Adam Ondra at Malhamby Keith Sharples Apr/2010
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Ondra, one of the best climbers on Planet Rock at the moment, is here for a week and clearly means business. Between tie-ins he was scanning the guidebook and scoping the crag. He looked to me like a big game cat stalking his prey before pouncing and going in for the kill...
He wasted no time adding to his score-card (check it out here www.8a.nu) with on-sights of Zoolook (F8a) and Overnite Sensation (F8a+). Next up was Overshadow (F9a+), Steve McClure's 2007 mega route. His second go up was only a tad short of amazing; he was clearly in red-point mode! Having belayed Steve prior to and then on his actual ascent of Overshadow, as well as having photographed him on it afterwards, I felt like an expectant father. Did Ondra dispatch it on his first go? No, is the short answer – but boy did he look wicked. Falling from the crucial bulge, that just above Overnite lower-off, he worked it some more then tore up the rest of the pitch to the lower-off. Hmmm – impressive stuff; at least I didn't need to ring Steve and tell him Ondra had hiked his route on his first red-point!
An hour later, his rope hit the catwalk below Cry Freedom (F8b+). Given he had on-sighted F8c+, surely a lowly F8b+ should be a walk in the park? Having seen plenty of folks on this before I knew where the hard bits were. However, watching Ondra dispatch the first crucial section in three big moves I was left thinking that the on-sight was gonna be perfunctory...
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UKClimbing.com have a Ondra special in the pipeline - watch this space.