After creating the world’s hardest sport route with ‘Silence’ (9c/5.15d), Adam Ondra now says he’s now working on something even more difficult.
Ondra isn’t only the world’s most gifted climber — he’s also learned how to drum up excitement.
In his latest YouTube offering, the video ends with a black slide and the words: “This will be BIG.” That’s because Ondra has revealed his next project, one that he says could eclipse “Silence” as the world’s hardest sport route.
Few climbers can claim to have created a new level of difficulty in the sport, yet that’s exactly what Ondra did with the world’s first 5.15d. The route has remained unrepeated since 2017 (although Stefano Ghisolfi tentatively agreed with the grade after trying it earlier this year).
Today, Ondra revealed that he only finished “Silence” because he was too intimidated by the alternative: a longer, harder line in the same Norwegian cave of Flatanger.
He’s given this work in progress a title: Project Big.
“I was always intimidated by Project Big. It just looks so long with so many different boulder problems. It just looks like it would be so much work. That’s why I decided to work on Project Hard, which became ‘Silence,'” he says in the video.
But now, Ondra says he’s finally ready to try the bigger line.
“But Project Big was always there. Always in the back of my mind. Always thinking that the real line of the cave is not ‘Silence.’ That’s the Project Big,” Ondra says. “And I should stop being intimidated by Project Big and finally give it a proper try.”
Could this be the world’s first 5.16 sport route? Ondra never mentions a grade, but after watching his sly smile in this video — it’s impossible not to wonder.
Runtime: 10 minutes