What normal climbers can learn from Ondra

Enjoy reading this site? Care to give some thoughts in the comments here about what you'd like to see more of over the coming months?



So a major video recently was BigUpProductions re-re-releasing the footage of the first and second ascent of La Dura Dura, '9b+', The Worlds latest hardest route IN THE WORLD!!!!!!! (I think I can joke a bit about it as BigUpProductions use it so much for promotion/media/commercial reasons - as they should). It's a brilliant video, well worth watching in it's own right, if only to see the psyche on Sharma's face at 2:55 when Ondra is getting ever-so-close to sending it for the first time. So cool to see the team support - that expression defines success.

This week we also saw the release of an onsight attempt of a 9a in Spain by Adam Ondra (for some clarity, only two people have ever managed this - Ondra being one of them).  They're both worth watching to learn a bunch of skills that are relevant to the mortals of this world. Taking the onsight attempt video (below), be aware that the first footage is of an onsight attempt - i.e. no prior practice whatsoever.

There is no hesitation, and his movement is exceptional

  • good balance, use of footholds
  • awareness of footholds a distance to the sides
  • accuracy on hand-holds and not having to feel around
  • pacing
  • commitment
  • clipping positions (and only one fumble of a clip) all in as comfortable-as-possible positions

Is there any more you'd suggest? Answers in the comments :)



Both Ondra and Sharma (in the first video) may be two of the best climbers in the world, but watching it and comparing it to your own climbing (beginner or experienced), what is you take away from their climbing? Here's some of my notes:


Mental Mindset

Ondra needs to be fired up, Sharma needs to be chilled out. Some info on this sort of thing here.

"open mind, free of all thoughts" quote by Ondra, calmness under pressure after higher crux. Sharma recognising the pressure when getting through lower crux for first time. Managing the situation.

Dealing with consequences of long falls by skipping quickdraws. Good movement around rope.

Physical

Strength, strength, strength - phenomenal finger strength (much of which is accessible to everyone as acknowledged in this EpicTV video at 4:29). They're both close to limit on this, even with dozens of tries under their belt. They're also both giving 100% maximum effort.

Movement & Efficiency

Perfect form and movement. Accuracy of hands and feet, placement, no shuffling. Tension on small edges. Awareness of balance and how to generate momentum.

It's also interesting to note also Sharma in an earlier video said he can't do lower crux in the same manner as Ondra due to flexibility or something - doesn't seem to be the case by the end. Worth re-testing beta and not giving up on a certain method!

No energy being wasted - or more the case, you can see in some of the earlier attempts where a mistake is made (too much energy used, not enough used, not accurate enough, etc). Flow, pacing (consistent), full use of body for movement driving force from legs, very fast rope-clipping technique.

The Process

Focusing on building up to it in sections. Over time.



 

Is there anything else you'd add?

Neal McQuaid