The world’s most difficult sport climb is now rated 5.15d, thanks to Adam Ondra.
On September 3rd, 2017, Adam Ondra successfully climbed Silence, a route he bolted in 2013 and has been attempting ever since.
He claims it’s harder than anything else he’s climbed, proposing a stiff 5.15d. No other routes have been climbed at 5.15d, and only a few exist at 5.15c.
Silence involves steep cave climbing in Flatanger, Norway. At one point during the route, the climber must flip both feet overhead in a totally horizontal finger-sized crack.
It looks impossible, the holds are imperceptible, and the body movement and flexibility required is superhuman.
The new grade claim comes from the first and only climber to establish and then send multiple routes of 5.15c. If anyone has the authority to establish a new grade, it’s Adam Ondra.
Silence: World’s First 5.15d
The route spans roughly 150 feet across the roof of a steep, granite cave. It starts off with 65 feet of 5.13d climbing, followed by a knee-bar rest, and then a 10-move V15 boulder problem crux, according to Rock and Ice.
While no complete footage shows the whole route, there are clips of Ondra pushing through brutal moves.
With any proposed new grade comes concern towards legitimacy. Because Ondra is the only person to climb Silence, nobody can check to see if the grade is appropriate. And at 5.15d, the route is a step up from the three previously hardest routes in the world.
However, due to the insane strength required to successfully climb such a route, Silence may not see another ascent for years. La Dura Dura is the only 5.15c climb to see two ascents. Ondra is the only person to have climbed the other 5.15cs, Change, and Vasil Vasil.
Ondra continues to push the boundaries of climbing, and moreover, the boundaries of human limits. He’s cemented himself as a leading force in a field of extremely competitive and fit climbers.
With the second ascent of the Dawn Wall, and now the world’s first 5.15d sport climb, 2017 is a stand out year for Ondra. This send establishes a new standard for the world’s hardest route and pushes what is possible among climbers.