Björn Pohl - UKC, Jan 2012
© Lars Lindwall
Adam Ondra, who is spending two weeks in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky, has now done what everyone was waiting for. He went to The Chocolate Factory crag to try and onsight two of the Red's hardest routes, Pure Imagination and Golden Ticket, both given 9a.
Adam has said quite clearly one of the goals with this trip was to try to onsight a 9a. The other day, he flashed Southern Smoke Direct and suggested 9a instead of 9a+. As this one was unrepeated, and especially Pure Imagination has seen a number of rather quick ascents, what happened next shouldn't be a huge surprise to anyone.
Reportedly, Adam first onsighted Jonathan Siegrist's Pure Imagination, making it look easy, and then went over to Adam Taylor's Golden Ticket on which he actually had to try hard.
Adam suggests "low end 8c+" for the former and "high end 8c+" for the latter, and I'm sure he is a bit disappointed himself that none of them felt like a true 9a. 8c+ onsights he has done plenty. Two in a day is extraordinary even for him though.
In a comment to the news on DPM, Jonathan Siegrist says that This is super impressive, and while he may be too strong to really know (probably), I think a little grade correction is long overdue in the Red - even if it is one of my routes getting downgraded...
So, an educated guess would be that it's impossible to say if Adam has made the first onsight ascent of a 9a after all. Maybe Jonathan is right in that Adam is stronger than he thinks. Perhaps Golden Ticket is 9a after all.
Time will tell.