Born in the Czech Republic in 1993, Adam Ondra started climbing when he was 6. In 2013, Rock & Ice magazine described him as a prodigy. Today, this sinewy six-footer climbing phenomenon has managed to get to the top. Read on to learn about Adam Ondra, the best rock climber in the world.
What Makes Adam Ondra Such a Unique Climber?
Since the beginning of his career, Adam Ondra has been known for pushing the limits and setting new boundaries. He is the only person to his date to have climbed a 9b with sport climb. His achievements include, among many others, “Silence” at 9c, the hardest rock climb in the world, and climbing “The Dawn Wall”.
Ondra has a set of techniques that sets him apart from other climbers. His movements are incredibly efficient, and he has a technique that allows him to keep his bodyweight off of his hands and expend very little energy when climbing. Thanks to his passion, dedication, and physical stamina, Ondra has been able to send incredibly hard routes over the years.
He has won 33 medals in the past 10 years. Given the fact that he was training for the most difficult outdoor routes while participating in climbing competitions, the feat is impressive.
In some competitions such as the 2016 Paris World Cup, the 2019 Bouldering World Cup, and the 2019 Kranj Lead World Cup, Ondra’s performance was incredible. He looked like a climber from another planet.
The best thing about Adam Ondra is the variety of his achievements. It is the variety that makes him the best rock climber in the world. The history of the sport tells us that most of the great climbers were specialists.
For example, Jim Bridwell was great at aid climbs, Wolfgang Gullich was known for crushing sport routes, and Tommy Caldwell was famous for climbing the big wall. Adam Ondra does it all. In terms of the variety of skills, we have not yet seen anyone else like Ondra.
5 Things to Know About Adam Ondra
1. Ondra trains really hard
Ondra’s parents are also climbers, so his childhood revolved around the sport. Ondra scaled 5.14d/9a—a high difficulty level, at the age of 13.
And to this date, his passion for climbing remains as fresh as ever. He was once asked by the Pill Magazine about his other passions, and he replied that he had none, adding that he spent 6-7 hours a day climbing.
And Ondra really enjoys this grueling training regime. He doesn’t consider this hard training a sacrifice because he finds it worth doing. He does not do it in order to beat the other climbers; he does it simply because he loves it.
2. He is the only male world champion in both leads in bouldering
At Tokyo 2021, the climbing competition involved three formats: speed, lead, and Bouldering. In speed climbing, two climbers compete directly against each other. In the lead, climbers try to climb high within a specific time. And in the boulder, climbers climb a few fixed routes within a specific time.
This combined format is challenging for most climbers, but not for Ondra. He is the only male athlete to have become a champion in both Bouldering and lead. Even more impressive, he won the championships in both formats in the same year (2014).
Ondra has won the World Cup Series separately in bouldering and lead. He has 3 victories in lead and 1 in bouldering. These are great achievements, making him the best rock climber in the world.
However, he has not achieved the same level of excellence in one format, and that is speed. In a New York Times interview, Ondra has explained that he is not fast enough and he takes some time to turn off his brain.
3. He is fluent In five languages
Ondra has so far mastered as many as five languages: Czech, English, Spanish, German and Italian. He has explained how he has learned these languages: by traveling extensively and communicating with people.
Given the fact that he dedicates so many hours a day practicing climbing, it is remarkable that he has still found time to learn so many languages. Some acquaintances have said that Ondra knows a little bit of Japanese as well. However, his Japanese skills are still up in the air.
4. A degree in economics!
Even more surprising, this climbing superstar found time to earn a degree in economics. Given the fact that he spends a lot of time training in order to maintain his position as the best rock climber in the world, this academic achievement is fascinating.
In an interview, he said that he studies economics as a sort of backup and to convince himself that he knew something other than just climbing.
Ondra said that he might find this degree useful at a point in his future. However, he also clarifies that he does not have a plan to switch his career anytime soon. The Czech phenom wishes to climb as long as he can do so. That’s good news for his fans.
5. Ondra uses his neck and head to aid his balance
As part of a fascinating study in 2018, Ondra’s climbing performance was measured with sensors attached to different parts of his body. From the study, we have learned some fascinating things about his climbing techniques.
The study revealed some weird things about this legendary climber. He is capable of holding more weight than his body, on certain sections of climbing his pulse drops to 70 bpm. Even more fascinating, he maintains his balance with his head, using it as a pendulum. According to a biomechanics expert, Ondra uses his head as a lever.
There are many other good climbers out there, but Adam Ondra is undoubtedly the best rock climber in the world now. He has not only done the hardest routes but also ascended a variety of climbs in a variety of styles. Since his first ascents of La Dura Dura 5.15c and Change 5.15c, he has never stopped setting standards.