Can Adam Ondra Onsight This 5.14d Sport Climb? Find Out

The games we play as climbers proliferate well beyond ‘human on rock versus moves.’ For any game, you need rules — and the strictest rules in climbing could be those that govern the onsight.


Editor’s note: this article was originally published on Explorersweb


For a true onsight, you must walk up to the climb from below and start climbing. You can’t arrive with any other information except the route name and difficulty. No one who’s been on it can tell you about a single hold or a single move. Real purists say you can’t even touch the start holds until you begin climbing.

Many components must coalesce for an onsight near the limit of a climber’s ability to come together. Preparation, confidence, decisions, and luck — oh yes, luck — all play critical roles.

Ready to watch Adam Ondra play the game on a short, wicked 5.14d/9a sport route?

I don’t think I’d rather watch any other pro climber onsight. Ondra’s studious but psyched approach to the craft of climbing is refreshing and silly by turns. His climbing style is vicious, contortional, and loud — you’d almost say he was uninhibited if he wasn’t so damn good.

And then, of course, there’s his charming accent and his unflinchingly pleasant attitude.

I forgot to mention if you’re getting ready to try a hard onsight, you’d better not come at it from a negative head space. Climbing borderline 5.15 is hard enough — climbing it according to the strict rules of onsighting has rarely been done.

Runtime: 12 minutes

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Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.

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