TNYT :Adam Ondra Expected a Short, Hard Climb. Now He’ll Be Happy Just to Finish.

Adam Ondra, a 23-year-old Czech whom Climbing magazine called the sport’s future, on the Dawn Wall. “It’s definitely more difficult than I expected,” Ondra said. Credit Pavel Blazek Adam Ondra, a 23-year-old from the Czech Republic considered by some to be the world’s best climber, thought he might cruise up the Dawn Wall of El Capitan. Following the free-climbing route that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson blazed over 19 days nearly two years ago, having received advice and support from both men, Ondra hoped to complete the nearly 3,000-foot ascent in five or six days. For two days this week, he scampered up the sheer granite face that rises from California’s Yosemite Valley. 

He made it through the first 13 pitches, out of 32, then stopped on Wednesday for a day of rest. But the Dawn Wall is considered one of the hardest big-wall climbs in the world, daunting for its size, its vertical face and its lack of holds. On Thursday, it stymied Ondra, at least temporarily. 

 “Yesterday, I was to climb some of the crux pitches, starting with Pitch 14, which is the hardest,” Ondra said by telephone on Friday morning from his portaledge hanging on the wall of El Capitan. “But I failed to climb it, which was really devastating and really heartbreaking.


The Dawn Wall: El Capitan’s Most Unwelcoming Route A graphic tracks an attempt by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson to free-climb the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall, a vertical sheet of mostly smooth granite that many believe is the hardest climb in the world.
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