Adam Ondra


It took me quite some time to understand that in the world there are not only climbers, but also soccer players, volleyball players, basketball players, and so on.
For me it was normal to spend time on the wall and I thought it was the same for everyone else, as if it were human nature itself that wanted it.
My family had three hobbies: climbing, skiing and cycling. Which were also the same passions of all our friends, of all my friends, and so I grew up thinking that there was nothing else but that.
Nothing else interesting, at least.
It was hard to even figure out if I liked climbing, or if it was just what I did, what we all did, whenever we had the chance.


© Adam Ondra Family Archieves

I also discovered that I loved it, that I loved it with all my strength, when I was finally able to start competing, challenging others.
I was almost seven years old.
I had my first race and finished third.
My coach told me: “keep the cup above the bed, and you will be motivated to win more!” And so I did.
Year after year, I wanted to win more cups, to become more and more capable.
To improve.


© Adam Ondra Author Petr Chodura

Most climbers have great romantic motivations when talking about their beginnings. Exciting stories about the relationship with nature, the spiritual search, the fight against the elements.
I do not.
I was driven by something else, at least at the beginning.
I wanted to become good, I wanted to become the best climber ever, the strongest, the most creative.
When I was a kid, it was almost too easy to win competitions against kids my age and as soon as I got old enough to rock climb I started pitting myself against the grown-ups.
I've always wanted to climb anything. And I remember that when we went away for the weekend, and we always went to places where we could climb, every time, I had a list of routes that I would have to close before returning home.
And when I couldn't do them al,l I got angry, even if some of the ones I had imagined were simply impossible, because I was still too short.
I challenged myself to understand that little failure.
And then I would come back the following year, as a better climber, or even just as a teenager who had grown a few centimeters, to close the route that had escaped me in the past and deal with my shortcomings.


© Adam Ondra Author Petr Chodura

I've always liked competing, it was my first driving force, but I understood pretty soon that if you win without reaching the top, it's not the same thing.
That the challenge is with the wall or with nature, and only afterwards with the others.
If climbing only meant “going higher than my opponents” I wouldn't have loved it so much, or even for so long. It wouldn't be my whole life.
Because the truth is that I’m totally obsessed with it, immersed with all my thoughts and with all my actions. I can watch a 1,000-metre wall or a one-metre problem absorbed, and feel the same fire, the same need to put myself to the test, to make it mine.
To close it.


© Adam Ondra Author Pavel Blazek

For me it's obvious, I mainly feel like a rock climber, but I also love indoor competitions, which bring out the best in me, the most ambitious side.

It's a balancing act, where the sense of adventure and the will to win balance each other and where I, as a man, sit in the middle, happy that climbing is one of the best sports that exist, in order to live happily.

It’s an art, linked to travel.

Which forces you to explore the nature around you.

To go far to find new natures.

Facing your limits, accepting the failure of who you are in that moment and planning tomorrow's you, which will make you forget that same limit.


© Adam Ondra Author Petr Chodura

It's the flow of my life.

The flow of my consciousness, which has always existed, since I can remember it, as perhaps happens for anyone, but which in my case passes through my hands and feet, drawing energy from the rock itself.

I've been climbing since I learned to move them.

Since then climbing has been the measure of my existence.

My last and my next thought.

And it has given me so many perfect moments, which contain all the essence of what I do and who I am. Even if none of these reached the intensity of the conquest of Silence, the hardest route in the world: the summary of my vision.

A magical place, in the raw nature of a Norwegian fjord.

A place that means so much to me.

A rock that seems impossible to climb, but when I look at it, I see nothing but the route that crosses it, as if I had a third eye that sees inside things.

And then the challenge, the challenge of a complex ascent, full of difficulties and techniques to master.

I can't say if it was more beautiful to think about it or to own it.

Fail or succeed.

The journey or the finish line.

But this, if you like, is the beauty of this sport.


© Adam Ondra Author Petr Chodura

A sport that will continue to be mine.

Forever and For Always.

Just as it will continue to be the sport of anyone who will have the desire to try it, because it offers to everyone a different path, the unique way of expressing themselves, and it’s impossible not to feel part of it also emotionally and culturally.

It’s a philosophy of life.

A study of the world.

A blueprint of the soul

Built on the strength of fear and danger, and on the beauty of conquest and play.

On the impossibility of nature and the power of man.

Man. who is its origin from the beginning.

From the start.

Ever since Adam.

Adam Ondra / Contributor

Adam Ondra