On November 14, Adam Ondra made the first ascent of El Maquinista 5.15a/b (9a+/b) in Montanejos, Spain. He’s had a lot of success in the area over the past week. On November 8, he achieved one of his hardest onsights ever with El Gran Bellanco 5.14c/d. A few days later, he attempted to onsight La Parada de los Monstruos 5.14d, but he broke a hold while kneebarring. The hold break ruined his send but he got the redpoint his next go. That same day he made the first ascent of a three-pitch 5.14a, which he named Have a Vernich with Adam Ondra.
The first ascent of El Maquinista 5.15a/b took Ondra a few days of work. Located in the Pilas Alcalinas sector, the route had been a long-term open project originally bolted by Pedro Pons 20 years ago. After an initial day of sussing out the moves, Ondra spent two more days on the route before getting the eventual first ascent.
While Ondra has suggested a difficulty of 5.15a/b, he is not confident about the grade. “At first I thought it might be even [5.15c], but I found better betas and with every try it got easier,” he said on his 8a.nu page. “Really uncertain with the grade.” Ondra logged the route as a 5.15b on 8a.nu – you can’t formally log slash grades on the site – which suggests it might be closer to 5.15b than 5.15a.
Ondra’s had a successful two months of outdoor climbing in Slovakia, Croatia, and Slovenia, Switzerland, and Spain. After making the first ascents of Ratatouille 5.14d and Filantrop L2 5.14c in Slovakia in late September, he went on to FA B je to! 5.15b and To je to! 5.14b in Croatia. Hopping over to Slovenia, he then onsighted Inferno do Vrha 5.14b and Kingslayer 5.14b, flashed Peščena Ura 5.14d, and FA’d Fantazija 5.15a. Next, in Switzerland, he FA’d a currently unnamed 5.15a and onsighted Un Chant Pour Phil 5.14b and Deja 5.14a. And now in Spain, his highlights include the El Maquinista 5.15a/b first ascent and onsight of El Gran Bellanco 5.14c/d.
Alex Garriga on La Parada de los Monstruos 5.14d
Feature photo by Petr Chodura.