World champion rock climber Adam Ondra has just sent his project The Change, which he claims is the first 5.15c in the world. If the rating stands it would make this route the hardest sport climb in the world. This success came just as Ondra was ready to give up, as winter weather was quickly moving in and making the rock too wet to climb on. Amazingly, Ondra capitalized on one of the last few dry days, and was finally able to conquer this project he has spent so many weeks on.
This incredible new route is located in Flatanger Cave, Norway, and consists of 20 meters of 5.15a climbing followed by 30 meters of 5.14d. Altogether, Ondra has rated the project a 5.15c. Adam has climbed more 15b’s than anyone else in the world, so he stands a fair judge of what a 15c should be like. On the other hand, this frontier of extremely high level sport climbing can be very subjective. Only a handful of climbers can perform at this level, so ratings aren’t always clear cut.
Even if the rating doesn’t stand, this is still an amazing route to finally send. While only nineteen, Ondra is one of the top sport climbers in the world and is doing very impressive things for such a young age. He still has much potential to unlock, and I’m sure we will see many more great things out of him. As pros like him continue to push the limits of sport climbing, you’ve got to wonder just how much harder they’ll be able to climb. At this rate, you might start to question if 5.16 is possible…
While no footage of Ondra’s final ascent has been released yet, take a look at this video released a few weeks ago of Adam climbing the first half of the route.
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