The AT50: Climbing Prodigy Adam Ondra (#30)

At 20, Ondra has established the hardest sport climbing routes in the world
Staff Writer

Inka Matouskova/

Age: 20
Sport: Rock climbing
Highlights: Established the two hardest routes in the world (La Dura Dura and The Change—both 5.15c); 2009 IFSC Lead Climbing World Cup champion; 2010 IFSC Bouldering World Cup champion; second person ever to onsight (successfully climb on his first try with no beta on the route) 8c+/5.14c
Quote: "While climbing fast, it is crucial to stay relaxed. Don't be like a machine, flow the route in a rhythm."
Fact: Ondra is known for his vocal-style of climbing; he shrieks when climbing at his absolute limit.
AT Point Total: 39.5

Adam Ondra, 20, is part of a new generation of climbing—a group of young people who were introduced to the rock at a very early age. His parents met through the sport, so it seemed perfectly natural to take their son along on climbing trips. When Ondra was just three years old, his parents roped him up for his first climb. By the time he was nine, Ondra could manage lines with 8a ratings—a challenge too hard for most adult climbers.

Ondra's quest for increasingly difficult outdoor routes has led to some epic family road trips across Europe. Because he doesn't yet have a driver's license, the young Czech's parents often drive between crags overnight, while their son sleeps in the back seat. Although an early introduction to the sport was likely part of Ondra's success, there's no doubt the athlete is also a climbing prodigy. Ondra has won world championships in both bouldering and lead climbing, and has established the two hardest routes in the world: La Dura Dura in Spain and The Change in Norway—both rated 5.15c.
—Jessica Khorsandi

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