Adam Ondra and Rustam gelmanov have both climbed 9a lately. For Adam, this is pretty much business as usual, whereas it is more rare for Rustam who is best known as a World Cup boulderer.
What's rather unusual about Adam's ascent is that it was bolted ground up. I don't know if this has ever been...
In reply to TobyA: The bolts feel very reassuring. They first put in a small bolt to hang from and then put in one of the extra large ringbolts they use in the area.
The ground-up ethics is strictly enforced. A really hard route for its time that was put up ago on the German side was chopped and stricken from the guide- and history-books after some evidence was found that a part of the route was practiced on top rope before bolting.
It's a hard ethic to get my British/Scandinavia head around - not quite sure why two holes are better than one. But then in the UK we insist of leaving numerous rusting pegs and nuts tied together with rotted hanks of rope for abseil stations, rather than two nice neat bolts, and that doesn't make a lot sense either!
Having broken a drill bit drilling soft wood on sunday, I can imagine flying off with a drill in your hand means going through rather a lot of drill bits!
In reply to Jonas Wiklund: Surely that means there ends up being lots of half bolted/very short/rubbish routes with lots of bolts, from when a climber starts bolting what appears to be a good line then runs out of holds/hits bad rock. Seems messy and backward to me
In reply to Olli-C:
No, you end up with long, interestingly bolted routes. The route as a general rule has to get to the top or it is not accepted as a route and the bolts removed (at least on the German side and the rules are similar over the border).
In reply to Olli-C:
The film The Sharp End has a really good section with some American climbers visiting the Czech Republic. It explains that trad gear is banned because the rock is so soft, they either use knotted slings (!) or bolts for protection. It has some footage of a local climber trying a F8b+ish route ground up, it's very impressive.
In reply to Björn Pohl - UKC: i had this ethic/style explained at the bmc international meet by a very experienced cheq' climber/guide. It sounded cool, but seeing it now I say its a historic anomolie and a waste of time and effort, put a ladder up for f*** sake, or abb.
Ethics aside, I have to say that was one of the dullest climbing vids I have ever attempted to watch. The rolling advert banner on the UKC page was drawing my eye... Perhaps that was art of UKC's elaborate money-making strategy? Corporate monsters that they are.