Adam Ondra flashing Southern smoke direct, 9a, Red River Gorge
Björn Pohl - UKC, Oct 2012
© Cédric Lachat
Adam Ondra has flashed Adam Taylor's Southern smoke direct which was given 9a+ and unrepeated.
Speculations about what Adam would do in the Red River Gorge have been many. Most have suggested the first ever 9a onsight was in the cards. Whether this will happen or not is yet to be seen, but what he's done so far is perhaps even more amazing:
From DPM: Apparently, he walked up to it and just went into beast mode. He flashed the boulder problem and went to the top," said Nick Duttle citing a conversation with Daniel Woods who witnessed the ascent.
The direct version adds a boulder problem in the 8A-8B range straight into the start of Southern smoke, 8c+ and was put up by Adam Taylor about a year ago.
Apparently, Ondra has also onsighted some 8b+'s and made a first ascent in the 8c/+ range. So, nothing extraordinary really...
Now it's going to be interesting to see what he can do on Pure imagination and The Golden ticket, both 9a.
The conditions have been bad lately, but now this seem to have changed for the better.
Adam Ondra: "The weather actually can't be any better. Humidity and rain is not an issue in RRG, except it snowed this morning.
RRG is insane, I have never seen so steep featured sandstone. Even though many holds are only horizontal rails and edges and especially steep routes can get boring as they are overhanging ladders-like, the rock itself and its features is something I am obsessed about.
I have done much except this, first two days I was warming up, then I tried 24 Carats, 8c+, and came quite close to onsighting, whereas on Lucifer, 8c+, I was miles away and sent it 4th go. I hadn't thought I was in a good shape, unsure about what to do and whether to save the flashes and onsights for the next year, but luckily I didn't save at least that flash. The grade is definitely 9a (5.14d), I do think that all the guys who gave me the beta (Cedric, Daniel, Jon) agree with that."