An Update From Adam Ondra
Here's the latest update from Adam:
Today was very successful, so I have decided to write a new post! I have spent 5 days climbing in the paradise of the Red River Gorge so far. Prior to arrival, I couldn't wait to see its perfect sandstone and do some routes for fun as onsighting was the main goal. It is always good to do a bit of onsighting for a while after having done a long-term project like Change for me. Indulgence in climbing many routes in a day, getting back into the onsight rhythm and getting used to different rock - that is what I did in the first two days.
The weather was rather warm, so I took advantage of doing some steep climbs with big holds, which was a lot of fun.
Even though these steep climbs can get boring, the rock and its features were enough to inspire me! When prime conditions arrived (rain, cold, but humidity doesn't seem to be an issue in RRG), it was time to send and step up a level. However 5.14c's (8c+) turned out to be too hard to onsight. I tried a climb called 24 Carrots and came quite close to onsighting, but another 8c+ called Lucifer turned out to be pretty far off. I did it 4th try of the day, but it was definitely very impressive to see Ashima crushing it with incredible beta. If she keeps up the motivation, I can't wait to see what she is going to climb in a couple of years.
I felt kind of out of shape. My forearms seemed to get pumped fast and I lacked bouldering power as well. The next day I took it easier and did a second-go first ascent of a bouldery 5.14c (8c+), to check out my ability to pull off hard moves. I didn't know what to do next, I didn't feel ready for my ultimate onsight goals and started thinking about postponing them for next year. Daniel Woods and Jon Cardwell went to try Southern Smoke Direct, a climb first completed by Adam Taylor with a suggested grade of 9a+. Daniel and Jon had the moves wired and offered to give me some beta. We met Cedric Lachat trying the same route as well. I could see him using different beta to Daniel's (Cedric's is actually almost identical to Adam Taylor's).
This route has an extreme boulder problem (8A+) at the beginning and continues as 8c/c+ to the top. I was hesitating a lot about which beta to pick, but Cedric's one turned out to be an option. I did everything perfectly and only just made it through the boulder. I didn't have as much beta for the top. I heard five different people giving me the beta and I just kept climbing, getting gradually more pumped. The higher I was, the more pumped I got and the harder it was to hear the people giving me beta, but I wouldn't let it go out of my hands and clipped the chains.
Regarding the grade, we all agree that 5.14d (9a) fits this route just perfectly. Life's great. Sometimes you are unlucky, some days you seem to get luck from nowhere. Today it was definitely like this. Thanks everyone for the good vibes and beta, it was a very memorable experience!