Adam Ondra and the Road to the First-Ever 9a+ Flash

With an onsight or a flash, one slip of the foot or botched sequence and it’s over. You have to climb with confidence. And if it’s a flash, with beta from another climber, then you need to make sure the sequencing suits your body. It’s a precision performance at any level, from 5.10 to 5.15. On February 10, the Czech Adam Ondra, 25, became the first climber to flash 5.15, firing the 9a+/5.15a Supercrackinette at Saint-Léger, France.

The 65-foot route is a flurry of power-endurance “micro” management, a 28-move sprint followed by eight easier moves. The route was equipped by the French climber Quentin Chastagnier, and freed in October 2016 by Alex Megos. Ondra belayed Chastagnier twice to watch the moves, quizzing Chastagnier about each grip, then cast off on its incut crimps and tiny pockets.

Ondra has been trying to flash 5.15a for years. The first in his sites was Biographie/Realization (5.15a) at Céüse, France, a route he held in reserve for some time.

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Adam Ondra

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