Remember last week, when I shared the news about Czech climber Adam Ondra preparing to make an attempt on the incredibly difficult and demanding Dawn Wall in Yosemite? At the time I had said that it seemed unlikely that he would be able to take on that epic ascent considering it was his first visit to the valley, and he hadn’t even touched the rock there yet. On top of that, the Dawn Wall had only been completed once in the past, having famously been free-climbed in January of 2015 by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. But, it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong however, as Ondra is proving what many in the outdoor world already knew – that he just might be the best rock climber in the world today.
Ondra began his climb of the Dawn Wall last Monday – October 17 – and has been making steady progress up the face ever since. On his first day out, he managed to knock off seven quick pitches as he rapidly ascended the route, which falls along the southeast face of El Capitan, quite possibly the most famous rock climbing spot in the entire world.
But, being primarily a sport climber, Ondra found the Dawn Wall to be a different beast than he is use to tackling. By the time he finished those first seven pitches he was exhausted. Despite those challenges however, he did manage to reach the top of pitch 10 before darkness fell Tuesday, making it a very productive first couple of day for sure.
Over the following few days of last week, Ondra continued to make progress, albeit at a slower pace on more difficult pitches. Heading into the weekend, he had reached pitch 15, which is rated a 5.14d and is considered the crux of the entire climb. There hasn’t been update yet as to his progress on that particular challenge, but if he didn’t get past it over the past couple of days, it will certainly be his primary focus as he starts his second week on the Dawn Wall.
If the 23-year old Czech climber can get over the next three pitches – and there is no indication that he won’t – it is relatively easy sailing to the top from there. That means we could see a second ascent of what many consider the toughest rock climbing challenge in the world by the end of the week. Stay tuned for more updates. It’s going to be fun to follow Adam’s progress.