Adam Ondra and his Biographie flash attempt at Ceuse
Adam Ondra talks about the Friday 8 June failed flash attempt of the famous rock climb Biographie at Ceuse in France.
"In the meantime, even if we know its 9a+, we're accepting bets for the first on-sight of Realization..." This is what we wrote in June 2009, exactly three years ago, when one thing became clear: that sport climbing with its stellar numbers had lost a clear direction. What was needed wasn't the innumerable repeat of a 9a slashplus, but a true new challenge, such as a new grade hitherto unthought of which comes about after months and months of attempts. Or a flash or an on-sight which has no precedents.
Well, the impossible was attempted by the usual Adam Ondra who after having freed Jungle Boogie failed to resist the lure of one of the most famous sport climbs in the world, legendary Biographie (also known as Realization) high up at Ceuse. Until last Friday Ondra had always managed to avoid the route, keeping it for the right moment, not for a fast repeat but to give this “King Line” a new, extraordinary chapter. 9a hasn't been on-sighted yet and so Ondra, intelligently, decided to take things one step at a time and attempt this 9a+ flash...
The moment was magical, so much so that even before he set off the news had spread like wildfire across the world wide web. Unfortunately though Ondra failed, he fell off high on the route, from the crux section after the chain at half-height where Chris Sharma – before his first free ascent – fell who knows how many times. But the fact that Ondra first dreamt this, then dared to attempt it proves once again how determined the 18-year-old Czech climber is to explore his limits... Which are, one has to admit, also the absolute current limits of sport climbing.
ADAM ONDRA AND BIOGRAPHIE
It had been my long term, crazy dream to try this route flash, but I kept postponing the idea as I wasn't sure I was capable of doing it. The motivating impulse came this spring when I tried to repeat the 9a+ Papichulo at Oliana in Spain, three years after my ascent. It was the end of the day and I didn't remember much of the beta, nonetheless I did it with a couple of falls and I felt as if, had I known the perfect beta, it would have been possible to flash. It was then that I decided to try and flash Biographie this year.
I had that route constantly in my mind while learning for the final exams in May. I had planned to train really hard for it but I discovered that after learning 8 hours a day, I wasn't able to train as hard as usual. After I successfully completed my final exams I was exhausted and in quite bad shape. During a two-week climbing trip my shape started to return, so much so that I did some good ticks including Deltaplane Man Direct 8c+ on-sight at Entraygues.
My motivation was high, self confidence in my climbing has increased. Sadly though I don't think I was in sufficient shape to perform such a feat as flashing Biographie... I postponed the try to my second last day of the trip. Unfortunately there wasn't anyone trying the route, so I learned the video by heart and guided Inka, my girlfriend who rappelled down the route, to clean all the holds and footholds. On my flash attempt I managed to fight my way through the first part (the former 8c+) and fell off the famous crux move, where you stick the narrow pocket. But I was far from being close, I was way too pumped to stick the move. Even more frustrating was that I didn't send the route on my second go, and neither on my third. And then we had to return home, so I had to leave business frustratingly unfinished.
Adam Ondra Tentative Flash Biographie à Céüse
TOPO: Ceuse, France