/ Adam Ondra in Israel

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stp - on 04 Dec 2017
Looks like he's just put up Israel's hardest route, Climb Free, which is 9a.

http://escalade9.wifeo.com/climb-free.php


There's also a half hour French TV documentary on Ondra from earlier this year now on Youtube. (Some sound issues at the start and the end but most of it's OK and mostly in English.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWjM20NnA_A
TobyA on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:
I saw some social media that he was there, it will be interesting to see if he only visited crags clearly within the Green Line and if he's savvy enough to steer clear of the crags Israelis have developed but are actually in the Occupied Territories.

That 9a looks to be a few hundred metres from the Lebanese border. I can't imagine it's any less militarised now when I went a few years back. Interesting spot to go climbing!
Post edited at 17:50
Michael Hood - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to TobyA:

It's a bit more than a few hundred metres, probably a couple of miles. But more importantly the border is on top of the hills at about 2000' whereas the Nezer cave is near the bottom of the slope so in real terms it's quite distant from the border.

Difficult to describe but obvious when you see the geography round there.
TobyA on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

I was going off the google map on 27crags.com, not sure if it has been tagged in the wrong place as the scale had it maybe only 400 mtrs? Of course the border might not be accurately marked either.

I went to the area I guess NE of Acre (not for climbing!), in fact to the spot where the Hezbollah team cut the fence, blew up the IDF convoy and took one or two Israeli soldiers back over the border into Lebanon, that led to the last war in Lebanon with the Israelis. It was very hilly though, I could see why there is lots of potential. Lovely landscape where there aren't big fences and IDF and UNIFIL roads slashing across the landscape!
Michael Hood - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to TobyA:
my mistake, you were right. I think I got Nezer mixed up with one of the sites at the bottom of the slope.

Looks like Nezer is near the top of the slope only a few hundred metres away from the border.

I once saw on the map that there was a back road up Mt Hermon. Didn't get very far before I was politely told to turn around but to not get the car on the raked sand next to the road. The Lebanese border was rather close by.
Post edited at 23:34
aln - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

Thanks for that link, I can climb from £160
aln - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

C'mon guys get yer slopes right.
MikeTS - on 05 Dec 2017
In reply to stp:

Cool. Best rock climber in the world came here and no one said or knew.
TobyA on 05 Dec 2017
In reply to MikeTS:

There was a bit of very un-advanced two-way trolling on his Instagram, although it didn't get much beyond "Free Palestine!" or "Apartheid state - you should never have gone there!" vs "Israel! Yeah!" or "Rad send dude! Climbing has nothing do with politics, climbers can do what they want". All of which seem pretty facile responses.

There was a comment from Nina Caprez saying along the lines of: "good luck - we got criticised a lot when we went there a couple of years ago! Its very complicated isn't it?" which along with Ondra's own comment:
"...I mean, I actually wanted to put the politics aside and emphasize that climbing should be free for everyone and it does not really depend on country, religion, sex or race. Situation in the Middle East is extremely complicated and hard to understand from the european point of view. Freedom is something which will always be limited there. Climbing is a good way out I think"
makes me think that although both he and Caprez are brick hard climbers they know jack about contemporary international politics!
salix on 05 Dec 2017
In reply to TobyA:
Indeed and I don't think it's facile to say the choice of route name seems particularly tone deaf. His instagram post seems to tie it back to park rangers - who I think would be the least a Palestinian climber would have to worry about.
Can't face the comments section of his posts - your summary looks about right!
Post edited at 23:11
TobyA on 05 Dec 2017
In reply to salix:

Yes, that's what I understood. I read an article about climbers in Israel and it seems they have had huge problems trying to access cliffs and the national park authorities don't get climbing or why anyone would want to do it so just have banned it in loads of places. I guess that is what Adam's name meant BUT the instagram post of it written on their backs on his visit to the Dead Sea seemed totally tone deaf. I guess you can get to the Dead Sea shoreline from Israel, but when I went and I understand how most tourists go is through the West Bank from Jerusalem, on roads not open to most Palestinians, to the NW corner of the sea where there are Kibbutz and tourist infrastructure and is still under close control by the Israeli military.

