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Adam Ondra and Heinz Zak observing El Capitan and Dawn Wall in Yosemite, USA
Photo by Pavel Blažek
Adam Ondra, night session on Dawn Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite
Photo by Pavel Blažek
The line of the Dawn Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite, free climbed by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson from 27/12/2014 to 14/01/2015.
Photo by Kevin Jorgeson
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Adam Ondra sees first light on Dawn Wall in Yosemite


During his first visit to Yosemite, USA, Czech climber Adam Ondra has immediately begun attempting 'Dawn Wall', the hardest big wall climb in world freed on El Capitan by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson.

Fasten your seat belts. Adam Ondra had previously announced that on his first trip to Yosemite he would attempt Dawn Wall and now, after less than a week in the valley, he is already dealing with the lower section of this thoroughbred climb that weaves its way almost 1,000 meters up the SE Face of El Capitan. So, after merely a handful of climbs to get a feel for the infamous offwidths and jamming techniques on Yosemite’s granite, the 23-year-old Czech climber has immediately started up his first big wall in the valley, hailed as the hardest big wall in the world and freed during a historic ascent by Americans Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson from 12/27/2014 to 14/01/2015.

Ondra stated that the start has gone "all right”; yesterday he climbed to the top of the first seven pitches, meaning that today he will attempt to climb the next 5 pitches that lead to the central section. This is where the crux of the route lies, two pitches estimated to be about 9a each. Commenting about his first day on Black Diamond's Facebook page, Ondra wrote: "First day on the big wall in Yosemite, and straight onto the Dawn Wall! Foolishness, lack of respect or boldness? Well, not necessarily any of it. The Dawn Wall just dries up quickly after the huge rain on Sunday. And it went all right. Definitely scary and adventurous. Tiny footholds and insecure climbing, smearing my feet onto glassy footholds of Yosemite granite and all that with poor protection by copperheads, peckers, tiny cams and occasional bolts.”

In order to find a feasible line, attempt the moves and subsequently free the Dawn Wall, Caldwell and Jorgeson invested more than 120 days and as many no doubt remember, during their first free ascent in winter 2014/2015 something quite unique happened: the world’s media spotlights homed in on the "Big Stone". Their ascent of El Capitan, their trials and tribulations, gains and setbacks were broadcast real time by media across the world and a hitherto unseen "climbing reality show" went viral. The "Climb of the Century" as it was dubbed captured the imagination of the non-climbing press and even President Barack Obama rushed in to congratulate the two Americans with a tweet.

Ondra, who’s highest standards are non-negotiable, simply could not resist this temptation and he has jumped at the chance of testing himself against one of the most coveted and difficult big walls in the world. He, better than anyone else, knows that his adventure on El Capitan will be an uphill struggle, that it is all in the making. He will most certainly capitalise on his experience that has no equals in this sport - with single pitch climbs up to 9b+ (Change in Flatanger in Norway, Dura Dura at Oliana in Spain and Vasil Vasil at Sloup in the Czech Republic), 9a on-sights and multi-pitch routes up to 8c (first free ascent, in a day, of Tough Enough on Tsaranoro in Madagascar, first free ascent of Wogü in Rätikon, Switzerland). Impressive credentials to say the least, but success cannot be taken for granted as there are simply too many variables at play. What is striking however is how Ondra puts himself to the test, always and everywhere, without wasting a single second. And although the national and international mainstream media will most probably not follow the progress of this young Czech climber, it is clear that the climbing community will watch his every step very, very carefully indeed.


P1: 5.12b, P2: 5.13a, P3: 5.13c, P4: 5.12b, P5: 5.12d, P6: 5.13c, P7: 5.14a, P8: 5.13d, P9: 5.13c, P10: 5.14a, P11: 5.13c, P12: 5.14b, P13: 5.13b, P14: 5.14d, P15: 5.14d, P16: Dyno Pitch 5.14d, Loop Pitch 5.14c, P17: 5.14a, P18: 5.13c, P19: 5.13c, P20: 5.13c, P21: 5.13c, P22: 5.12c, P23: 5.9, P24: 5.11, P25: 5.11, P26: 5.11d, P27: 5.11c, P28: 5.12c, P29: 5.12b, P30: 5.13a, P31: 5.12a, P32: 5.12b

5.9 (5a): 1
5.11 (6b+):
5.12 (7a+): 8
5.13a (7c+): 2
5.13b (8a): 1
5.13c (8a+): 7
5.13d (8b): 2
5.14a (8b+): 4
5.14b (8c): 1
5.14d (9a): 2
Total: 32

15/01/2016 - Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson free climb the Dawn Wall on El Capitan
On 14 January 2015, after 19 days on the wall and years of efforts, American climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed the historic first free ascent of Dawn Wall on El Capitan, Yosemite, USA. Almost 1000m high and with two pitches graded 5.14d (9a), this is probably the hardest big wall in the world.





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