Adam Ondra and Silence: cutting edge sports performance in climbing

By now, 300,000 people have watched Adam Ondra successfully climbing the world's first 9c. Uniquely, some 5,000 people even tuned in live to watch its premiere which was a special occasion in itself (considering it was a Saturday evening in Europe for the show on Youtube).

Before I go any further, for the pure analytical review of Ondra climbing, I highly recommend Eric Horst's (of 'Training for Climbing' book fame) review which can be found here: "Performance Analysis of Adam Ondra’s Breakthrough Ascent of the World’s First 5.15d/9c".


Outside of this, there is a couple of pieces to take away from this documentary however:

Support Team for outdoor climbing

I wrote the above tweet directly after watching the live stream, and it still holds true now: Adam discussing his manager and his physiotherapist/osteopath who travel with him to support his climbs is a revelation. This is essentially unheard of for outdoor climbing. For indoor competition climbing, national teams will have support teams in two, however to consider the idea of people supporting you at an outdoor rock climbing venue in this manner is as good as unheard of. Then, to even more step this up, see the input from his physio (starting here) where they work as a team to optimise and prepare for the successful ascent. I've watched this multiple times now, and still can't get over this piece of footage. For one, it shows just how difficult this standard is.

The interesting implication is: will this now become the norm at many of the climbing areas, even for less-difficult routes? Up to now, trips away climbing have been offered by both guided tour companies as well as professional climbers, however this does now open up the door for coaches to start offering more advanced services: can you imagine going on a trip to, say, Greece, where alongside the pro-climber giving advice, there is a masseuse, physio and psychologist there in the evenings and for rest days to help you recover and develop your skills? I don't see why not!





It's worth celebrating the idea that anyone is the world, so long as they're have a smartphone or computer, and Internet access (there were 3.2 billion in late 2015 so it can only be higher now). With that you can then join, for free, a public broadcast of any topic - in this case, the niche sport of rock climbing. As I correctly predicted at the start of the year (in fairness, it was a given), on-demand access to all media is now the norm. Think about that: even up until 10-15 years ago, knowledge was only accessible to either those in a wealthy country which had libraries, or those wealthy enough to be able to afford books and encyclopaedias.

Now, everyone has access, from any location. Only yesterday (3rd March 2018), I watched a live broadcast on Instagram from Anna Laitinen of the successful climb of a very difficult route in Spain. As a sign of the times, it was broadcast from her phone from a very remote venue to the world in very high quality.


Secondly, that final piece of footage from the drone. Getting this sort of amazing, dramatic, shot is now trivial to even the non-trained camera person (although producer of the movie, Bernardo Giménez, is most certainly not your average producer). It's rare to find a jaw-dropping piece of footage that truly gives somewhere a sense of scale, however this one scene pulls it off.



For anyone else, what stood out? Leave a reply on the Twitter post here :)

Neal McQuaid