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Q&A: Ondra Sends Necessary Evil, Says Failures Are Reasons to Train

Adam Ondra has been in North America for the past two weeks, making waves in the climbing world for his flash and onsight attempts on some of the continents hardest routes and boulder problems. Ondra managed to send Necessary Evil (5.14c), however, the 22 year-old Czech says his failures in North America are reasons to train.

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Adam Ondra has been in North America for the past two weeks, making waves in the climbing world for his flash and onsight attempts on some of the continents hardest routes and boulder problems.

You’ve likely seen this video of his impressive burn on Chris Sharma’s Dreamcatcher (5.14d). With beta fed to him from Squamish local, Sonnie Trotter, Ondra climbed through Dreamcatcher’s first two cruxes before slipping at the third “pin scar” crux. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that the route was “a bit wet,” according to Trotter, who deemed Ondra’s burn a “valiant flash attempt.”

With modesty, however, Ondra told Rock and Ice that, “the route was almost dry, I can’t blame conditions for failure. I wasn’t strong enough to flash Dreamcatcher.”

Ondra popped up on America’s radar two days ago when Jonathan Siegrist tweeted, “Live updates from homeboy Mike Doyle while Ondra tries to onsight Necessary Evil!!!!! OMG.”

Ondra had traveled to the Las Vegas area and was gunning for an unprecedented onsight attempt of another notoriously difficult Chris Sharma route.

Rock and Ice caught up with Ondra to learn more about his North American trip and the routes and boulder problems he has tried along the way.

Q&A:


R&I: When did you arrive in North America and what is the focus of this trip?

I arrived on Feb. 14 and I’m leaving Feb. 28. We got to climb two days in Squamish, because I was giving a slideshow in Vancouver, then we spent five days in Central Saanich for an IFSC climbing camp, and now the last couple of days around Las Vegas.

R&I: How much longer will you be here?

One more day of climbing in Red Rocks.

R&I: Is climbing also a priority for you on this trip?

Well, the trip is of course about climbing, but the main reason I came was the IFSC climbing camp in Central Saanich close to Victoria, BC. It was very fun event, sharing my knowledge of climbing and experiences with other World cup athletes and young climbers. And apart from that, I took advantage of climbing for a couple of days outside.

R&I: Did you have any particular routes or problems in mind before coming?

I wanted to try to flash Dreamcatcher, onsight Necessary Evil (5.14c) and flash Meadowlark Lemon (V14). I failed on all of them. Reason to make a bit more training before trying such a challenging routes;-)

R&I: Did Dreamcatcher live up to your expectations?

The route is stunning. It climbs so well. It is very unique to find something so sustained on granite.

R&I: Was the route wet?

The route was almost dry, I can’t blame conditions for failure. I fell in the finger slots, because I messed up my sequence, but anyway, I would surely fall off the final traverse. I gave it a second try, but I could only rest 20 minutes and that wasn’t enough, because we had to go to get ready for the slideshow in Vancouver. But I wasn’t strong enough to flash Dreamcatcher.

R&I: You were also able to try Necessary Evil.

I went for an onsight, and it is totally possible. I felt OK that day and conditions were amazing, but my foot slipped in first crux. I was angry and started again right away, but was not super focused and fell in the higher crux. But if I hadn’t slipped, it would be very interesting to see what would happen up there. The next go I sent it.

R&I: What did you think of Necessary Evil?

It has some of the best limestone I have ever seen and it climbs very well. Respect to Boone Speed and Chris Sharma.

R&I: What other routes in North America are on your radar? Any big goals?

Right now I am heading home, and to get some training and school done. Of course there are some obvious challenges waiting in North America, but they must wait.