Video: Adam Ondra climbing Atene Naturale at Massone, Arco
The climbing video of Adam Ondra making the first free ascent of Atene Naturale 9a at Massone in Arco, Italy.
In 1987 at Massone close to Arco, Italy, Rolando Larcher placed the bolts on what was to become Maratona, the very first route in the Pueblo sector, well before the beautiful sector Abissi even existed and when sport climbing was beginning to move away from the vertical towards the overhanging. In 1989 Larcher made the first ascent and the grade, for that era, was important: 8b+ initially, later downgraded to 8b.
Following the theme of the Greek marathon, a few years later Larcher bolted an adjacent line, Atene where, to breach the crux, he drilled a hole into a stone and bolted and glued it to the upper roof. The idea being that an artificial hold glued to the rock was better than a chipped hold, because if one day someone managed to climb the moves without the artificial hold, this could easily be removed. Back in the day the first ascent of Atene was made by triple world champion François Legrand who graded it 8b+ and Larcher followed in his footsteps a few years later with a redpoint. Throughout the years that artificial hold has always remained up there, bolted and glued exactly where it was three decades ago.
Adam Ondra has now managed to find a new sequence that does without the artificial hold and, in doing so, he has climbed Atene Naturale, grading it 9a. At present he has not removed the artificial hold; who knows if he’ll leave it insitu or take it off on his next climbing trip to Italy raid and restore the route to its original, natural state. Larcher would be more than happy.