If you follow sport climbing you probably know what this is. It's Adam Ondra's top 10 hardest routes (according to 8a.nu) for the last year. What is even more remarkable is that every ascent on here has occurred in the past 2 months and 1 week. When I clicked on this, it finally began to settle in what has happened in climbing this year and it is simply incomprehensible.
At the end of 2010, 5.14c had been onsighted once by Patxi Usobiaga. 5.15b was a difficulty of climbing reserved for less than a handful of people. In just a little over two months Adam amassed a ticklist that has completely shattered what we believed was possible. To put it clearly, 5.14c onsight and 5.15b redpoint were the absolute pinnacles of sport climbing achievement at the end of 2010. In two months he achieved ten of those feats. In two months! That is more than one a week. I don't know if you've ever been on a climbing trip but I have and generally it takes a few weeks to accomplish something difficult for you. Sometimes years. Which means....yup, this shit is easy for him. 5.14c onsight and 5.15b redpoint are easy.
What has this done for climbing media? Well, it's ruined it. Let me explain how. My job is to post climbing news that people are interested in such as:
Joe Meathead redpoints new 5.14b at Choss Rocks!!!!
Guess what....nobody cares. He didn't onsight it and if he had it would still pale in comparison to what Adam has done recently.
How about this headline: Magnus Meatball and Sausage Digiulian climb 5.14c at the Red!!!!
Ehhh, who cares. Adam would have onsighted it and then sent the Sharma Project at Drive-by in 4 tries.
Ok, now I know what you're thinking. I can still impress you by posting news of Adam Ondra doing something amazing. What's you're gut reaction when you hear this slammin' headline:
Adam Ondra Redpoints World's First 5.15d in 10 tries!!!!!!!!!
Be honest because I know what you are thinking.... "Man, when is he gonna send 5.16? This is getting boring. I wonder what people are talking about on Mountain Project?" At which point you probably go back to defending the merits of belaying with an ATC and removing fixed draws (aka. booty) from sport routes.
And to top it all off, climbing's messiah didn't swoop in on a winged horse with flowing golden hair and buddha-like insight into the most fascinating sport in the world. He resembles Harry Potter and throws temper tantrums the likes of which have not been seen since Jim Karn fell off a 5.10 in Smith Rocks circa 1990! Actually, the wobblers are the most fascinating thing about Ondra and the one thing I look forward to seeing more of in the world of climbing. I have little more to say except; Thanks a lot Adam. Thanks for ruining everything and making my job impossible.
Photo by Beat Kammerlander stolen from the internet