posted by dpm on 06/12/2012
In what was possibly the most publicized "non-send" of all time, Adam Ondra spent his flash attempt on Biographie (5.15a)...and fell. It was no secret that he was saving this one for a flash. Even had he never mentioned it, you could have made a logical guess as he ticked away nearly all of the other hard routes on Ceuse's Biographie wall including the first ascent of Jungle Boogie (5.15a), L'étrange Ivresse des Lenteurs (5.15a), the new version of Le Cadre that avoids the chipped hold (5.14d), and Force Used Up (5.14c).
On June 8, 2012, a slew of people at the crag held their breath as he tied in. The rest of us followed along through Facebook and Twitter feeds waiting for the final word. Adam climbed like a boss all the way into the upper boulder problem, then fell. Failure is a strong word to use and I, for one, would like to focus on what he did accomplish.
Firstly, he flashed the opening V11 boulder problem. A hold broke there a few years back making just getting off the ground a greater challenge. Enzo Oddo was the first to send the route in its current state and suggested V11 for that section alone. Then, Adam flashed the original route Biographie (5.14c) to where the anchor used to be. The anchor has since been removed, effectively erasing what might have been the best 5.14c in the world. It's also worth noting that the entire 5.15 route is now called Biographie instead of Sharma's suggestion of Realization. Regardless, it's considered 5.14c to that point where the old anchor was. Then he gained a few more moves off of that point into the upper boulder problem that is regarded as V10. Well, I'm going to look at it this way; If it's 5.14c to the anchor and 5.15a to the finishing jug and he made it about halfway there...he flashed 5.14d. World's first 5.14d flash!? I know, it doesn't count, but well done Adam on an outstanding effort.
The video is great. It's rough ground footage but really captures the emotion of the audience. I think the camera man is more nervous than Adam, whoofing his way through the opening boulder and nearly hyperventilating as Adam starts to fade at the end of the 5.14c section. How many ways do I love this video? Let me count the "allezs."