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Adam Ondra making the first ascent of Chaxi Raxi 9b, Oliana, Spain
Photo by Vojtech Vrzba
Adam Ondra making the first ascent of Chaxi Raxi 9b, Oliana, Spain
Photo by Vojtech Vrzba
The impressive Contrafort de Rumbau at Oliana
Photo by Pete O'Donovan

Adam Ondra, 9b first ascent and 8c+ on-sight in a day at Oliana

28.03.2011 by Planetmountain

On Sunday 27/03/2011 Czech climber Adam Ondra set the Spanish crag Oliana on fire with his first ascent of Chaxi Raxi 9b followed by an on-sight of Blanquita 8c+.

Two weeks climbing in Spain. Two weeks to break all the previous boundaries and indicate clearly what the future holds. We're obviously talking about Adam Ondra's vertical “holiday”, his climbing trip to the crags Etxauri, Santa Linya and Oliana where, after having revved the engine with his first 8c+ on-sight, the 18-year-old went from strength to strength and culminated his climbs yesterday with the first free ascent of a 9b followed by an 8c+ on-sight circa an hour later.

9b redpoint and 8c+ on-sight on the very same day... Who knows whether a performance like this will be ignored in a couple of years – we don't think so – but in the meantime this is obviously record-breaking news. Which, from some points of view, risks being made banal by its mind-blowing numbers and above all the frequency with which Ondra himself manages to send. But this certainly is anything but banal, on the contrary! And there can be no doubt that what Ondra has shown us during these last fortnight is the start of the future.

The climbs, the performance, exploit – call them as you wish – we're talking about took place yesterday at Oliana, the extraordinary crag developed above all by American climber Chris Sharma, with 9a+ such as Pachamama, Papichulo and Power inverter to name but three, and various projects still on the go. One of which, Shaxi Raxi, is now no longer a dream but a reality thanks to Ondra, with the super grade 9b.

If one want's to find something which is "missing" and which would give even more value to Ondra, then perhaps it lies in the fact that this "phenomenon" hasn't yet presented a project which is his very own, from the beginning right to the end. In other words a line discovered, thought about, bolted and freed by Adam himself. This is by no means easy nor something which can be taken for granted, but we're certain that when the day comes, when Ondra invents his line of the future, then the measure of what is possible will go well beyond the imaginable.

In the meantime, after blazing Oliana, let's hear directly from Adam himself in this lighting interview.


Adam, what a fantastic finale!
Yes, I'm obviously very very happy to have freed Shaxi Raxi on my last day here in Spain.

How come you chose this route in particular?
After my 8c+ on-sights I decided to concentrate on a difficult redpoint and Chris Sharma had told be I could try the routes he had bolted at Oliana. This was the only one which was dry.

How did it go?
I attempted it for seven days, then yesterday I freed it first send of the day. I was really, really nervous before setting off, I knew I had to return home that evening and I felt close to sending because I had got close the previous days.

What sort of route is it?
Well, it's circa 40m high with the crux after the second bolt, a difficult section which would be about Fb8B+ boulder. This is then followed by circa 9a/9a+ climbing, with some good rests.

Good rests... on 9a+ climbing these must be relative...
No, they're really good, on one section there's even a no-hands-rest. That's why the route isn't that continuous.

After freeing Shaxi Raxi you didn't drive home immediately, right?
No, I still felt good and roughly an hour later I on-sighted Blanquita 8c.

How many 8c+ did you send during this trip.
Mmm, perhaps five. But this last one is perhaps the hardest of them all. I'm really, really happy!

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