, it´s not even necessary. No, my dear, the answer is quite simple: Adam was the number 1 of rock climbing before arriving at the Valley. There was nothing he still had to learn, he just applied what he already knew. That explains the amazing fast and certain execution of an announced project. And I will tell you why: Because he was born and educated in a Czech climbers-dynasty where at the age of seven years he got used to the hard rules of Saxon and Bohemian gritstone climbing, which already existed when the only reason to visit Yosemite was blackbearhunting with the rifle. And its only logical that this guy knew how to place tiny tradgear in offwidth cracks at less age than any Camp Four local finished the first chapter of "Catcher in the Rye" by his own lecturer's power. So Adam didn't need this ascent to prove anything. He just did it, because he wanted and he could - as the best rock climber of the history!
Mike Highbury - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:
> And its only logical that this guy knew how to place tiny tradgear in offwidth cracks

Eh?

1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:

He didn't manage to onsight the nose did he? :P
Robert Durran - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:
> There was nothing he still had to learn, he just applied what he already knew.

A really silly argument. He still had to go and do it on the biggest stage of all - there are no points for just having the potential to do so.

You don't win Olympic gold for doing the fastest times in training.
Post edited at 16:29
kuweso - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Anyone else did? So Usain Bolt isn't the best runner of the world, because he never achieved an 18 in the column of the seconds on de 200m distance? Adam is not god, he's simply the best.
Lemony - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:

> Adam is not god, he's simply the best.

Dum dum duuuum dum
kuweso - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I wish you wet nightmares on "training routes" like WoGü (still one of the three hardest alpine multi pitches and with less reps than Hubble in nearly 20 years). Everybody who knows Beat's style, also knows that there are longer kerosineless flights included than the ones offered by Ryanair. The smooth second ascent made by Adam - something more than a gym-training for the "big" stage. Don't you think so?
1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:

Maybe you need to read your own post again. And find you're sense of humour!
ads.ukclimbing.com
kuweso - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

What's the problem, my friend?
Robert Durran - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:

> What's the problem, my friend?

They're hilarious. I love your style even if I don't agree with all of them. I did give the Usain Bolt one a "like" though
stp - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> "The old joke that European sport climbers would come to Yosemite with the cocksure certainty that their 8c-climbing selves would crush the Big Stone, only to find out that they couldn’t even climb 5.11 off-width and they would scamper back home to Europe with their tail tucked between their three-quarter-length manpris just doesn’t work anymore.

I feel like there's a British equivalent of this myth which is more like sport climbers can't climb trad. Hopefully that one died a death too with Megos's hardest trad flash route earlier this year.
stp - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC News:

There's a 15m video interview with Ondra before the Dawn Wall
http://www.vimeo.com/192803962

And also footage from the route (not all in Czech):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt_Q2coXfKg
1poundSOCKS - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso:

> What's the problem, my friend?

The problem with what?
Red Rover - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to kuweso and Wood For Trees:

Thanks. I knew it was really impressive, just not been following the yosemite news.
GrahamD - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

> I feel like there's a British equivalent of this myth which is more like sport climbers can't climb trad. Hopefully that one died a death too with Megos's hardest trad flash route earlier this year.

I'm sure there are plenty who can and plenty who can't, but one example isn't very conclusive, is it ?
AlanLittle - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to stp:

Definitely don't miss the automatic subtitles for the Czech bits.
Robert Durran - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> I'm sure there are plenty who can and plenty who can't, but one example isn't very conclusive, is it ?

It just shows it is possible. If anything, Robbie Phillips' transition from sport to world class free big walls has been even more abrupt and just as impressive as Ondra's.
John2 - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Surely one of the UK's very finest trad climbers is Steve McClure, though he is primarily thought of as a sport climber.
Robert Durran - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to John2:

Yes, I'm sure there are many examples, though doesn't SMc tend to stick to relatively safe steep stuff which suits his sport climbing strengths.
John2 - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

He did the second ascent of Neil Mawson's Pembroke E10, which definitely qualifies as steep but not as especially safe.
GrahamD - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It just shows it is possible.

Did anyone seriously doubt it ?
Robert Durran - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> Did anyone seriously doubt it ?

No.

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