Someone on Instagram also noted he visited crags that are in the West Bank but accessed by Israelis through a Jewish Settlement, and I think might be banned for Palestinian climbers.

Adam is pretty young still, I think he did engineering at uni, and while he seems a very smart guy I guess he perhaps has just never really considered what is happening in that region. I'm sure he got invited, probably via his sponsors, by keen Israeli climbers and maybe didn't think much more about than that. But there has been some 'fuss' or at least debate when other pro-climbers have been to Israel in the past and particularly visiting the crags in the West Bank, without seeming to understand that this was occupied land.

There was a sad but very nice comment on his instagram from a Palestinian climber saying it was really sad for them that he had come so close but hadn't come and climbed with them and seen their crags, but basically inviting him to come back and do that in the future. Who know, maybe Ondra will take that opportunity - it would be a nice thing to see.
john arran - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> So long as he doesn't plane to move his new route to Jerusalem we can probably agree there are worse things happening!

I've heard there's a wall there that's crying out for new routes.
krikoman - on 06 Dec 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> There was a sad but very nice comment on his instagram from a Palestinian climber saying it was really sad for them that he had come so close but hadn't come and climbed with them and seen their crags, but basically inviting him to come back and do that in the future. Who know, maybe Ondra will take that opportunity - it would be a nice thing to see.

I agree, it would at least be a nod to being apolitical.

It's such a shit situation, that needs a peaceful solution, but I can't see any prospects for this or any moves towards it to be honest.
Michael Hood - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to krikoman:

For once, I agree with you. I believe one of the best crags in the area is near Jerusalem in the West Bank and that both Israelis and Palestinians climb there (although some say that it's harder for the Palestinians to get access). Would have been nice if Ondra had gone there and climbed with everyone.

As for peaceful solution, I gave up on that once Oslo fell apart. Nobody knows how to sort it out, and too many people (especially leaders on both sides) are relatively comfortable with the status quo.

And as with most politics (not just this conflict, both international and domestic), the people who come off worst are those who have least to start with.
Michael Hood - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Access to lots of potential crags in Israel is difficult because basically the national parks/conservation got there first. So the access restrictions were there before anyone tried to climb.

In the UK we have lots of seasonal restrictions that are agreed, but this is because we have a long history of accessing the cliffs and countryside.
paul mitchell - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

There's a very long concrete wall someone could do a traverse on.
Michael Hood - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to paul mitchell:

The wall isn't as long as you might think. Most of it's a fence, not one you'd climb over mind.

Concrete wall is only on those sections where there's a sniper type risk, so it's a wall where route 6 is near Arab townships or where there's an Arab village on one side opposite an Israeli settlement, etc
nb - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I believe one of the best crags in the area is near Jerusalem in the West Bank

Can you point me to any info about this, or other crags in the region? Thanks
Michael Hood - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to nb:

If you search on Google for the Israel guidebook or a site called 27 crags (I think) then should be able to find details.

Having said that, I'm not sure if either of those show locations in the West Bank.

It's all findable on the web though
TobyA on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

A number of West Bank crags listed 27crags https://27crags.com/crags#32.33795584829778,35.83729474218751,8z, it does seem to be Israeli names or other foreigners listing ascents of putting up photos though... not sure if Palestinians can't access crags in the West Bank or just don't use 27crags yet.
nb - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to Michael Hood and TobyA:

Thank you both. Discovered a bouldering gym in Ramallah, so I'm sure I'll be able to get info there (unless everyone's been distracted by other events!)
Offwidth - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to nb:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/23/rock-climbing-wadi-occupied-west-bank-palestinian-terr...

Saw a film on this at Kendal... recommended. It was impressive how many women were climbing.

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