posted by dpm on 05/17/2011
Adam Ondra has completed the second ascent of Steve Mclure’s Overshadow (5.15a) at Malham Cove, UK. The route didn’t come easy for Adam who first attempted the line in May of 2010. Last year, Adam traveled to the UK and came away with two 5.14d’s and a handful of 5.13d onsights but failed to complete Overshadow. In total, including last year’s efforts, it took Ondra about seven days of effort. Putting this into perspective, it took him eight days to complete Chaxi Raxi (5.15b) and seven to finish La Planta de Shiva (5.15b). According to his 8a scorecard, both are contenders for the hardest he’s done.
Malham Cove, UK. Photo: blog.jamesthacker.co.uk
When Steve McClure established Overshadow in 2007 he knew it was his hardest yet but was understandably unsure of the grade and tentatively suggested 5.15a. Regarding the grade, he had this to say in an interview with UK climbing:
I'm not qualified to really say for sure. Others like Graham, Sharma, Andrada, Patxi and Ramon would have a much better idea, their track record of hard routes is greater. All the hard routes I've done are my own, and they are compared to confirmed 8c+ routes, but that doesn't mean they are 9a. This new route felt way harder than my '9's' but that doesn't make it 9a+, perhaps I was doing it wrong, it might be 8c+, but then maybe I was doing it perfectly and it's even harder.....
Steve McClure on his route Overshadow (5.15a) Photo: steve-mcclure.com
As news broke of Steve’s ascent it was widely touted as certainly the hardest in the UK and one of the hardest in the world. Oddly, the mainstream media was most fascinated by the fact that McClure had specifically trained his shin muscles to enable a no-hands ‘bat hang’ from a hole that allowed him to recover for the final sequence. Ondra’s ascent has confirmed what was suspected and Overshadow now ranks among the worlds hardest. Adam has suggested ‘hard’ 5.15a for the route.
Click here for some sub-par, shaky footage of Ondra attempting Overshadow during his trip last year or click here for excellent footage of Ondra climbing the first ascent of Chaxi Raxi (5.15b) at Oliana, Spain.