There is no question that Adam Ondra sits at the very pinnacle of the disciplines of sport climbing and bouldering. His onsights of five 8c+ routes, two 5.15 FAs and ascents of 8C/V15 boulder problems in the first few months of 2011 form a record unmatched by anyone else on the planet. In the global combined rankings at 8a.nu, he is 2000 points ahead of Gabriele Moroni, the runner-up. I cannot think of anyone else in the past ten years who has so convincingly set himself apart from the pack and been so unassuming in the process. He is the Chris Sharma or Dave Graham for the next generation.
So what does this mean for climbing? Well begin by watching the video of him onsighting the 8c+ Mindcontrol in Oliana, Spain:
This is a remarkable document of a sea change in the sport of climbing. It is a real-time, minimally edited climbing video of a remarkable achievement grade-wise that could soon become the norm internationally, at least in part due to this video.
Ondra's style is one of relentless progress earned through exact placement of hands and feet and fearless response to the route's challenges. He routinely skips clips or delays them facing falls of 30 to 40 feet on very difficult terrain, confident that he will find a spot to recover and clip again. He climbs according to the needs of the route, square to the wall when necessary and is fantastic at high-stepping and reaching while staying in balance. His decision-making process is usually immediate and highly accurate, even in unlikely sequences. "If you are lucky and your quick decisions are right, it's almost the same as redpointing," Ondra says but there is something vitally different and that is the comfort level with the decisions.
Where most of us are second-guessing or retreating into bad movement patterns, Ondra is immediately adapting to the moves. He climbs as if he has nothing to learn from the moves, no need to adjust or rethink them, just to push ahead into the next one and repeat until the chains. Most of us only feel like this on onsights in very familiar terrain or of very low difficulty compared to our limit.
Ondra is revising the definitions of what it means to climb at your limit because he finds a way not so much to make it look easy but make it look sensible, feasible even.
I can think of no more important video to watch currently then this one if you are interested in learning how to climb your best. He is redefining the sport for those who take it seriously, at whatever level.