On the third of February, Czech climber Adam Ondra made the coveted second ascent of Chris Sharma's First round, first minute, 9b, in the Laboratori sector at Margalef in Spain.
Here is a short interview with the Adam Ondra himself:
Hi Adam, again congrats are in order!
I know you were close before, so it must feel really nice to finally succeed! Did you have better luck with the conditions this time perhaps?
Well, it has been a kind of struggle with conditions again. I felt in OK shape before I headed out to Spain, so I wanted to start trying it right from the beginning. But that might not have been the best idea due to a couple of wet holds. Every day it seemed that one day of sun would make the route totally dry, but then short rain showers came which made the route even more wet...
First I figured out a way to climb. The wet holds were right at the second bolt, so I took the towel, dried the tufa, but didn't have enough time to go down and start climbing, because the water would start flowing from above. So I needed assistant to hold a towel with a piece of wood from the ground in the place right above the actual hold. It almost worked, but it still felt humid nevertheless. I made one attempt when I made to the last section, but fell. I tried it three days like this, then I gave up, because the route got more and more humid.
After a couple of days of rest the conditions improved and I could get on it again. But still with the wet tufa. Fortunately I decided to put a lot of pieces of toilet paper above. This covered the water source and to my surprise, the tufa dried up in five minutes!
Like this, I couldn't send it that day, nevertheless. I fell from the crux move even the third go. I made the first go in the sun, which was a mistake, but I wanted to be sure to make a go when the rock was dry, as I was afraid that it would get wet again the last hour of light (which is the only shade of the day on this route).
The next day I fired it off in OK conditions in a beautiful evening.
What are you thoughts about this route and how would you compare it to other routes you have done, like for example the short and bouldery Vasil Vasil?
For me it is power endurance route. It is short, explosive, but the single moves aren't super hard, the problem is to link it up. It involves good moves and it is really fun to climb on it. Regarding the grade, I would say that 9b fits perfectly. Vasil Vasil felt like a step above for me.
Also, what are the main differences between working on a repeat compared to working on a FA? Does it make any difference for the perceived difficulty that a grade has already been suggested?
Well, sometimes the knowledge of beta definitely helps. If Chris had known the easier beta, he would have sent much faster. But doing FA's or repeating is still climbing, the goal is to get to the top. You might have just more motivaton to finish the things off when it is not going well when you are making a FA, as you have already put a lot of effort into it such as bolting and cleaning.
Both are beautiful and it is nice to combine them.
Thanks a lot Adam and good luck with the rest of your projects!
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