Adam Ondra... interview after La Dura Dura 9b+ at Oliana

Climbing at the very limit: today Adam Ondra freed La Dura Dura at Oliana in Spain for which he suggests the super grade 9b+. The interview and first details directly from "magic" Adam himself.
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Adam Ondra climbing La Dura Dura 9b+, Oliana
Vojtech Vrzba

La Dura Dura ins't a project any longer! Today a phenomenal Adam Ondra shred Oliana to pieces and came up trumps against this beautiful challenge, against a line at the very limit of what is imaginable and possible, freed by the Czech climber after 9 intense weeks. The grade he's put forward is 9b+, exactly the same as Change, but this time Adam's joy, as he himself explains, is even greater!

Adam, La Dura Dura is no longer a project!
I've been waiting for so many weeks for this to happen, today it finally did! And to think that today I didn't really expect I'd succeed. It was my second day on, yesterday I tried the route and felt really really strong, but then I messed up a move because I suddenly got nervous. This morning I felt sore, my forearms felt tired and Chris sent me a text message saying that he wouldn't come and that he was going to take a rest day. I thought maybe I'd do the same. So my mind was empty, I had no worries and doubts and perhaps this did the trick!

So how did it go?
Well, when I set off I felt significantly weaker than before, I barely made it through the first part. Somehow though I miraculously didn't fall off those terrible 2 moves that had tested me so much in the past and I managed to reach the jug. I really don’t know how! As I did I felt my heart skip a beat, I was on the rest but it was really hard to calm down, recover well and get ready for the final 8b section.

So how does the route break down?
The first section is comprised of 15 moves, about 10 metres high, a 9b/9b+ in its own right which leads to a rest, a bad kneebar where I could recover for about a minute before moving up into the second section, 10 metres of 8c+ climbing which leads to two tiny crimps and then the jug and good rest. From here… a further 20 meters of 8b climbing lead to the top.

That first section was what kept stopping you?
Yes, I spent something like 8 weeks in total just on that first section. Then I managed to climb past it into the 8c+ part, but fell off this four times before today's send.

What was your the previous highpoint?
I got to the move before the jug four days ago, then yesterday I got to that second crux again and felt super strong… but messed it up! I was 100% sure that I'd do it but somehow my mind flicked, I tried to the move too statically, as I crimped my hand shook and I just missed the hold. It was unbelievably frustrating!

Were you under time pressure?
No, although it was really frustrating I also knew that I would send it. I've still got another 2 weeks left for this trip and the weather forecast is really amazing so I knew conditions would be good in the future, too!

Sorry, but if the first section is a 9b/9b+ in its own right, what grade does the whole route get?
I reckon it's 9b+. If I compare it to Change I think La Dura Dura is harder, but still 9b+. Change really suits my style of climbing, the crux has some moves where you need to be really flexible and it seems to have been naturally made specifically for me. I know it might sound strange, but La Dura Dura has more straightforward climbing, but you really need to get everything wired 100%. I needed about 5 weeks for Change, and 9 weeks for La Dura Dura. I’d say that for me La Dura Dura is a better achievement because it fits my style less.

Last question: there's been much hype on the internet about both you and Chris trying the route...
Yeah, there has but in truth the two of us just went climbing together. It was a really positive experience, a really friendly atmosphere, we could both learn much from each other. You know, it's much more fun to try a hard route with someone else, isn't it!

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